Fight against the oil industry as a mythical Thunderbird

Posted on October 30, 2017

Thunderbird Strike is not your ordinary 2D side-scrolling game.  Set against a mystical backdrop where you control the legendary Thunderbird, you can destroy oil lines symbolised by a snake with lightning to protect Turtle Island, and use your power of life to revive animals and restore the environment.

The Thunderbird features in many North American indigenous people’s beliefs and culture, and is associated with thunder and lightning.  Elizabeth LaPensée is the designer behind this game, and she is also the artist responsible for the gorgeous graphics.

Thunderbird Strike screenshot

“Thunderbird Strike focuses on the connection from the Alberta tar sands to Enbridge Line 5 in the Great Lakes in Turtle Island (North America)”, explains LaPensée.

“Line 5 is of great concern because of safety issues and the potential impact of a spill in such a vital connection of bodies of water. I was inspired to develop a game to address oil operations since I am both Anishinaabe and Métis and my children are also Beaver Lake Cree, a nation which is near the tar sands.”

Funnily enough, oil lobbyists are not happy with this game.  Toby Mack (President, Energy Equipment & Infrastructure Alliance) in an interview with the Associate Press even went as far to say that Thunderbird Strike was “designed to encourage eco-terrorism”.

Even more reason to play this title.

Thunderbird Strike screenshot

As you control a legendary creature, you cannot die in this game.  In fact, the game guarantees a win against the oil industry each time it is played.  LaPensée describes Thunderbird Strike as a “game of balance”.

“The challenge is in building up lightning by flying in the storm and diving down to hit targets. You get to choose between what you focus your lightning on–destroying oil industry or reviving animals and activating people. You receive a Destruction score vs. a Restoration score but the game doesn’t presume to tell you which path you should focus on. That’s up to you. All in all, it’s a high score game and can be played over and over again for a better score.”

It is incredibly important, now perhaps more than ever, to embrace other cultures and promote those who showcase their heritage.  Much like in Australia, the many indigenous groups of North America have a rich history and folklore that is in the danger of becoming lost, and all too often we hear of stories of natural wonders being lost in the name of profit.

I think it is due time for the Thunderbird to strike.  Thunderbird Strike is available to play on PC with a release on mobile devices in December 2017.