Take-Two Interactive, the same publisher which brought the world the Grand Theft Auto franchise—and associated “Hot Coffee” controversy surrounding Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas—has a new game out today: Bully.
Bully follows the character of 15 year-old Jimmy Hopkins as he tries to adjust to life at the fictional New England boarding school Bullworth Academy. Jimmy’s been expelled from every school he’s attended, and now gets to contend with malicious teachers, pranks, being the outsider at an upight school, and taking on liars and snobs, and exploring the school’s larger town.
Billed by Take-Two as “outrageously funny,” Bully has already garnered considerable criticism, including court action to stop the game from going to market on the grounds that it was effectively a “Columbine simulator” which created a public nuisance, and harsh criticism from pundits and watchdog groups saying it’s a sad indication of the direction of modern culture. For its part, Take-Two says the game’s humor and entertainment value is the game’s main focus: the game has no guns, no knives, and no blood, with the mightiest weapons being slingshots, stink-bombs, and fire extinguishers.
(Back in my day, I recall kids being seriously hurt by all those things. But that was reality, not a game.)
Although a handful of retailers are declining to carry Bully, you can now see for yourself what all the fuss is about: Bully is now available for Playstation 2 with an MSRP of $39.99; it’ll ship in Europe under the name Canis Canem Edit on October 27, 2006, with a suggested price of €59.99, or £39.99 in the United Kingdom. (“Canis Canem” is Latin for “dog eat dog.”) Development on a version of Bully for Xbox was cancelled some time ago, so if you want to play, Sony’s the way.