A New video game called "Bully: Scholarship Edition" was released Mar 4, 2008 on the Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360. This it the latest incarnation of the Bully series by Rockstar Games. The main character in the game "Jimmy Hopkins" comes from a unstable home and has just recently been dumped at the fictional prep school "Bullworth".
Nintendo describes the game: "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 - a corrupt and crumbling prep school with an uptight facade."
Sounds very exciting doesn't it? Reminds you of another socially positive game by the same manufacturer called "Grand Theft Auto", where you run rampant in a city working for pimps, doing drug deals, stealing cars and causing general mayhem.
This software seems to try and hide the fact the main character becomes a glorified bully to so called "stop" the bullies in a fictional educational institution that is the cause for most of the problems. The game is jam packed with sexual content, stereotyping, degradation of other students and revenge. The game has acquired top ranks from reviewers such as 1up.com and GameSpot.com. Sounds like the perfect gift for any child, doesn't it?
The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) has given the game a rating of (T). The problem with this rating is twofold. First most parents don't usually pay much attention to these labels or they don't know what they mean. Secondly the kids want the game even more when it has a rating like this or higher.
There have been crusades launched against this program and those like it from individuals such as Jack Thompson (attorney) but in the end the game ends up earning more and more publicity.
This is where we come in. We have to spread awareness so parents are aware of the content of games such as these and they do glorify negative behavior and spread a negativity to towards other students. It is unfortunate with all the potential the Nintendo Wii has shown to Redefine Family Game Night with baseball, bowling, tennis and of course Mario they can regress with games such as Bully which only incite negativity and exploitation.
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