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Bully facing controversy in the UK

Rockstar are once again involved in controversy, this time not over Grand Theft Auto (that’s later in the year), but Bully: Scholarship Edition. Teaching unions and anti-bullying campaigners have hit out at Rockstar, and two retailers are already refusing to stock the 15-rated game.

Bully is not about taking the role of a bully. Rockstar state that the “comedic romp” is “about the trials and tribulations of a boy in his first year at school”. It’s a game where you attempt to overcome bullies to get on with your school life.

Contrary to this though, critics believe that the game will glorify bullying, with the game making it acceptable to youngsters to bully others. The word in the UK is that the game must now be banned. Niall Cowley, of the charity BeatBullying, said:

“We’re disappointed this game was created in the first place. Some mindless people thought this was a fun, interesting piece of software to create, but it undermines all the hard work that organisations like ours are seeking to do.

Our philosophy is about educating young people that bullying is not a cool thing to do, and this leaves us with a bad taste in the mouth.”

The National Union of Teachers want a wider ban on the game, as in it shouldn’t be sold anywhere. Steve Sinnott, the general secretary, said:

“We’re deeply concerned that all the work in cutting out bullying and cyber bullying in school does not seem to have made any impact on the consciences of the makers of this game.

“The dialogue about the pernicious effects of bullying appears to have been ignored. It is an encouragement to violence and intimidation, and those things have a major impact on schools.”

Even a labour MP, Keith Vaz, has spoken out about the game, saying just the name alone will encourage young people to buy it. He claims the game’s premise is tasteless.

As for retailers, PC World and Currys have both stated they will not stock the game. People rarely buy games in either of these stores anyway so it’s hardly a big deal, however it might lead other potential stockists to also drop the game.

“We don’t think this is suitable for sale in our stores. We are careful about what we sell and this is something we have decided not to list.”

The original Bully was released in the UK in 2006, exclusively for the PS2. However to avoid such controversy, the name was changed to Canis Canem Edit, Latin for “Dog Eat Dog”. Rockstar have stated they will revert back to Bully for this edition, which hasn’t helped their cause. Admittedly, Canis Canem Edit: Scholarship Edition is a crap name, but it might just have avoided attention such as this.

The game is still expected to hit retail shelves (or those who stock it) on the 7th March. It’s unlikely that any of the whinging from the various parties will make a blind bit of difference, but it shows once again that people don’t understand the difference between video games and real life. The game has been rated so that those under the age of fifteen cannot buy the game. It is up to retailers to enforce this, and those over the age of fifteen shouldn’t be so impressionable that a videogame which clearly doesn’t take itself too seriously is what is acceptable in the real world. Perhaps if parents were a little stronger and prevented their children from buying the game in the first place, none of this would be an issue. Just make sure that when the game hits, you buy at least two copies to show the game is a huge success and we British love the controversy it brings!

Via: The Daily Telegraph facing controversy in the UK newsvine:Bully facing controversy in the UK furl:Bully facing controversy in the UK reddit:Bully facing controversy in the UK fark:Bully facing controversy in the UK Y!:Bully facing controversy in the UK gamegrep:Bully facing controversy in the UK

25 comments on 'Bully facing controversy in the UK'

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Comment by Steve Perry on 2008-01-21 13:19:55 | Reply

Bloody Daily Mail readers, always complaining without actually experiencing the game first.

Er, it’s from the Daily Telegraph…

Comment by Steve Perry on 2008-01-21 13:27:33 | Reply

I realise that. It’s the Daily Mail readers who do most of the complaining though, with their “ban this sick filth” and all that.

Comment by naysayrbeteasea on 2008-01-21 17:28:26 | Reply

niall cowley got bullied. someone pissed in his hair.

Comment by Raine on 2008-01-21 13:22:23 | Reply

It’s sad in this day and age that we, the gaming public have to put up with this kind of childish and closed minded views from people who should be looking out for actual issues to deal with, instead of attacking a game that is as threatening as a rolled-up news paper.

Movies, for some odd reason, gain a less scrutinized abuse and are allowed more liberities with their contant. This urks me greatly, not just for Rockstar games, but for many more titles and developing companies that get crapped on for controversal material.

Now if this game was about a boy that flung still-born babies from the twin towers of New York into a factory that is dedicated to stem-cell research…okay then, I’d have to say, “Yo, Rockstar…wha’ up with the hating?” but it’s nowhere near that degree of deprevity. In fact, it’s (Bully) suppose to be a game poking a little fun at the life of a teenager as he struggles through highschool (more or less). That doesn’t sound all that bad to me.

Does he kill people? Nope! Does he tote a gun in his locker? Not to my knowledge. Is he shooting up, or selling to fit in with the cool kids? Once again, a realistic issue that isn’t being exploited. So…let’s see here. He’s doing nothing that the more hated “actual” teenagers are doing in highschool today. Wow! I think that Rockstar may actually be trying to promote a good thing here. Scary!

People in these positions need to take a step back and rethink their priorities a little. Make the world safe from the actual threats and give the gaming industry a little break. It’s gained a content rating for a reason…let’s leave it at that, and hope the stores themselves are smart enough to obey those rulings.

