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UK Politicians Threatened By Bully 76

Posted by Zonk
from the thuggish-behaivor dept.
Though its release date is still a ways off Next Generation is reporting that UK politicians are already calling for careful consideration, and possible banning, of the Rockstar title Bully. From the article: "Do you share my concern at the decision of Rockstar to publish a new game called Bully in which players use their on-screen persona to kick and punch other schoolchildren? Will you ask the prime minister to refer this video to the British Board of Film Classification? If they don't make any changes will the government use its powers to ban this video[game]?"
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UK Politicians Threatened By Bully

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  • Wtf? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by KDan (90353) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @12:35PM (#13889755) Homepage
    Why the hell would anyone want to play a "bully" game?

    If you were a bully at school, you've already done it. If you were bullied at school, that's hardly going to be an enjoyable activity.

    What a bizarre idea for a game...

    Daniel
    • Re:Wtf? (Score:3, Insightful)

      If you were a bully at school, you've already done it. If you were bullied at school, that's hardly going to be an enjoyable activity.

      I listened to a radio documentary about bullying a few months ago - and there a few "bullying" games out there (one of which focused on girls and relied on social stigma as opposed to violence). The woman they had try it out enjoyed it.

      Frankly, I don't buy either of your arguments. If you're the type who likes to dominate - then gaming offers you a means to do so (and

    • Re:Wtf? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Pxtl (151020) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @12:48PM (#13889892) Homepage
      Because the game isn't about being a bully. It's about fighting back. And meeting girls, pranking teachers, etc. Imho, it's the coolest concept ever for a game, and I'm disgusted by people who think "ooh, Rockstar is making a bad game about beating up kids" without even looking into it (or looking at what your kids are going through at school and realising how this game might make them feel better about it).
      • Re:Wtf? (Score:5, Funny)

        by lightspawn (155347) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @01:43PM (#13890413) Homepage
        That's hardly fair, isn't it? You're using your actual knowledge of the game in this discussion, instead of imagining all kinds of things. What are the politicians supposed to do?

      • Re:Wtf? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Rockstar isn't about making good games ...
        They aren't about making games that empower people ...

        Simply put Rockstar is about making any game and then putting a marketing spin on it in such a way that it offends everyone except for their core demographic; they add elements to their games that are not important, and don't really add anything, simply to offend people.

        Why do they do it? Because getting a politician to claim that their game should be banned (or actually getting the game banned) does wonders to b
        • Re:Wtf? (Score:2, Informative)

          by RoadDoggFL (876257)
          It's a shame that you posted anonymously because you deserve Insightful mods for that.

          I can't help but wish politician were smarter because the whole violent game issue has extremely valid points on both sides. I'm a huge supporter of seeing video games as an art form, and at the very least as a vessel for freedom of speech, and in that sense I feel that any developer should be able to make and responsibly market any game to a reasonable market without any legal issues. But at the same time, it's petty fo
          • Re:Wtf? (Score:3, Interesting)

            My cousin, on the other hand, between growing up wrestling us (his cousins, older than him by five years) and playing violent games is a serious bully at school, and whenever he sees an ad for a game with guns his instant reaction is "that game looks awesome!

            But are you sure the bullying is due to wrestling and video games, and not just him being big for his age/a jerk/etc.? I mean, you yourself just said you grew up similarly, and yet never became a bully.

            I'm not saying video games can't have some e
            • No, because he's a really good kid and the entire family was shocked or is currently unaware that he even gets in trouble at all in school. Bullying isn't in his nature, he's always been hyperactive and being bigger than other kids doesn't help, but neither did associating violence with play growing up.
      • Which character do you think the politicians are more similar to?

        Hmmm?

        Now do you understand why they want to ban the game?

    • Re:Wtf? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sbryant (93075)

      Why the hell would anyone want to play a "bully" game?

      Why would anyone want to play a game where you steal cars and shoot the police?

      I guess neither you nor the politicians ever played Skool Daze, where you could go around hitting other kids. (There was actually more to the game than that, though!)

      Real life bullying is a serious problem, but I don't (yet) see that such games make kids more prone to violence or bullying. In fact, too much game-playing tends to lead to apathy, AFAICT.

