New Video Game Has One American Group Claiming Its Eco-Terrorism

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By Lynne Beauchamp,

A video game that allows players to attack pipelines, trucks and other forms of petrochemical infrastructures in parts of Michigan and Canada has one group claiming it could inspire illegal acts of eco-terrorism to the petrochemical industry.

Thunderbird Strike was created by Elizabeth LaPensee which she said was supported by a grant from the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council Artist Fellowship in Minnesota. LaPensee resided in Minnesota during the making of the game before moving to Michigan and working at Michigan State University.  LaPensee, who claims to be of Anishinaabe and Metis descent, said the game was inspired by many thunderbird stories (thunderbird being a legendary creature in Native American history and culture).

According to the game’s website, players can “fly from the Tar Sands to the Great Lakes as a thunderbird protecting Turtle Island with searing lightening against the snake that threatens to swallow the lands and waters whole”.

“Thunderbird Strike is a game of healing where players can also revive animals and people with lightening,” said LaPensee.

The Grow America’s Infrastructures Now (GAIN) Coalition, a coalition of businesses, trade associations and labor groups with the goal of “promoting key infrastructure investments to ensure a stronger, more secure and prosperous country,” does not see it that way.

In a statement issued by the GAIN Coalition, spokesperson Craig Stevens had this to say, “despite what the leader of this project contends, the fact that taxpayer money is being used to fund a game that could inspire illegal and potentially fatal acts of eco-terrorism is a dangerous attempt to villainize the petrochemical industry. Demonizing pipelines and the petrochemical industry will have no benefit to the environment, especially when one considers that pipelines are the safest and most environmentally sensitive way to transport petrochemical products that are essential to daily life.”

Thunderbird Strike is currently available on Windows PC and is scheduled to be available on mobile devices sometime this month.

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Seth Kinker

Reporter/Digital Media for The Sun Times News

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