Rockstar under fire over bullying game

Written by Jason Cundall

August 10, 2005 | 11:29

Tags: #bully #grand-theft-auto #hot-coffee

Companies: #rockstar

Rockstar are no strangers to controversy. After Hot Coffee-Gate, and the subsequent re-classification of GTA:SA, you'd have thought they'd be after a quiet life for a while. But no. The subject matter of their new game, 'Bully' is coming under intense criticism from anti-bullying campaigners - even before the game has been released:

A computer game called Bully in which players apparently hurt other pupils in a school has been condemned by anti-bullying campaigners.

A screenshot from the game depicts one student kicking a classmate while another looks on.

The maker of Bully, Rockstar, has said it expects the game to have an adult certificate when released in October.

"This won't prevent younger family members from accessing it," said Liz Carnell, director of Bullying Online.

She added: "Bullying is not a suitable theme for a game. It diminishes the suffering of victims.

"And such games give the impression that these types of experiences are normal. We are very concerned that they have an effect on young people."

Ms Carnell said it was impossible to underestimate the effects of bullying, and that people suffer the effects well into adulthood.


More from the BBC here.

And so begins the next turn of the 'what's acceptable in a video game' debate (are you dizzy yet?)

Whilst you have to agree that bullying isn't pleasant, and the victims of bullying can be scared both physically and mentally for life, does that make it a taboo subject? Any more so than theft, murder, gun crime and drugs?

If so, does that mean that tea-time school dramas on TV will have to shy away from confronting the topic? What about kids books that contain bullying? As has been pointed out umpteen times in the past, where do you draw the line?

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