The public outcry over the recent release of Rockstar’s Bully: Scholarship Edition has largely been confined to Canada.
The Syndey Morning Herald reports that Australian educators and parent groups are giving Bully a bit of a wedgie. Jane King, head of Parenting Australia, is a Bully critic:
It’s scary, it’s outrageous, it’s gross. I do think the [game content] 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.
Jane Roberts, president of Young Media Australia, also voiced concerns:
I’m not sure about what the developers of this game don’t get. We have had major efforts right across Australia in schools trying to get the message across that violence doesn’t solve anything. For people who have been the victim of bullying, there is nothing entertaining about it.
Australian Education Union head Angelo Gavrielatos added:
What we are concerned about is the continuing production and development of such games that glorify violence and bullying. There’s a point where the corporate world must take some responsibility to regulate these games. In a world where the issues of bullying and violence are a concern, the production of these games is not acceptable.
However, a spokesperson familiar with how Bully: Scholarship Edition was rated for the Australian market told the newspaper:
During the game the player is not encouraged to attack innocent bystanders or undertake acts of bullying and is not rewarded for doing so. The missions players undertake are generally about thwarting acts of bullying, exploitation or discrimination. If the player does bully another player out of context a punishment type bar increases and when full it causes the character to be apprehended by authority figures.