Facebook gambles $40,000 on crossing the streets in Vietnam

By Mai Anh   October 19, 2016 | 02:10 am PT
Facebook gambles $40,000 on crossing the streets in Vietnam
A foreigner is puzzled when crossing the street in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress
Try negotiating the crazy streets from the safety of your phone with this new mobile game.

Vietnamese Road, a mobile game that trains people how to survive the crazy traffic in Vietnam, has just received a $40,000 grant from the Facebook start-ups fund.

The grant will be offered through tools and services provided by the social network and its partners.

The Hanoi-based app company HanelSoft co-developed the game with Japanese company Hiropro and has had more than 7,000 downloads since its was launched in June. More than 75 percent of players are foreigners.

Vietnamese Road is mostly about crossing the streets in Vietnam, which can prove to be quite a challenge even for locals, especially in crowded cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh.

Many tourists in Ho Chi Minh City lament that there are basically no rules for crossing the streets and they have to watch out for drivers who jump red lights.

Players try to cross the street while avoiding various vehicles common on Vietnamese roads, including vehicles that take up a lot of space like vending carts, bikes that transport pigs or balloons, and those that drive too fast or too slow.


The interface for the Vietnamese Road mobile game. Photo by VnExpress

Enomoto Kaori, a 30-year-old Japanese woman and a game designer for Hanelsoft, came up with the idea after living in Vietnam for more than a year.

Kaori, who arrived in Vietnam in July last year, said she has not seen many games about Vietnamese life and culture, so she decided to do something.

The game is based on Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, the central city of Hue and the southern resort island of Phu Quoc, all places that she has been to.

She plans to design a game about Vietnamese food which could hit the market next year.

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