Hard to believe, but no less a personage than British Prime Minister Tony Blair has been pulled into the Bully controversy.
Yesterday in Parliament, Labour MP Keith Vaz, a longtime critic of video game violence, put this question to Blair:
“Last Thursday, the British Board of Film Classification gave a 15 certificate to a video game formerly called “Bully”. The game contains scenes of violence, including scenes of players terrorising teachers and students, teachers being head-butted and the aggressive use of baseball bats. Currys has banned it. Given the link between video games and a propensity to encourage violence that some research has demonstrated, will the Prime Minister convene a meeting of stakeholders—including representatives of the industry and parents’ groups—to discuss the issue? Does he accept that this is not about adult censorship, but about protecting our children?
“First, let me praise my right honorable Friend for his work in raising awareness of the issue. I have not seen the game myself, but I know that both my honorable Friend the Minister responsible for creative industries (Shaun Woodward), and my honorable Friend who is responsible for the video industry, would be happy to meet my right honorable Friend (Vaz) to discuss the issue. It is obviously important, and I know that there is a lot of concern about it.”
“I think it can be said that the video games industry, or at least a substantial section of it, has made significant advances over the past few years, but as my right honorable Friend says, it is important for that progress to be maintained.”