Pipe Trouble

Pipe Trouble is a nice small game out of Canada that looks to get the player to balance competing interests around natural gas pipelines. The gameplay is laying pipes from a limited selection of parts, against a timer. There are some lovely moments where you’re just waiting for some protesters to get out of the way so you can finish the pipeline before the gas gets there and causes an environmental disaster. It does mounting jeopardy and making poor decisions under pressure very well.

If it’s purpose was entirely anti-pipeline, I’m not sure it succeeded, but if it was to get people thinking about the wider issues around pipeline construction, the framing is exactly right. Your god-like perspective means that you can see things the protesters can’t, like the hard decisions you’ve made about which habitats to destroy in order to preserve others, and your overlord looking at his budget going way over, and waving his fists in the air. I ended up thinking about how much I like having gas central heating and wondering about the environmental costs of it.

Importantly, it’s not just about issues, it’s also fun, which is what makes it worth thinking and writing about.