Teachers' Group Revives Bully Controversy

By Aaron Linde, Mar 04, 2008 12:38pm PST Controversy surrounding Rockstar's Bully (PS2) has been revitalized by today's release of Bully: Scholarship Edition (Wii, X360), the Globe and Mail reports.

The revamped port of Rockstar's open world action-adventure has prompted an international coalition of teachers to urge retailers not to sell the title based on a presumed focus on schoolyard bullying. The game faced similar criticism from Jack Thompson, teachers' organizations and several other groups at the time of its original release on the PS2 in 2006.

"We're asking retailers to be responsible," said president of the Canadian Teachers' Federation Emily Noble yesterday. "Yes, they can sell it and make a buck out of this, but is this the kind of marketing that they want to be [doing], selling games that glorify violence? What it does is it encourages kids to target other kids, to be a bully with other kids."

The story of Bully is focused on Jimmy Hopkins, a recent transferee who is subjected to an exaggerated, authoritarian school environment. Contrary to claims of the detractors, the aim of the title is to rid the school of bullies rather than perpetuate the practice.

"This young person being confronted with all that seeks the one remedy that he appears to have access to," noted McGill University assistant professor Michael Hoechsmann, an expert on violent games. "If there was a peaceful schools committee at the Bullworth Academy, maybe Jimmy would have joined the committee."

Bully: Scholarship Edition shipped to retailers today for both the Xbox 360 and the Wii. Your ever-friendly ShackStaff will have impressions of the both versions later this week, most likely on the ShackBlog.

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