Cheers mates!

Comment by Steve Perry on 2008-01-21 13:25:19 | Reply

Spot on mate.

Though I am curious about this game about a boy that flung still-born babies from the twin towers of New York into a factory that is dedicated to stem-cell research :)

Comment by Lone Goat on 2008-01-22 18:34:02 | Reply

Now if this game was about a boy that flung still-born babies from the twin towers of New York into a factory that is dedicated to stem-cell research…okay then, I’d have to say, “Yo, Rockstar…wha’ up with the hating?””

LOL Where did that come from…. thats the most funny thing i’ve seen on this site in a long time.

Comment by unleash on 2008-01-21 14:02:13 | Reply

Raine…nice one.

What is the problem? Games are given a rating for a reason. Maybe instead of trying to stop EVERYONE from being able to play these great games. They should concern themselves with trying to stop the little kiddies from purchasing said games! And let the more mature gammers make up their own minds as to what they play.

Comment by Steve Perry on 2008-01-21 14:16:15 | Reply

They also don’t seem to understand that the storyline takes you through the story of a boy who aims to rid the whole school of bullying.

But who needs facts anyway?

Comment by FoolInjection on 2008-01-21 14:42:52 | Reply

Jack Thompson would have a fucking field day…

What is it with this country anyway (UK)… I mean wasn’t this all sorted the LAST time this game was released.

I mean they are treating this game like its a NEW thing… Its not.. its a remake of a game that was out donkeys ago.

Comment by Steve Perry on 2008-01-21 14:46:57 | Reply

But apparently there are now new ways in which to bully people to gain extra points! ahem.

Aren’t journalists meant to do research and stuff before writing articles?

Comment by The_Glovner on 2008-01-22 13:15:06 | Reply

“Aren’t journalists meant to do research and stuff before writing articles?”

Not in this country, it’s either unsubstatiated shite, or it’s about fucking talentless celebrities I have no interest in.

Comment by Sebas on 2008-01-21 15:16:23 | Reply

Have you seen some of the shit they can put in films and movies nowadays…..its pathetic that kids/teenagers can download films like SAW and HALLOWEEN…..not forgeting the porn…..Yet a well designed game that people spend time and alot of effort creating will grab more controversy about a virtual teenager in a virtual world slapping virtual kids…….Gordon Brown……pull ur finger out

Comment by HOTCHIP on 2008-01-21 15:54:33 | Reply

1984 here we come.

Comment by KultiVator on 2008-01-21 16:30:36 | Reply

We live in a fearful, alarmist society where a parent can no longer take pictures of their children during a school play…for fear of being labelled as a pedophile, so what do you expect?

Mind you - ratings on games don’t really make much difference judging by the amount of really young and annoying kids that play Gears Of War and Call Of Duty 4.

I grew up playing arcade games like Invaders and PacMac - and somehow managed to grow up without becoming an obese alien-seeking murdered with an eating disorder! So how does their logic work?

Comment by mu on 2008-01-21 20:20:14 | Reply

“We live in a fearful, alarmist society where a parent can no longer take pictures of their children during a school play…for fear of being labelled as a pedophile”

what the fuck are you talking about? i want some precedence sited.

Comment by naysayrbeteasea on 2008-01-21 22:23:22 | Reply


Comment by Steve Perry on 2008-01-21 23:48:01 | Reply

I know at one of the local schools here they imposed that rule, as I have a younger sister. Enough proof?

Comment by mu on 2008-01-22 05:41:51 | Reply

wow, thanks steve, i believe you. i was thinking that this was just a fabrication, but if they are actually banning cameras at school functions, we are really crossing the line.

Comment by The_Glovner on 2008-01-22 13:17:05 | Reply

Yup, it happens.

My uncle works in filming, got asked to do a school play, but had the job pulled out of fear that the video would be used for some peodo porn or something.

Fucking joke things are becoming with this shite.

Comment by KultiVator on 2008-01-21 16:32:17 | Reply

Yeah like… if Sarah watches porn she’ll want to be a porn star.

Instant nymphomaniac.

If only, eh?

Comment by mu on 2008-01-21 20:18:47 | Reply

the truly entertaining aspect of this situation is that the game bully actually shows how asinine it is to be a bully, and actually promotes reasonable behavior. sure the protagonist lashes out on the community that allows these atrocites to take place, but that is all a positive step to promote actually thinking about your actions and their consequences.

props to raine on his commentary.

Comment by Jay on 2008-01-21 23:21:27 | Reply

Spot on raine mate… this is absolutly disgusting how people protest against a game like this…

“Yeah like… if Sarah watches porn she’ll want to be a porn star.”

“Instant nymphomaniac.”

Completly agree KultiVator…

To learn about keeping kids safe online you should go to They teach kids about cyber bullying and predators. They have some awesome videos.

Comment by Number13 on 2008-01-24 23:49:06 | Reply

Funny, really. PC World (etc) won’t stock this game, but they’ll stock gore-fests like Gears of War, where you can chainsaw a friend to death?


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