It’s Time to “Bully” Once Again

Last weekend when I was in Pennsylvania I saw a video game cover that caught my eye in a Game Stop window. The game is called “Bully: Scholarship Edition” …and you’re going to want to know about this one.

Brought to you by Rockstar Games, the lovely people that provided the “Grand Theft Auto” games, the new “Bully” for Xbox 360 and Wii will hit the video game shelves March 4th. This game features exclusive content which was apparently unavailable in the PS2 version released in 2006. And now, with the XBox 360 graphics, you’ll be able to get into mischief and kick some butt in High Def! And now you can do it with online multiplayer features.

They say that pictures speak 1,000 words. Well… then previews must speak 10,000. This trailer will show you more about the true content of this new game than I could ever describe to you. (NOTE: Don’t worry… I’m not showing you something innapropriate for your eyes… this trailer would probably be approved for all audiences. When you see it you’ll just agree that it’s sad that this is the entertainment deemed acceptable for our kids today. We’ve come a long way since “Space Invaders”.)

For those of us that missed the first “Bully” game–Bully or be bullied– that seems to be the name of the game.

“Bully” doesn’t have graphic gun violence like “Grand Theft Auto.” Instead, you fist fight with other kids. Common Sense Media describes the violence on the original version like this:

Parents need to know that this game is not Grand Theft Auto (the games were both created by Rockstar Games). It is, however, about bullying behavior in a school setting and therefore — given the sad state of school violence — a hot-button topic for parents. There is plenty of psychological brutality and physical violence (fistfighting, kicking, and “humiliating” finishing moves). Weapons include a baseball bat, garbage can lid, and fire extinguisher but, there are no guns, blood, or gore. Because this game deals with intimidation and violence with realistic language, parents who let their kids play it should absolutely talk about school violence (see next paragraph). The game contains some sexual remarks and alcohol references; and depending on the path taken, the main character, Jimmy Hopkins, can kiss another boy. Pranks include firing at football players from a tree with a slingshot and throwing marbles on the ground for others to trip over. The game does include consequences for misdeeds.

Gamespot.com describes the new game as a sort of “director’s cut” for the original “Bully.”

“The new version keeps the soul of the original PlayStation 2 game and adds a next-gen polish to its body. It also adds new graphics, extra solo missions, and multiplayer games.”

The game is rated “T” which means for teens. But that means that kids can purchase it. I called up my local Game Stop store to ask them about it. The rated “T” supposedly means you have to be 14. But that isn’t enforced. The only rating enforced is “M.” According to this Game Stop employee, everything below M is just a recommendation. “So a 6 year old can come in and buy this?” I asked. “Yep. We can sell anything to a six-year-old but M.”

Some think the game should be “M.” The National Institute on MEDIA and the FAMILY issued a KidScore rating of RED for the first”Bully,” commenting that they think the game should be rated “M” for only mature audiences. And when the original game was first going to be released, Miami lawyer and video game critic Jack Thomson filed a lawsuit against Rockstar Games parent company Take 2 Interactive, as well as Wal-Mart, and Game Stop, trying to prevent them from being able to sell the game to minors. TechNewsWorld reported that the Florida circuit court judge “decided not to ban the sale of the controversial game to minors.”

So the new “Bully” will be just like everything else in this world… easy access. That means it’s up to parents.

Hmmmmmm.

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; Sex Matters; The Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket; and youth ministry books like Ministry By Teenagers; Connect; and the 10-Minute Talks series. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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This entry was posted in Bullying/Cyberbullying, Entertainment Media, Jonathan's Rant, News, Youth Culture. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to It’s Time to “Bully” Once Again

  1. alec mckee (jonathan's kid) says:

    when i first saw this game preview in my weekly issue of “gameinformer” (shameless gamegeek plug) i thought that it might be interesting, i had never heard of a game where you stood up to bullies before. i might have even rented this game if my Dad hadn’t shown me this…interesting article about the game. Guess you just can’t judge a game by it’s cover, for better or worse.

  2. Alec… hmmmm… so you’re saying that you WOULD have been interested in a game where you could stand up to bullies?! What… get revenge on bullies? Let me talk to your father… oh… wait… 🙂

  3. James says:

    This game is really fun. It may seem bad but its pretty much a little kid version of grand theft auto.

  4. Kim B says:

    Haha, look. I got this game when it very first came out a few years ago for ps2.

    Honestly, it’s pretty harmless. Why is it such a big deal it’s rated T? It would be ridiculous to rate it M. Yes, T is just a recommendation and a six year old COULD buy it. But if the parents of that six year old allowed them to buy it, based on the TEEN rating and info on the back, then that’s a serious parenting problem, not a rating issue. Seriously.

    And for that matter, to a some degree, a lot of the awful things that could be exposed to kids these days that people bitch about can be avoided. Parents control most of their kid’s exposure up until teen years. Granted, not everything. But this game for example, would be a parent’s decision. Now if it was rated E? I would have a serious issue. It is not a E game. But T? Yes, teenagers can handle this game. But if parents are parenting their kids, which most parents aren’t these days, then this game shouldn’t be a big deal. Just saying.

  5. big bad bully ! says:

    i have the game it is sooooooooo fuuuunn!!!!! JIMMY kisses everyone even guy’s!!! it’s fun how u can bully every1 you could give wegdies, harass little kids(also adults…well every1) you could do anything in that game!!!

  6. phillip mcinerney says:

    Lets get this over with, the only reason this game was complained about in the first place was the fact that it was called Bully, was made by Rockstar and set in a school and people campaigned against the game based on virtually no information whatsoever and those people should be ashamed of themselves for doing this and in the process ignoring actual real life bullying victims. The game is mostly extremely innocuous and it really wouldn’t be a problem if a ten year old played it, as for not being suitable for six year olds if we got rid of every game not suitable for six year olds at least 95 percent of games would be taken off the market, and most of them not even bad in the first place.