October 12, 2006

Bully Under Fire

Rui recently sent out a note that the game he was working on for Rockstar Vancouver, the controversial Bully, has been cleared for release. It’ll be on shelves for October 17.

Kudos to Rui! It’s great to see a longtime friend and kid from Fall River making good.

But I guess not everyone agrees on how good. The reports on this game are extremely positive from gamer magazine articles I’ve read. But along with the positive buzz, there is also controversy. The game is set in a boarding school and involves bullying, which is enough to set some people off.

In particular, some people in Florida are up in arms. The GamePolitics blog reports that a judge in Florida’s Third District Court has demanded that the company hand over the game for review within 24 hours. Someone has filed a lawsuit against the game company in an attempt to restrict the game’s release in Florida.

This is big news. A game has never been reviewed for release before. I don’t know much about the contents of the game, but I imagine this means more attention for Bully and probably more interest.

But what of the content? Is Bully harmful? It’s rather hard to say as nobody’s really had much of a chance to play it. I can say, I’m more interested than ever.

Posted by James at October 12, 2006 2:47 PM
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That's ironic but not unexpected. Will outraged parents who call for X to be banned ever bother reading/watching/learning about X before getting upset? Probably not.

The Bully trailer came out a few months ago and the object of the game was a surprise. The game's protagonist is not a bully who runs around gleefully beating up students but a freshman who must stand up to the bullies and try to get them kicked out of the academy. I watched the campy trailer back in August and it seemed pretty tame by Grand Theft Auto standards. As the preview says, "This probably isn't the game you thought it was."

Posted by: Mike at October 12, 2006 3:47 PM

Hey, I see the lawsuit was brought by self-proclaimed moral crusader and Batman enthusiast, Jack Thompson.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Thompson_(attorney)

I remember him from the 2 Live Crew uproar when I was living there. At the time, he had an ally in Governor Bob Martinez, which is why Martinez didn't get re-elected in 1991.

If Jack Thompson's critical thinking skills even a tenth the size of his ego and his propensity for self-promotion, he'd be in danger of being taken seriously.

Certainly, there are people who see him as the great moral crusader he thinks he is, but I believe more people simply see him as a high-profile crackpot.

I don't know which camp this judge falls into, but it sounds to me as if the game will be legal in at least 49 states long enough for anyone to buy a copy if they want one. And, thanks to all this publicity, they'll probably want one. :-)

Posted by: Julie at October 12, 2006 4:12 PM

In case anyone's still interested...

According to another article on the same blog, the judge played the game (or watched it being played) for maybe four hours and then ruled in Bully's favor. As for Jack Thompson's request for a copy of the game, the judge said he could have one... on the day of its release. :-)

Posted by: Julie at October 17, 2006 1:38 PM

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