      All that said

    • Re:Wtf? (Score:5, Funny)

      by LoRdTAW (99712) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @01:01PM (#13890022)
      Any game that lets me beat children is a definate buy for me. Besides I went to jail enough already.
    • Please mod parent (Score:1, Redundant)

      by Fr05t (69968)
      -1 Ignorant

    • Before you knock the concept of a game based on mis-behaving in the school yard, I recommend you try http://www.sissyfight.com/sissyfight/home.html [sissyfight.com]. Give it a go and see how addicting reliving one's childhood in a mean-sprited way can be...
    • Re:Wtf? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Guiannos (195466)
      This isn't a new concept, though... I remember playing the card game Lunch Money [atlas-games.com] back in high school, which is the same kind of thing...

      The premise is that you are a bunch of catholic school girls trying to beat each other up for your lunch money on the playground. Cards include attacks, weapons, etc.

      Fun game, regardless of your feelings on bullying.

    • Ever heard of Skool Daze [worldofspectrum.org]? The premise of the game is not as important as how the game plays. Why would anyone play an ex-convict working for the mafia? Because GTA games are fun and well made, that's why. Bizarre indeed...
  • the bigger bullies in the Government are picking on the geeks who make games...

    No wonder Rockstar made this game. For once, geeks could pretend to be the bully and see how the other half lives..

  • by RingDev (879105) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @12:35PM (#13889759) Homepage Journal
    Man that would be a great game. For adults.

    -Rick
  • I am well over 18 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by FidelCatsro (861135) * <fidelcatsro.gmail@com> on Thursday October 27, 2005 @12:40PM (#13889809) Journal
    There has been a lot of devolution going on in UK politics the past few years.
    Some of it great , like the devolution of parliamentary powers . Others not so great , such as the New labour AKA: Old conservatives.

    This type of censorship is totally unacceptable , we have a ratings system which is complied to by retailers , giving it an 18 rating is more than sufficient .
    Devolution of public freedom ,many steps were made during the 70's and 80s to loosen up the censorship in the UK . Are we now taking another step backwards, if this comes to pass then I would say yes.
  • One politician raised the point that the game should be referred to the BBFC for classification. This is quite normal (though not usually mentioned in Parliament).
    Commons leader Geoff Hoon said something along the lines of 'that decision should be made when the content of the game becomes more clear'.
    Doesn't look like there will be much chance of it being banned.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4380020.stm [bbc.co.uk]
  • Rockstar games probably have low marketting costs because the people who are trying to shut them down are the best marketting team a company can hope to have.

    If parents did their jobs and followed the game rating systems that are being spoon fed to them then there would be no problems anywhere.

  • The Jerking of Knees (Score:4, Informative)

    by Thedalek (473015) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @12:46PM (#13889875)
    Every time Bully comes up, there's always the instant response of "Oh, that's horrible! A game where you bully kids?!"

    So many people seem to be missing the point that this game is about pulling pranks on bullies, not kicking Mortimer Snerd's butt and taking his lunch money. The idea is supposed to be that you get picked on, then you start fighting back on behalf of the little guys.
    • by Seumas (6865) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @02:36PM (#13890887)
      It's interesting how parents are more concerned with a game that involves bullies than they are with actual bullies. While things are changing, bullying is still considered a "right of passage" for victims (even though it compounds to the extent that many of these victims just drop out of school because they can't focus on education and surviving every day and nobody will take them seriously or extend a hand) and "boys will be boys" for the bullies.

      I excelled in three sports simultaneously (wrestling starting at five, judo starting at eight and jujitsu starting at ten), and was always too much of a softy to ever bully anyone, but you did see it going on often. And while people like myself could step in whenever we saw someone being mistreated, you couldn't be there all the time and if someone steps in to prevent an act of bullying today, that bully is just going to come down twice as hard on the victim when nobody is around, tomorrow.

      So, frankly, I'm glad to see that bullying is slowly being treated more like the crime it is than just "children being children". School is for educaiton - not abuse. Period. But I'm disapointed that more people are more upset over an innocent game than the actual bullying itself. And what - are they going to start claiming that Rockstar is responsible for encouraging and teaching children to e bullies? After all, it's not like bullying has been going on for oh.... at least a few millenia.
      • i was a small fry, but quick, i started protecting people in school from bullies... ie: i started beating on the bullies. not th ebest method. but it did seem to change the bullies. never got in trouble. never got caught. dont nessisarily feel good. but let me kind of turn the tides. Bullies should be taken care of more often by the schools though.
        • by Seumas (6865)
          In my experience, the person who does the most damage gets the punishment. If a bully picked on a kid, the bully would usually not get in trouble, because nobody would tell. If someone stepped in and kicked the bully's ass (which I did a lot, because even kids much older than myself weren't aware of my outside-of-school sports), the person who beat up the bully would get suspended or otherwise punish.

