Bully game ‘danger’ to children

March 7, 2008 at 12:30 pm 2 comments

A “Bully” computer game sends out the wrong signals and should be withdrawn from sale, say UK teachers.

Bully screenshot

Campaigners claim the game glorifies bullying

They are part of a global coalition concerned about the impact of the game, which has been released in new formats.

Bully: Scholarship Edition “trivialises and glorifies bullying in school”, say opponents from eight international teacher groups.

UK retailers say they will not act as censors and will continue to sell the game to children over the age of 15.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association (SCTA) are part of an international group which thinks the game could encourage bullying.

Although it carries a British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) 15 rating, campaigners fear Bully could get into the hands of much younger children.

The idea of a game that rewards bullies and those who engage in brutal and savage attacks is irresponsible in the extreme
Steve Sinnott, general secretary, NUT

The game, designed by US-based Rockstar Games and which goes on sale in the UK on 7 March, was originally launched in 2006 but has been updated for the new generation of games’ consoles – Xbox and Wii.

Author: BBC News, Education, 6th March 2008

Full article available here.

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Entry filed under: Games, Social Impact, Trends. Tags: , , , , , .

Big Basket of Stuff #2 The technology of teaching

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Steve Martinez  |  March 7, 2008 at 9:55 pm

    The level of ignorance that this news story was created with is incredibly disappointing. The sad truth is I’m not surprised anymore. The Luddite sentiment opined by finger-waggling technophobes derails itself with its utter lack of in-depth investigation or research. Although I have no idea if Mr. Sinnott or his compatriots have actually played Bully:SE (or the previous Bully A.K.A. Canis Canem Edit), their ignorance towards a game that actually pits you as the force opposing school bullies answers that question for me.

    Did Mr. Sinnott mention that Bully: SE rewards nonviolent conflict resolution? Your character also attends class with rewards based on your performance.

    Rockstar has a reputation when it comes to the games they release. Although I’m not a stalwart fan of their titles, I appreciate that they’re willing to push the envelope of what we deem acceptable. Art doesn’t thrive within well-established boundaries. And yes, games are a form of interactive art. Not all games are good art, just like drawing a stick figure of the Mona Lisa doesn’t make me the next Da Vinci. However, there’s a large amount of leeway when you account for artistic taste and preference.

    Is it so strange to think that Rockstar called the game “Bully” to promote publicity as a form of free marketing, knowing many would simply judge it from the title?

    This makes sense when you realize the original Bully met opposition in the UK until it was released under the title Canis Canem Edit, even though the gameplay was unchanged.

    Please don’t let this become another Fox report on Mass Effect. If this is something you feel strongly about, rent the game and play it before you invest man-hours and resources that could be better applied educating or supplying our children.

    Also, the ignorance in which you lambast something without thoroughly understanding it, combined with your position as the head of the National Union of Teachers, creates a level of irony that I wasn’t prepared to encounter today. That chilling realization accounts for the longevity of this post.

    P.S. I posted here because I wasn’t able to find Mr. Sinnott’s email address or an email contact on the NUT website. If anyone has it please let me know.

    Reply
  • 2. Alexandra Matthews  |  March 8, 2008 at 10:10 am

    I completely agree with you. A lot of press releases relating to commercial games tend to base their criticisms on surface aesthetics instead of the core objectives of the gameplay and its game mechanics. Without actually playing the games themselves how can they expect to write plausible reviews?

    BBC News have a vast number of readers and those readers who have not played the game may not question the article’s contents.

    The traditional negative generalisation of computer games is no longer relevant with the games of today, and it is about time these views are eradicated by informing and educating the public about the true impacts of computer game play. This is one of my main reasons for creating this blog and I thank you for your contribution.

    I have just posted up an article called ‘Bullying Games’ written by Daniel Livingstone who also has strong views on the BBC criticisms.

    Reply

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About

The purpose of this blog is to provide insight into the impact of computer games and pop culture, and effective ways of incorporating the positive surplus into learning experiences.

Please feel free to add comments and email me with any queries. I am also interested in relevant project collaboration.

Name: Alexandra Matthews
Location: UK

Email: info@gamingandlearning.co.uk / alex@gamingandlearning.co.uk

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