NEWS

Online game depicting pipeline bombing sparks controversy

03/22/2013 04:13 EDT | Updated 05/22/2013 05:12 EDT
Ontario's premier Kathleen Wynne is looking into an online game featured on the province's public broadcaster's website, showing the bombing of a gas pipeline.

A link to a free trial of "Pipe Trouble" appeared on the website of Ontario's provincially-funded TVO this week.

"It's disappointing to see a taxpayer-funded game and organization depict the blowing up of pipelines," said Alberta premier Alison Redford. "It's exactly opposite of Canada's interests given all of Canada benefits from a strong and diverse energy sector. It's encouraging that Premier Wynne's government is looking into this."

TVO describes the game, which is similar in style to the highly-popular online game FarmVille, as a companion to a documentary called Trouble in the Peace about local opposition to pipelines and the bombing of pipelines in northeastern British Columbia.

"Docs like Trouble in the Peace and immersive games like Pipe Trouble are some of the ways in which TVO uses media to engage people in complex issues," the broadcaster wrote on its website Thursday.

"Pipe Trouble allows players to explore both the corporate and the environmental perspective of this complex issue. To get a perfect score, players must build the pipeline as economically and environmentally responsibly as they can. The objective is to lay down as few pipes as possible, while not disrupting the environment," TVO wrote.

The broadcaster says that the game uses "over the top satire" to explore the two sides of what it calls the "energy extraction debate."

It also said that while TVO has no relationship with the David Suzuki Foundation, the game developer who owns the rights to the game has decided to donate a portion of the revenue to the David Suzuki Foundation.

A demo of Pipe Trouble is on TVO's website and the full version is available for purchase as an app for iPads and Android devices.

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