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Innovate, Disrupt, Grow, Conquer. Change the world (but maybe not for the better).
Innovate, Disrupt, Grow, Conquer. Change the world (but maybe not for the better).
Innovate, Disrupt, Grow, Conquer. Change the world (but maybe not for the better).
276 backers pledged $9,520 to help bring this project to life.

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The Founder: A Dystopian Business Simulator

$9,520

276

The Founder is a management simulation video game that takes our world, right after the last bubble burst, and plots out a possible, if exaggerated, trajectory. How is the promise of technology corrupted when businesses' relentlessly growth-oriented and profit-seeking logic plays out to its conclusion? What does progress look like in a world obsessed with growth, as measured only by sheer economic output?

Like any good power-fantasy game, you are at the center of it! The Founder puts players into the shoes of someone who has bought into techno-capitalist logic and lets them loose in a fictional universe. The player will be instrumental in the progression to an unsavory future; a progression which will feel disturbingly rational under the logic of the game. Winning in The Founder means shaping a world in which you are successful - at the expense of almost everyone else.

The game will be available at a pay-what-you-want price (backers get in guilt-free) and will be for the web (supporting Firefox and Chrome, plus others if there is enough demand).

Current State

The game is in an early state, but most of the core features are developed. There are still a lot of things that need to be added, bugs that need fixing, values that need balancing, visuals and graphics that need improving, startups that need starting.

It's taken me about a year and a half to reach this point, mainly because I've had to make a living and haven't been able to devote a sustained amount of time to it. I have a clear vision of the final game and I'd like to dedicate a few months to taking it that last 10% so I can finally release it. I need your support to do it!

STRETCH GOALS

Wow, the game is fully-funded -- thank you all! Here are some stretch goals for some really ~premium~ features:

  • $6,000 - OFFICIAL SOUNDTRACK: an official soundtrack by a favorite musician of mine, made available to all backers! (you won't find a higher ROI anywhere else!)
  • $7,500 - OFFICE PETS: a new perk will be added for employees - the beloved office dog. Starts as a yapper, then upgrades to a pupper, then a doggo, and finally, a woofer (confused? please see this reference)
  • $10,000 - ENHANCED EVENT SCENES: right now all in-game events have stock photos to represent them. With this stretch goal, each in-game event will instead have its own custom scene including the cone people of The Founder.
  • $15,000 - PERSISTENT SHARED WORLD: all player companies will co-exist in a shared world. The performance of each will be tracked by THE FOUNDER STOCK EXCHANGE so you can gossip about each others' share prices. Companies from other players' games might show up in your own! Bankrupt them, buy them - do whatever you need to stay ahead.
  • $25,000 - MULTIPLAYER MODE: play head-to-head against other entrepreneurs. Do you have what it takes to be the most highly-valued startup in The Founder history??

About the Game

Bootstrap your dream company

It's 2001. Start modestly from your apartment and build up your startup alongside the major players and future technology behemoths.


Start in your apartment and upgrade
Start in your apartment and upgrade

Assemble the best talent

But don't spend too much. With nice perks and benefits, you can attract the most skilled workers at below-market rates. How low can you go? Maybe one day you won't even need employees...

Lure employees with perks
Lure employees with perks

 

Disrupt legacy industries

In the wake of the dot-com bubble burst, the entrepreneurial landscape is ripe for revolution and fresh ideas. They won't see it coming.

Disrupt these industries
Disrupt these industries

Research groundbreaking technologies.

It's your responsibility to usher in new eras of technological progress. Bring the world into the future and unleash the most exotic and unpredictable gadgets upon society. The future is now.

Research new future techs
Research new future techs

 

Hype your company to cult-like status

You don't just make products. You aren't just a company. You are a way of life. Mold public opinion towards your company through key influencers and promotional campaigns.

Shape public perception of your startup
Shape public perception of your startup

Innovate or die

Combine product types in unique and new ways to stay ahead of the competition. Some will flop, but others will be dazzling gifts to the world.

