"Pipe Trouble" Video Game | Notes from the Panther Lounge | David Suzuki Foundation

You may have been following a story over the weekend about a video game titled "Pipe Trouble".

The game attempts to show the complexity of oil and gas development in the Peace River region of northeast British Columbia. The David Suzuki Foundation was not involved in the development of the game, but the developer offered us a portion of the proceeds because we have been researching the impact of oil and gas development in the region. The game has caused considerable discussion because the pipeline that's part of the game can be "bombed" depending on choices the pipeline-laying player makes.

The David Suzuki Foundation does not condone violent acts, and although the game developer offered to donate proceeds to the Foundation, we have not received nor will we accept them because of our commitment to non-violent, science-based solutions.

Peter Robinson
CEO - David Suzuki Foundation

March 25, 2013
http://www.davidsuzuki.org/blogs/panther-lounge/2013/03/pipe-trouble-video-game/

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7 Comments

May 08, 2013
7:29 PM

I just wanted to let folks know the first level of the game is up online — http://www.pipetrouble.com/ You can also buy it on Itunes for Ipad or android. Highly recommended!

May 08, 2013
7:26 PM

Hi, I’m a big fan, etc… While I respect your position on the Pipe Trouble game, I urge your members to take the time to actually play the game to realize that it does not, ‘promote pipeline bombing’. It is quite the reverse. Pipe Trouble is an engaging and thought-provoking presentation of complex issues around pipeline development. The gamer plays as the oil company striving to construct a pipeline quickly, on budget, while protecting wildlife and being respectful of homeowners’ safety. Lay the pipes badly, and your pipeline increasingly attracts protesters, litigation, inspectors, angry farmers and vandalism. You invite less trouble by taking care to knock down as few trees as possible, steer clear of water and homes, and keep your pipeline in good repair. Between levels you hear snippets of radio narration about current hot-button issues around your pipeline-in-progress. The bombing of your pipeline is a possible outcome if your poor pipeline management evokes the wrath of enough radicals. If anyone thinks this is a wanted conclusion, it isn’t — you automatically lose the game. The oil lobby might want to hide the fact that pipelines have been bombed, several times. But you can’t hide the truth. As the game teaches, in a light-hearted way, it’s a complicated business with a lot at stake. I think you should have another look at this. Pipe Trouble is a perfect vehicle to get people engaged in this issue. More info here: http://business.financialpost.com/2013/04/02/pipe-troubles-government-woes-highlight-gaming-illiteracy-and-ignorance/

Mar 29, 2013
4:51 PM

I am a bit disappointed by this statement. I saw the game, and played a bit, there is nothing supporting violence there, nothing! Pipes being bombed is not such a huge factor as it is presented in the media, and it is simply based on old school arcade games where when one does a mistake the level ends up in explosion (the whole game is based on old school design). Never does it say or make one think that bombing pipes is a good thing or the right solution, it is simply about creating balance. I understand that you may want to avoid the witch hunt SNN started on you, but please don’t shun the game developers who didn’t do anything wrong by not accepting their donation. They did a good work an don’t deserve this ridiculous controversy. Although reading the comment below mine I can see that you just want to avoid this ridiculous controversy.

Mar 26, 2013
2:45 PM

These are all valid comments. Thanks.

We believe the film Trouble in the Peace and accompanying video game contribute to the ongoing and important discussion about natural gas development in northeastern B.C. Unfortunately, that discussion was being hijacked by some who would rather manufacture an issue around the game’s depiction of the reality pipeline companies face and around the David Suzuki Foundation’s involvement. The game’s producers agreed with us that it would be better to rescind their kind donation offer, so that we can focus on the real issues without these needless distractions.

You can read a statement from the game’s producers at http://www.newswire.ca/en/story/1136245/pipe-trouble-video-game-does-not-advocate-eco-terrorism

You can learn more about our work in the Peace Region at http://davidsuzuki.org/publications/reports/2012/atlas-of-land-cover-industrial-land-uses-and-industrial-caused-land-changes-in-t/.

Ian Hanington Communications Manager The David Suzuki Foundation

Mar 26, 2013
11:11 AM

Is this a joke? These hard working people offer to give your foundation money and your response is “no sorry, to many people are mad so we want out”. This is ridiculous, its also clear you have no idea what is actually in the game. Your pipeline getting bombed is something that happens to you, not something you take part in.

I hope you people end up feeling embarrassed about this in the future, because you should be.

Mar 25, 2013
7:36 PM

First, I would like to highlight the fact that this video game is a companion piece to a film, Trouble in the Peace. From a plot summary of the film:

“When livestock begin dying and children become mysteriously ill after gas leaks, a series of bombs are set off on the pipelines in reaction.”

This sounds pretty close to what happens in the game. Hence “companion piece”. If these events occur in the film, why is the game getting all the flak?

The whole point of this game is to build a pipeline safely, both in terms of environmental and human impact. Bombing pipelines is not the point of the game, that is but one way to lose.

In our age of ultra-violent games and movies, nobody could seriously think that this is a concerning level of violence for a video game. Instead, this is obviously a campaign to immediately marginalize any and all discussion related to the tar sands.

A voice of reasonable support is what I would have expected from the David Suzuki Foundation. Instead, by refusing proceeds from this game the David Suzuki Foundation validates these outrageous claims, contributing to the stifling of debate around Canada’s hydrocarbon industry.

Mar 25, 2013
6:30 PM

I haven’t seen the game and probably never will as it has been removed from the website however it doesn’t sound as though the game maker was implying that any real violence should be committed toward pipelines.

The production, transport and consumption of oil however, does indeed involve some real violence toward nature.

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