Anti-iPhone game gives $6,000 to Foxconn worker

A game designed to highlight the “dark side” of the electronics industry is donating more than $6,000 to a former FoxConn employee. Tian Yu was 17 in 2010, when she worked at Apple‘s Chinese manufacturer FoxConn, under such abusive conditions she attempted suicide by jumping from a four-storey window.

Phone Story, played on an iPhone

Phone Story, played on an iPhone

The political game, Phone Story, was released last September to raise awareness of what goes into building a mobile phone. The simply-designed game touches on some of the less-pleasant elements of the electronics industry – children mining for minerals, suicide prevention for employees at major factories (gamers must catch workers as they jump from factory windows), and the health risks involved with unmonitored “recycling” projects.

Unsurprisingly, the less-than-flattering game – designed for and targetting the iPhone – was pulled from the App Store within just three hours of release. The developers didn’t hesitate in publishing a downloadable version for both PC and Mac, creating one that is playable inside your browser, and launching the game onto the smaller, fragmented Android Marketplace.

Phone Story was shown at art exhibitions and featured heavily in the media, gaining coverage with every negative story relating to FoxConn.

The game was always developed with charity in mind, and the developers – Molleindustria – have today revealed just where the proceeds from the game will go.

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. So we made Tian Yu the recipient of our first donation.

Tian worked on the assembly line, checking for iPhone screens every 15 seconds over a 12-hour working day. She says she was criticised for being “slow” and “careless”.

After suffering verbal and emotional abuse, Tian’s salary card was delayed, leading the teenager to believe that she would not be paid for more than a month’s work. She was mentally and physically exhausted when she jumped from the fourth floor of her dormitory building.

Tian Yu in hospital

Tian Yu in hospital. Image courtesy Jack Qiu

Following the accident, Tian suffered four hip fractures and three compressed fractures of her spine, and now cannot feel anything below her waist. She now makes a living – joined by her grandmother, sister and father – making hand-woven slippers that are sold online.

Image of Tian Yu in hospital taken from Deconstructing Foxconn, courtesy of Jack Qiu and SACOM.

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