At least there’s no blood spilled in this geeky video game.
An employee at Theranos — the disgraced blood-testing startup founded by Silicon Valley wunderkind Elizabeth Holmes — has exacted a nerdy revenge on the reporter whose hard-hitting exposés took down the company.
It came in the form of a crude version of the classic “Space Invaders” video game, in which players shoot at a likeness of the Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou.
“At a company party, Theranos employees played a video game modeled after Atari’s Space Invaders,” Carreyrou wrote in a Friday tweet.
In addition to replacing the game’s titular aliens with his face, Carreyrou noted, the programmer replaced the cannon with Theranos’ proprietary miniLab testing kit, and swapped out the bullets for the company’s “nanotainer” blood vial.
The anonymous employee who made the parody insisted to Carreyrou that it was not a company-sanctioned project.
“It was just a way for me to learn Python, and try to cheer up my former co-workers,” the creator told Carreyrou, referring to the popular Python coding language.
“Theranos management did not sanction this, nor was it an official project with a bunch of engineers working on it,” the employee added.
Carreyrou — who in 2015 reported for the Wall Street Journal that Theranos’ famed blood tests were actually being conducted by commercial analyzers, and that the actual technology wasn’t special — lamented that he learned of the game too late to add it to the first edition of the book, but suggested that “maybe it can be added for the paperback.”
The 8-bit revenge is only the latest embarrassment for the scandal-ridden company.
On Wednesday, Buzzfeed obtained a letter from CEO Elizabeth Holmes begging investors for a cash infusion to help the company avoid defaulting on its debt financing agreement — less than a month after settling SEC allegations that she had defrauded its investors out of more than $700 million.
Earlier this week, Holmes — a Stanford dropout who dresses exclusively in black turtlenecks — announced that the company would be laying off the majority of its remaining workforce, leaving it with just two-dozen employees.