Bully controversy kicks off AGAIN

Despite the fact it's already been sitting on the shelves for over a year on PS2, another ruckus is being kicked off over Rockstar's Bully, reignited thanks to the upcoming release of Xbox 360 and Wii versions of the game.

UK publication Daily Telegraph describes the new Scholarship Edition, as an "even more realistic" take on the 2006 original, which "encourages players to act out assaults on pupils and teachers." Beating a dead horse much?

The game's also sparked additional rows by changing its name from Canis Canem Edit back to Bully, which in itself is enough to get readers all riled up.

Niall Cowley, of the charity BeatBullying, said: "We're disappointed this game was created in the first place. Some mindless people thought this was a fun, interesting piece of software to create, but it undermines all the hard work that organisations like ours are seeking to do."

Cowley said that when the original was launched last year, Rockstar tried to persuade his group to back Canis by offering a donation. "It was the most distasteful thing in the world - the idea that we could be bought off like that," he said.

"We have the interests of the children of this country in our mind, not of the shareholders of this company."

In the UK, PC World and Currys have already refused to stock the Xbox 360 and Wii updates, as they did with the PS2 original. The National Union of Teachers meanwhile has called for a wider ban on the game.

In a statement, a Rockstar spokesperson said: "It is a comedic romp. The last game sold fabulously in the UK and was critically acclaimed.

"It is not a game about playing a bully. It is about the trials and tribulations of a boy in his first year at school. He protects children against other characters. People have to be able to make their own decisions and to judge for themselves, with an open mind."

Is it really worth wasting our words over this anymore? Anyone who's actually played the game will realise it's a tongue-in-cheek action game which mostly has you protecting people from bullies rather than picking on pip-squeaks at random.

It's one of Rockstar's better games in recent times, so we definitely recommend a look when it arrives in the UK this March.

Courtesy of CVG.

Jan 22, 2008