Cognitive + Credit: Thought pattern-based credit scores
Cognitive + Credit: Thought pattern-based credit scores

Corner the Market

Battle it out with competitors in ~The Market~. Produce products, capture market share, and dominate those second-rate entrepreneurs or expiring tech behemoths. Survival of the fittest!

Beat competition in ~The Market~
Beat competition in ~The Market~


Grow, grow, grow

And never stop. Expand to new locations, acquire other companies, reach for the stars. Your shareholders demand relentless expansion and profit. Satisfy them or suffer their wrath.

Keep up that growth! �
Keep up that growth! �

Change the world

Everything you do has a consequence. With your revolutionary new products, you have the power to shape a brave new world. We've only got one planet, and it's yours.

Reach every corner of the world...and beyond
Reach every corner of the world...and beyond

In the press

The Founder tote bags:

 (for backers of $50 and above)

The bags are from Print All Over Me!

From left to right:

- The Technology Tote, featuring all technologies from the game

- The Perks Tote, featuring Snacks, Butter Coffee, and Ping-Pong

- The Employee Tote, featuring employee avatars from the game

The bag measurements are width=16", length=15.5", gusset=3", handle=23".

Tote bags via Print All Over Me
Tote bags via Print All Over Me

Print closeups:

 

 

 

About me, the founder of The Founder

My name is Francis. I'm an interaction designer and developer who does a lot of work with machine learning and artificial intelligence. I love games, especially ones that show you different perspectives of the world (even if they are terrible perspectives). You can see some my past work at frnsys.com.

Risks and challenges

Many parts of the game are already in place, but the trickiest part is that last 10%. Bugs and other issues with game mechanics and gameplay can come up - so there will be extensive playtesting to ensure stability and enjoyability of the game.

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Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 5 or more About $5

    ANGEL

    Eternal gratitude in the form of public thank you

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    Pledge US$ 10 or more About $10

    SEED ROUND

    Eternal gratitude and public thank yous - your name will be immortalized in the credits

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    53 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 25 or more About $25

    SERIES A

    Early access (beta) for playtesting - your feedback will help shape the final game (plus the above)

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    STARTUP SWAG

    A Print All Over Me tote bag with employee avatars or technology icons (plus the above)

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    Pledge US$ 60 or more About $60

    FIRST EMPLOYEE

    Become an employee in the game (plus thanks, early access, and a tote). (no guarantees on getting hired though)

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    Limited 16 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 70 or more About $70

    UNICORN

    Become a HIGHLY SKILLED employee in the game (wow!!) (plus thanks, early access, and a tote).

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    Limited 17 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $71 or more About $71

    GROWTH HACK

    Become a JOURNALIST in the game. you'll occasionally appear as an author for the in-game newspaper (plus thanks, early access, and a tote).

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    Limited 12 backers
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  8. Reward no longer available

    Pledge US$ 72 or more About $72

    GO VIRAL

    Become a SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCER in the game. your Twitter handle or name will be used for an in-game social media influencer (plus thanks, early access, and a tote).

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    Reward no longer available 11 backers
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    STEALTH MODE

    Super early access (ALPHA) playtesting (~exclusive~) (plus thanks and a tote). get in on the ground floor!

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    OFFICE PET

    Name one of the office dogs! (plus thanks, super early access, and a tote)

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    Limited 1 backer
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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    #BRAND

    Name an in-game product (within good taste) (plus thanks, super early access, and a tote). leave your mark on the world!

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    Limited 3 backers
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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    SERIAL ENTREPRENEUR

    Add your startup as a competitor in the game! (plus thanks, super early access, and a tote) you'll probably go out of business, but your name will live on.

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    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    WEALTH THERAPY

    I will personally call you and give you some startup advice (plus thanks, super early access, and a tote)

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  14. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 1,000 or more About $1,000

    COFOUNDER

    I will come in to your startup for a day and personally consult you on things (must be in New York City) (plus thanks, super early access, and a tote)

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    THE FOUNDER

    I will come in to your startup for a day and personally consult you on things (must be in the US) (plus thanks, super early access, and a tote)

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Funding period

- (30 days)