          I also knew kids who would be picked on bullies and, finally, fight back. But the teachers always came into
          • I also knew kids who would be picked on bullies and, finally, fight back. But the teachers always came into the mix after the bully had already started the fight, the other kid had kicked his ass, and the kid who was the victim of the bully got the suspension and punishment.

            That was so me. It only happened once though, because real bullies are smart enough to stop before you become enraged. A faux bully kept harassing me and eventually I kicked the shit out of him, and got expelled from school. AFAIK

            • the easiest way to quick finish a fight (is to well. know how) is know a few mean things that in themselves are dirty.

              one i learned to like was when they would get close in of my face (they liked to do that for some reason) was to hed but them only decently hard. it generally really threw them off balance and off guard. since they were the one "intimidating you" then they would generally be quiet and leave. orr... a bigger fight would enseu... my school had a rule about punching... if you didn't punch th
      • Depends on what you mean by "bullying." If you're referring to verbal abuse, pranks, and mild physical conflict (flicking someone's ears, for example), then I would say that yes, bullying is a rite of passage. After all, a lot of things happen out in the real world that could be considered very similar to this form of bullying, and you have to be able to cope with it.

        If you're talking about deliberately causing bodily harm, that's not bullying; that's assault.

        Rob
      • by Xarius (691264)
        1. It's 'rite', not 'right'. Important difference. </pedant>

        2. Bullying is increasingly getting worse as a direct result of powers of discipline being removed from schoolteachers and the like. We're in a society where kids cannot get shouted at school, cannot get a good thrashing from their parents, and can basically do what they want.

        I don't know how it works elsewhere, but in my school bullies were sneered at by all of us popular kids (gasp, a slashdotter was popular) and generally looked down upon.
  • Bully? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Council (514577) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `eornumr'> on Thursday October 27, 2005 @12:47PM (#13889880) Homepage
    From the article: "Do you share my concern at the decision of Rockstar to publish a new game called Bully? If you don't, I'll beat you up after gym class!"
  • Why are they releasing a game like this? Is it their bread and butter to make their own lives as difficult as possible? How about the next game is one where you sit in a shack and send bombs via mail to unsuspecting institutions of higher learning? What about a game where you score points by mixing chemicals to produce the largest fireball? I mean, I'm all for gamer's rights, but at this point Rockstar is simply hurting the industry more than they're helping. Some things are best left untried.
    • Is it their bread and butter to make their own lives as difficult as possible? In a way, it is. They hardly have to advertise their games, because some Bible-thumpin' bloke who knows what's best for everybody will get the word out for them. The trouble they get from these people is probably greatly outweighed by the benefit of the extra press. (They say any press is good press.) Besides, it's their trademark or brand recognition or whatever. The same way you can look at animation and say "gratuitous music
    • How about a game where you actually find out what exactly the premise of a game is before you shoot off your mouth on /.?

      FYI - the game isn't about being a Bully, it's about someone who gets bullied and starts to fight back with pranks.

      The reason for Rockstar giving it this name is simple - it gets the ignorant talking (you) about it and spreading free publicity. In the end however it makes Rockstars opponents look like morons.

      • I never said the game was about being a bully; the gameplay you mention, which I had already read about prior to making my comment, is just as bad as the summary. My point is that they're releasing games that they know will cause an uprising of parents and Congresspeople, but they continue to do it. How many intelligent companies push the envelope farther and farther every time there's a threat to legislate against them? They're going to find themselves shut down by censorship; not all publicity is good pub
        • Somebody has to. the world isn't perfect, no matter how mcuh people want to believe that it is, and just becaose YOU don't like something harmless dosen't mean that everyone else can't enjoy it either. I don't own a Rockstar game, nor ahve I played more than a half hour of one, but I appreciate them for making content that I don't have to lok at if I don't want to, but a few lound-mouths don't want made. This way, the next time someone I DO happen to like is questions, I might get a chance to enjoy it. See
    • "Is it their bread and butter to make their own lives as difficult as possible?"

      They just released a game about one of the worst movies in the 70's (The Warriors). If that's not difficult, I don't know what is.
      • They just released a game about one of the worst movies in the 70's (The Warriors). If that's not difficult, I don't know what is.

        Can't you Dig it!?!?!??

