Molleindustria created the smartphone app called “Phone Story” in September of 2011. It was an interactive educational game that was intended to educate the game player about the Foxconn suicides and the “darker side” of the iPhone. The company recently decided to donate the proceeds from the sale of Phone Story to a 19-year old ex-Foxconn employee, Tian Yu, who sustained serious injuries after a suicide attempt at Foxconn’s Longhua plant in Shenzhen. Apple only kept the game in its App Store for three hours, but the sale of the game on the Android App Store made the final donation to Tian Yu $6,047.
Molleindustria’s reasoning, as they state on the Phone Story website:
“We thought: $6000 won’t do that much to an organization but they could be significant for an individual who used to earn about $130 a month.”
This YouTube video is a trailer for the game and the messages it hoped to convey.
The narrator states: “Did you really need [an iPhone]? Of course you did. We invested a lot of money to instill this desire in you. you were looking for something that would signal your status, your dynamic lifestyle, your unique personality, just like everyone else!” This pinpoints our recent class discussions: who drives the market? Do people have as much agency as they think?
As this game suggests, the iPhone has transformed into so much more than a cell phone…but at what cost?