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 â€śabout the trials and tribulations of a boy in his first year at schoolâ€ť. 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