        Spike TV played The Warriors in anticipation of the game 2 weekends ago. It really is a good, nostalgic movie. While video game to movie conversions might be a step below the opposite(ie the doom movie), The Warriors as a video game just minght work.
        • Oh, I can dig it. My old startup sound on my 486 was the "Warriors, come out to plaaaaaaay." line by that guy who looks like Horscheck from Welcome Back Kotter. I like the movie. That doesn't change how pitiful a movie it is.
  • Does the UK have a similar basic right analogous to the US 1st amendment? If so, I'd think that banning the game would be both wrong and against the intent of the law, but providing that it is not sold to minors would probably still be legal.

    I personally find the game ridiculous and tasteless, but in the US at least, I'd still fight for Rockstar's right to be able to publish it (and for stores to have to decide whether they wish to carry it).

    My caveat is that while the concept of the "Bully" game strikes a
    • We've got the basic human right of Freedom of Speech.

      That's about it as far as I know (I could be wrong). We don't actually have a constitution as such. What we do have is a large number of acts and laws which have been build up over the centuries. Constitution of the United Kingdom [wikipedia.org] One is the Human Rights Act (see above). I'm not sure if it's also covered in any of the acts though.
    • We have always had a tradtion of freedom of speech. Now it's actually part of the law under the Human Rights act. The government could always, potentially, abridge this right, but any bill that is not extremely specific will not get through. Our government - even the unelected house of lords - tends to be very wary about violating freedom of speech.
  • Given that someone was killed by someone who played Manhunt, I suppose people would point fingers to anything that Rockstar makes, including this game. Unfortunately, I predict this game will be used as a scapegoat for bullying soon after its release. However, a ban isn't going to work. Sure, you'll try to prevent the children from getting the game, but there will be other ways to acquire it, legally or illegally. If the game is a success in other areas but banned in the UK, then no doubt people will tr
  • Shouldn't the British Government be less worried about a game setting a bad example, than by their own bullying of Iraqis twisting the minds of a generation?

    I completely fail to understand how one video game will have a greater effect on a child than images of their own country triumphantly wreaking havoc during a war?

    Kids thinking it's OK to hit other kids might be bad, but is kids thinking it's OK to bomb other countries any better?
  • Bully just seems to be a modern version of Skool Daze and Bak 2 Skool. Did them games get this much media coverage because they contained a school bully which you beat up and knock out with a slingshot?
  • ...but the comments there are pretty loaded.

    "Do you share my concern at the decision of Rockstar to publish a new game called Bully in which players use their on-screen persona to kick and punch other schoolchildren?"

    I'm sorry, but other schoolchildren? The players themselves will, by and large, be adults - not schoolchildren themselves. Sure, sure, we can all argue "but that's not what they meant - 'other' here refers to the in-game persona", but that sort of sneaky rhetoric doesn't fly with me. It's
  • Apparently, the British have their own version of Jack Thompson. Once again, let's make the game companies responsible for the failure of parents to moderate their children.
  • Perhaps they think the game is violating truth in advertising laws by classifying itself as excellent or splendid, as in "did a bully job of persuading the members", or expressing approval, as in "Bully for you!"
  • ...a new game called Bully in which players use their on-screen persona to kick and punch other schoolchildren?

    Coming soon, from Rockstar Games: Rapist.

    Whatever happened to the good old days when the most popular video games were mostly about taking on the persona of a hero, rescuing people or saving the world and such? Don't people want to be good guys any more?

    I guess I'm just a crotchety old gamer. :-P

  • In Katamari Damacy, you can go around kicking all your cousins. Even more fun, you can group them together Pied Piper style, then give them a group ass kicking. I guess it's time for that "M" rating.

    It's also a simulation of terrorism by rolling up innocent people into a ball, then hurtling them into space where they will likely be destroyed by a laser beam from the eyes of a giant humanoid alien.

  • the more they want to prevent us from playing the game the more we want to play it, it's human nature. like Seifeld said once "if woman covered their heads (instead of breasts) we would be going down the street to pick up the latest edition of Heads" it's human nature to want what we can't get.
  • I wouldn't have heard about this game were it not for the negative publicity from people who want it banned.
  • Goes out of its way to feel sensitive towards those who want to blow up the kids in the schools. Banning Piglet and piggy banks.

    What a screwed up sense of priorities. Worry about what the kids are exposed to only AFTER you worry about the kids getting blown up by a member of the religion of peace.

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