There’s Pipe Trouble in Sheridan College (the game, not the plumbing)!

pipetrouble2What is that retro-style arcade game in the B wing beside Tim Horton’s? Pipe Trouble is a game produced by Sandbox Productions. The animation is done by a Sheridan grad. You may recognize it from the popular debate it has inspired in Canadian media over the past few weeks for its political message.

Pipe Trouble takes a new spin on the old arcade cabinet form of gaming to address real and current issues surrounding the exploitation of natural gas in Canada. The game takes a critical stance on recent plans between Canada and the United States to build a pipeline for transporting tar sands oil southward.

Tasked with building their own pipeline, players struggle to balance using the least amount of pipe to make the most money against the impact on local environment and neighbouring farms.  On the right, a gas company rep oversees the budget and pushes to create the most direct economical route (every piece of pipe costs money and every second counts). Meanwhile, on the left, a volatile farmer gauges impact on the area and community. Lay too close to the pastures and risk springing a leak that kills livestock and makes people sick. Build through forest or near residences and incite protesters that block your way. Suffer a leak or otherwise incite local outrage and you risk sabotage that could sink the operation! Game over!

Sheridan students and staff are welcome to give the game a try where it is on display in the Trafalgar campus B wing, until the end of next week (April 5th), when it will continue on its journey around Canada. Indeed, many Sheridan students are already enjoying the fantasy life of an oil tycoon on their way to get their morning coffee.

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