Bully, also known as Canis Canem Edit, is a third person action-adventure video game released by Rockstar Vancouver for the PlayStation 2. The game was released as Bully: Scholarship Edition for the Xbox 360 and Wii. Bully: Scholarship was released by Rockstar Vancouver, with Mad Doc Software (now known as Rockstar New England), involved with the development.
Bully is a sandbox game, similar to the Grand Theft Auto series set in a school environment. The player takes control of Jimmy Hopkins. The game makes extensive use of minigames, which include school classes.
The game takes place at Bullworth Academy, a fictional independent boarding school in the New England area of the United States. The school is located in the also fictional town of Bullworth, which resembles Connecticut. A reference to the year being 1992-1995 as the setting can be seen in one of the various arcade machine minigames but school sports flags show the school as champions as recently as 1998-1999.
The story revolves around the adventures of fifteen year old protagonist Jimmy Hopkins from his arrival at Bullworth Academy. He subsequently takes on and beats the Bullies, Preppies, Greasers, Nerds, Jocks and Townies.
Early information released by Take-Two Interactive seemed to indicate that the player would be taking the role of a bully, and screenshots printed in showed the player-controlled antagonist administering a "swirlie" and throwing a punch at another student. The game uses an advanced Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas engine through Renderware. Rockstar Vancouver also decided to make every student in the school have a unique appearance and, within programming limitations, personality.
Criticisms are due to the adult nature of previous Rockstar games, in particular, the Hot Coffee Mod in GTA San Andreas. Groups such as Bullying Online and Peaceaholics have criticized the game for glorifying or trivialising school bullying. Most of these criticisms were voiced before the content of the game was available to the public. In 2006, ESRB gave Bully a rating of "T", the BBFC gave Canis Canem Edit a 15 rating and the New Zealand OFLC restricted it to persons 13 years of age and over. In 2007, Yahoo! Games listed it as one of the top ten controversial games of all time. Other criticisms include the ability for Jimmy to kiss girls and some boys, as well as the use of sexual themes in parts of the game.
Prior to both the ESRB's rating and the release of Bully, Jack Thompson filed a lawsuit attempting to have the game blocked from store shelves in Florida. Thompson declared the game a "nuisance" and "Columbine simulator". Thompson's petition asked for Wal-Mart and Take-Two Interactive to furnish him with an advance copy of Bully so he could have "an independent third party" play the game and determine if it would constitute a public nuisance in the state of Florida. Judge Ronald Friedman ordered Take-Two and Rockstar to provide the court with a copy of the game within 24 hours. Two days later Friedman subsequently ruled in favour of shipping the game, noting that there was no content in the game that was not already on late night TV. Similar attempts to have the game banned have also been made by the charity Bullying Online and Labour Party M.P Keith Vaz in the UK.
Bully: Scholarship Edition
Bully: Scholarship Edition was released for the Xbox 360 and Wii video game consoles. The game features exclusive content which was unavailable in the PlayStation 2 version, including eight new missions, additional characters and four new school classes. Single system 2-player competitive multiplayer minigames have also been added, along with Achievements for the Xbox 360 version and Wii Remote motion and pointer controls for the Wii version. The Xbox 360 version also uses a new propriety game engine by developers Mad Doc Software. Bully: Scholarship Edition was released in the PAL region under the original Bully title, and not Canis Canem Edit, as the original game was renamed.
- GTA IV
- Jimmy Hopkins, the protagonist of Bully, can be found walking outside the Hove Beach railway station and is rumoured to appear in the mission Blow Your Cover for Elizabeta Torres, dancing in the background.
- On the television show I'm Rich a blonde girl describes her life and explains how she went to Bullworth Academy.
- Bully Wikia
- Official Bully Homepage
- Official Canis Canem Edit Homepage
- Wikipedia article
- BBC News article about the controversy
- Youth Council of Ireland wants boycott of “shocking" game