Pipe Trouble Controversy

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Case Study #2: Pipe Trouble (2013) Pipe Trouble puts a new spin on an old arcade classic, Pipe Mania , and uses over-the-top satire to explore ongoing real-world issues surrounding the exploitation of natural gas within Peace River, British Columbia. The game was designed to engage a difficult younger demographic (18-34 age group) in the ongoing natural gas debate and also build awareness for the TVO commissioned documentary film, The Trouble in the Peace by the Peace by Six Island Productions. Within the game, players are tasked to successfully build their own pipeline, while balancing environmental and financial considerations. The game is overtly cartoonish but is anchored in real world events that mirror the accompanying documentary. Players must create their own pipeline by dragging sections of pipe to complete the pipeline before gas leaks from the unattached pipes. If the gas leaks the player must begin the level again. Players must negotiate construction around obstacles such as wildlife, lakes, protestors, farms, and a ticking clock. On either side of the screen are two competing interests. On the left hand side, a farmer demands complete protection of his property, crops, and animal life no matter the cost. On the right hand side, a pipeline executive demands efficiency,…show more content…
The game generated a storm of public, media and political controversy starting with Simon Kent’s review in the Toronto Sun: “Seriously though, why should we all be paying for this nonsense with public dollars? Even more so when it is designed to discredit a business that carries 97% of Canada’s daily natural gas and oil production around the country with a track record of delivering 99.999% of product carried without incident? So now the brave new Ontario government of Kathleen Wynne is funding a violent video game that encourages players to blow up a pipeline. She must be awfully proud.”

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