Once upon a time, a catastrophic event called the Upheaval broke apart the known world and scattered its pieces across the sky. Survivors called these orbiting fragments The Shattered Isles, and now spend their days fighting Behemoths—gigantic beasts borne from the Aether that threaten to destroy humanity.
Earlier this year, Jesse’s start-up caught the attention of a Singapore-based developer Garena that acquired Phoenix Labs in a major deal. Jesse calls joining Garena “a big, life-changing moment” for him, his wife Erica and their two daughters.
A self-proclaimed nerd, Erica has a background in coding, curriculum development, teaching and web design. Her experience in schools with underserved students has made her passionate about STEAM accessibility.
She says, “We asked ourselves, how do we make this world a better place? How can we best focus our time and effort? STEAM affects every single person on this planet. We’ve seen firsthand just how impactful Science World has been, and we want to get behind those efforts.”
Science World’s latest campaign, The World Needs More Nerds, makes a bold statement: now, more than ever, we need more problem solvers, wonder seekers and world changers.
In hopes of building a better, nerdier future, the Houstons have pledged to match donations up to $100,000 to the campaign’s fundraiser to help keep Science World open in the face of plummeting revenue and an uncertain future.
The Fearlessness of Nerds
Also a proud nerd, Jesse recalls his childhood in Vancouver and nagging his mother to take him to Science World. He was always devising new ways to get back inside the dome. “That place shaped how I think about the world and showed me how much fun learning can be.”
For Jesse, the fun of learning comes from teamwork, which often results in achievements greater than those of a single person working alone. His vision for Dauntless, as a free game that is playable on any platform, was inspired by his own experience: “All of my favourite games growing up were the ones I got to play with my friends.”
In fact, Jesse and his team chose the name Dauntless because it described how it felt to take on the work together. “We were a very small team staring down the barrel of an existential gun, if you will,” he recalls. “We needed to have an elite marathon-runner’s ambition, the drive to keep running when everyone else would sit down and rest.”
Dauntless launched in 2019 to explosive popularity and, within a year, it had garnered more than 20 million players and became the 4th highest rated free-to-play video game of all time.