What 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.
“It is now day 4 of the Game Developers conference in beautiful San Francisco (although not much time to take in the sights). Our team has been busy doing shifts at Sheridan’s booth and attending the conference. At booth 231 we’ve had good success attracting attendees to our booth, thanks to swag donated by the Faculty of Applied Science and Technology. It is strange swag in fact – screwdrivers, wind up flashlights and, the best, a leveler with a tape measure (we sell it as relevant to our game level design program). We’ve met a lot of people, including several alum who are happy to catch up and tell us their stories of life post-Sheridan.
The exhibition hall is chalk full of the latest and greatest technologies in gaming. Our team’s personal favorite is Oculus VR, 3D goggles that provide you with the experience of virtual reality. It senses your head orientation and the field of view is huge. It also makes people nauseous, but that’s a detail.
Last night was the Canadian party, which was by all accounts a great event, packed to the rafters with our friends and colleagues. One day to go before we head on home.”
– This report was sent from the exhibition floor in San Francisco by Angela Stukator, Associate Dean of Animation and Game Design