Bully approved for sale in Australia
Controversy inducing title 'Bully' was today approved for sale in Australia, following classification. The Rockstar title was awarded the moderate 'M' rating by the Australian Government Office of Film & Literature Classification (OFLC), designating it 'Recommended for mature audience' and 'moderate in impact'.
The notoriously strict government department has previously refused to classify other Rockstar titles (such as Grand Theft Auto III and Manhunt), suggesting that Bully doesn't feature the extreme content many protest groups allude to. The OFLC failed to award the game the highest rating of 'MA15+'.
Meanwhile the president of 'Working to Halt Online Abuse' organisation state-side, Jayne Hitchcock, said in a press release:
"Early indications are that the game can be construed as violent. At the very least, the clips and previews clearly present educators in a cynical, non-comical, position. What message does this send out to troubled kids? That teachers are not to be trusted? Educators already have their hands full trying to help children who are victims of bullies. They don’t need a game that tends to ridicule them in the eyes of students. How long will it be before we hear on the news about a victim of bullies who is inspired by the new game and retaliates using a baseball bat?"
"There is a tremendous probability that this new game will send out twisted messages, possibly even influence victims of bullying to resort to violence as a means of defence. Games can and do make impressions on young people, especially when they play the games over and over."
In New York protesters from the U.S. youth group 'The Peaceoholics' besieged publisher Take-Two's offices with signs comparing Rockstar to "felons".
One protester said that "We think its very irresponsible to be putting this game out", he continued "If you come from where I come from in [Washington] DC , where children get killed in schools and everything, and see people get picked up off the group with their brains in the street you know we are dealing with real issues where our children are trained to be animals."
Reuters has described explains the concept of Bully with: "The game's main character is 15-year-old Jimmy Hopkins, who must defend himself against school bullies at a fictional U.S. boarding school called Bullworth Academy, while dealing with characters ranging from nerds and jocks to authoritarian prefects."
"Weapons included baseball bats that break after several blows, stink bombs and bags of marbles that when strategically thrown will lay flat most pursuers."