Video game depicting pipeline attacks causes concern
(WPBN/WGTU) — A video game created by a Michigan State University professor has some people questioning its content.
The game depicts an indigenous cultural figure blasting pipelines and other oil-related machinery.
Thunderbird Strike was created by MSU Assistant Professor Elizabeth LaPensee and it's concerning some who work in the oil and gas industry.
"I think the video game depicts, stylistically but nevertheless, violence against pipelines," said Energy Equipment and Infrastructure Alliance CEO and President Toby Mack. "In our opinion that endangers public safety, public health and even endangers our environment."
"I don't see it that way at all," said Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians Tribal Citizen Desmond Berry. "If anything I found it a little bit humorous and I found it to be historically accurate."
Berry said the video game depicts the thunderbird doing what it's meant to do.
"The story says [the thunderbird] had been given a task by the creator to make sure that anything that was evil was kept in its place and would not harm people," said Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa Chippewa Indians Elder Jim Petoskey. "It helps us maintain that balance between the bad and the good."
"I would say that the oil companies are absolutely not evil," said Michigan Representative Triston Cole, of the 105th District. "Nearly every aspect of our society utilizes petroleum products that are derived from gas and oil extraction."
The games website provides different ways people can get involved and act against pipelines.
"I believe there [were] some Minnesota taxpayer funds involved in supporting the project," said Mack. "We think it's a very inappropriate use of taxpayer money."
Some people say the money is being used to promote the right message.
"In my personal opinion pipelines and oil refineries, I see them as the eco-terrorists here," said Desmond.
"I'm in constant communication with oil and gas companies and they are constantly working on safety and security of their infrastructure," said Rep. Cole. "Whether it's pipelines or the equipment used."
When we reached out to LaPensee we were told she was not available.