Rockstar Games changed the gaming world when they delivered Grand Theft Auto. Intended for adult audiences, the key is to be a badass thug criminal. Parents and family organizations went ape shit insisting the game sent out the wrong message to teens that were determined to get their hands on it. The debate seemed to go on forever and the spotlight followed Rockstar Games long enough for them develop and release an entire series based on the game. Not only did they win some of the gaming industry’s top awards, they made BANK.
Today Rockstar Games is at it again, this time with a schoolyard storyboard—Bully. Several countries are trying to ban the sale of this new game, which directly targets easily-impressionable tweens and teens. Critics claim it’s too violent. I’ve seen the trailer and dozens of screenshots. In my opinion it barely deserves a PG-13 rating. The cyber-private school Bullworth Academy is like Beverly Hills 90210 but with plaid uniforms and different theme music. I don’t think Bully glorifies teen violence, nor do I think it teaches kids how to be bullies. In fact, I think it may help kids recognize bully behavior and make it less acceptable. Perhaps it can help promote anti-violence and set a higher standard for the new generation of teenagers. And what if playing the game as the Bully character teaches some sissies out there how to handle the real life situation. There may be some built-in lessons in how to stand up for yourself.
I’m not much of a gamer, and I haven’t actually played the game—or ANY game in the last 15 years. But I did grow up watching John Hughes films. I wonder if it can somehow be compared to The Breakfast Club. TBC’s ensemble cast represented all types of high school wannabe—Jock, Princess, Nerd, New Waver and Head Banger. On some level I was able to relate to each of their characters. If the characters in Bully are similar to the cast of TBC, then perhaps playing Bully might help some teens understand their peers better. If this is in fact the case, then I applaud Rockstar Games for putting some thought into its development. And most important—Hell-o!—maybe the MOST important thing to consider—I hope it’s actually a fun game to play.
Is ‘Bully’ fun to play? Like, for real
OK, after a little more digging, I’m not surprised why some parents are up in arms over Bully. What a twist! Check out what I found on youtube. What kind of a message does this deliver? I think it’s brilliant. And hilarious!
Since we’re already discussing Rockstars and boy-on-boy kissing, check out Mr. Rockstar himself, Tommy Lee and Lukas Rossi, winner of Rockstar Supernova. Click image for a closer look. Was that one of Lukas’s prizes for winning? Or is that how he won the competition? Let me holler at Dave Navarro or Brooke Burke. I’ll let you know what I find out.