Video game enabling fantasy pipeline attacks draws fire

Posted at 2:58 AM, Oct 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-26 02:58:19-04

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — An energy industry group says a video game created by a Michigan State University assistant professor encourages “eco-terrorism” by enabling players to zap imaginary oil pipelines with lightning bolts, although the developer says it doesn’t advocate violence.

The game is called “Thunderbird Strike.” Players can direct an indigenous cultural figure called a thunderbird to destroy pipelines and other machinery with lightning. It’s downloaded from a website that outlines steps people can take to oppose real pipelines.

A group based in Washington, D.C., called Energy Builders says the game is a “taxpayer-funded political campaign” supporting illegal behavior that could put lives at risk.

Elizabeth LaPensee created the game and says it’s intended to be artistic and educational. She says it doesn’t support eco-terrorism and people should play it before passing judgment.