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Legal pressure forces changes for developer of gun-toting construction worker video game

JOC News Service
Legal pressure forces changes for developer of gun-toting construction worker video game

Legal pressure from TransLink has forced a game featuring the Vancouver SkyTrain’s Main Street Station as the site of murderous rampage to change copyrighted images and phrases.

Gamers play as a construction worker, who begins killing unarmed people with a machine gun after waiting too long for the train.

Those visiting the game’s website are now greeted by a message explaining TransLink’s legal action against the game creator, which have forced him to make several changes.

He states that he changed SkyTrain to "SK-iTrain" system.

"The word is horribly cumbersome, suitably befitting the current state of public transit," reads the message.

The name has also been changed to "Maen Striit Massacre" instead of Main Street and copyrighted maps on the ticket machines have been censored.

The message states TransLink’s lawyers contacted the site’s hosting company and gave the game creator 24 hours to change the copyrighted material.

"Waste them extra hard next time you play," advised the message, concerning the blurred ticket machine maps.

TransLink is pushing to have the game removed altogether.

"While we cannot control the subject matter that individuals choose to use in the making of video games, we do have legal rights with respect to our intellectual property," said TransLink CEO Ian Jarvis in a release.

"Out of safety concerns for our passengers, our employees, and the public at large, TransLink cannot be seen as endorsing or condoning such violent content."

Jarvis added that TransLink is "vigorously" pursuing its legal options for having the video game removed from the internet.

Jarvis noted that front-line employees have expressed concerns and that some were particularly upset.

"Imagine working as a SkyTrain attendant and watching widely publicized gory images of a video game that features a disgruntled passenger venting his frustration with system delays by using an automatic weapon to murder staff and passengers," he said.

One of the front-line SkyTrain managers also chimed in.

"This has resulted in universal concern among employees who deal with a lot of problems daily," the unnamed manager is reported to have said.

"Now, it’s not just a problem, it’s a worry."

One employee said her daughters saw the article and were very upset and worried for her safety.

"Our buses and trains are boarded 1.2 million times a day. And our employees are dedicated to helping people get where they need to go – safely and efficiently," said Jarvis.

"If someone made a video game like that about any other well-known provider of goods or services that touched so many lives daily – be it city hall, an airport, a library, or a hospital – I’m sure that the employees of that company would feel the same as our people feel after learning about that video (game) through the media."

The game creator sought publicity and he got it, Jarvis added.

"Unfortunately, it was at the expense of real human beings – our customers, and the 6,700 employees who work for TransLink and its subsidiaries."

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