Sydney Morning Herald 19 April 2008
Australian parenting and education experts have savaged the release of a controversial new video game based on schoolyard bullying, which features animated blood and violence, sexual themes, crude language, and alcohol and tobacco use. Bully: Scholarship Edition, packaged in Britain as Canis Canem Edit, Latin for “dog eat dog” pits schoolchildren at a fictitious boarding school against one another in a violent struggle for control of the campus. Its maker, Rockstar Games, which produced the Grand Theft Auto series in which players steal cars and interact with prostitutes, describes its latest character as “Jimmy Hopkins, a teenager who’s been expelled from every school he’s ever attended”.
“As a mischievous schoolboy, you’ll stand up to bullies, get picked on by teachers, play pranks, win or lose the girl, and ultimately learn to navigate the obstacles of the worst school around, Bullworth Academy,” Rockstar’s website declares. “If Jimmy can survive the school year and outsmart his rivals, he could rule the school.”
…Parenting Australia chief executive Jane King described the game as “disturbing” and said it should never have been released. “It’s scary, it’s outrageous, it’s gross,” she said. “I do think the classification system needs to be reviewed. I would be very concerned if my 13-year-old son played a game like that. I think the message of solving violence with violence is extremely disturbing.” Ms King encouraged parents not to buy the game.