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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Bully video game - thanks, Vancouver

This is the best a Vancouver company can produce?

The company that makes the popular and controversial Grand Theft Auto series of video games is letting players of its latest release try their hand at schoolyard bullying.

Talk about being an irresponsible corporate citizen. The press release, written by an obviously clever spin doctor, describes this disgusting video game as brutally funny and tongue-in-cheek, among other disclaimers from corporate and moral responsibility.

On its website, Bully publisher Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. describes the game released Tuesday as "outrageously funny." ... Point-scoring activities include beating up and humiliating other students, setting off fire alarms and striking teachers.

Yeah, I can just see Baba and Gido rolling on the floor over such cute and adorable antics.

A U.S. judge on Friday rejected a bid by a prominent detractor of video games to have Bully banned in Florida ... "There's a lot of violence" [the judge said] after seeing the game played. "[But] less than we see on television every night."

Oh well, that makes it ok then. But didn't someone once say that "evil happens when good men (and women) do nothing"? Heaven knows, you can't expect anything from those of questionable character.

The game, available only for Sony's PlayStation 2 console, is produced by Take-Two's Rockstar Vancouver studio. Spokespeople for Take-Two and Rockstar did not immediately return calls for comment.

A spokesman for Sony Computer Entertainment Canada declined to discuss Bully [and] Canadian representatives of video game retailer EB Games declined to comment ... instead referring the question to the U.S. parent company GameStop Corp. of Grapevine, Texas. GameStop spokespeople did not immediately return calls for comment.

i imagine these spokesmen would consider them nuisance calls and not worth their time.

Take-Two also publishes Rockstar Games' popular Grand Theft Auto (GTA) series, which depicts life in crime-ridden, decaying urban centres. The franchise has drawn criticism from some quarters for allegedly glamorizing criminal activity, but its defenders point out that "sandbox" style games such as GTA that leave players free to interact with the game world in any manner they choose also mean they can play peacefully if they wish.

Yeah, right. As we all know, kids always choose broccoli and carrots over teeth-rotting candy, so they would naturally pass on the latest attractively packaged and aggressively marketed new toy.

Makes me real proud to be a resident of Greater Vancouver (she said extremely sarcastically).


Anonymous said...

And we wonder why there is violence and bullying in schools and so on. Some would say it's just all part freedom of expression and speach of the free society we live in. We are as such 'blessed' to live in a 'free society' but it seems to me that such freedom involves RESPONSIBILTY. The laws of land can only regulate things like this so much - people need to do their part too. Hopefully parents will keep these kinds of violent games from their children and hopefully the rest of the populace will likewise simply not buy this nasty stuff and thus send a clear message to the manufacturers and promoters. As for Vancouver - well it looks like it's not too much different than any other big city obsessed with business and money, never mind the actual outcome of things on the human level, especially as regards our young people.

Pawlina said...

Yes, the concept of "responsibility" seems to be left out of the equation by proponents of "freedom of speech."

I guess it's a contemproary revisitation of the ancient "am I my brother's keeper?" question.

As the French say, "Come ca change, c'est le meme chose" ...

sorpaqq said...

I would urge everyone who thinks this game is about causing bullying to actually play the game and you will find out it is actually all about stopping bullying from happening and making the school a better place for everyone, and all the people who campaigned against this game in the name of anti bullying should be arrested for ignoring actual real world bullying problems and victims of bullying in favor of banning a game that was about anti bullying in the name of anti bullying.

Pawlina said...

Well I dunno. Let's not be a "pot calling the kettle black."

The notion of arresting people who suggest banning a video game they think is harmful to children (if not to society as a whole) is just a tad extreme.

Furthermore, it is utterly impossible to accurately judge whether or not another person is "ignoring" a problem.

No one knows the full extent of what someone was or was not doing to address a problem... or how long it would take before it was made public.

Here's an example.

You feel this game is benefical in combatting bullying. So would you have wanted, at some point before anything was known about it, for the creators of the game to be arrested for "ignoring" the problem ... just because you didn't know they were working on it?

Give your head a shake.

If the game is indeed pro-active and its intent is to fight bullying rather than glorify and/or trivialize it, then IMHO it is the responsibility of the company to be just as proactive in its marketing and come out and say so... including to the media when asked to comment.

However, whatever the intent, outcome and/or opinions of this game going to market, the fact that it brought more attention to the need to stop bullying is a good thing.

Whether via a video game or more traditional methods, how it's actually done is really of secondary importance. Just as long as it is.

sorpaqq said...

Well, let's just agree that the game was not nearly as bad as people thought, although it probably would have been a good thing if Rockstar had marketed the game like it actually was in the first place though it doesn't excuse the people that complained about the game based on no solid information whatsoever, I mean the first time I heard about this game my first thought was to logically wait and see what the game was like and I was very confused why other people weren't doing this.

Pawlina said...

Everyone is different and also people often make snap decisions and judgments based on a different perspective or incomplete information.

It may not be right to your way of thinking, but it’s nonetheless human nature.

If we can accept that about each other without being judgmental ourselves, we can go a long way towards preventing bullying ... just by setting a good example of extending tolerance and patience.

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