wii have a problem

You’re not going to take it anymore. From edgy publisher Rockstar’s Vancouver development team comes this dark comedy set in the most vile and sadistic setting yet in a Rockstar videogame: the schoolyard. As a troublesome schoolboy, you’ll laugh and cringe as you stand up to bullies, get picked on by teachers, play pranks on malicious kids, win or lose the girl, and ultimately learn to navigate the obstacles of the fictitious reform school, Bullworth Academy. [IGN.com]

I’ve seen a couple articles in the paper this week about a new video game called Bully: Scolarship Edition. A follow up to a previous PS2 title, this game promises that, as “mischevious schoolboy [Jimmy Hopkins], you’ll stand up to bullies, get picked on by teachers, play pranks, win or lose the girl, and ultimately learn to navigate the obstacles of the worst school around, Bullworth Academy, a corrupt and crumbling prep school with an uptight facade.” In ads for the game, “Hopkins and a female student cheerleader discuss nude photos, he shoots a fire extinguisher down a school hallway, and he tells his new stepfather “you’re fat, and bald.” Developed by Rockstar Games of GTA fame, this game is rated T for teen, meaning anyone over the age of 13 can go to their local gaming store and pick it up, no questions asked.

Not surprisingly, there is a movement across Canada to have this game banned.

I have owned one video game console or another for about 20 years now. While most of my gaming has come in the form of sports games, I have certainly spent some hours playing GTA and other similar games. In considering the effect that these games have had on me, I can confidently say that I have had no stronger desire to be a purse snatching car thief than I have had to be a dragon slaying plumber. Video games have, in my own experience, done little in terms of shaping my reality and rather have provided an escape from it. You can debate whether or not that’s a wise way to spend your time, but trust me, video games are here to stay, widely outgrossing Hollywood movies each year.

Having said that, I firmly believe that the content of any game [and CD, book, magazine or movie, for that matter] affects us in ways that the context in which we are raised / living allows them to. What I mean by that is this. For myself, as a kid, I was taught right from wrong, how to make wise choices, and how to discern what is real and beneficial to my life and well being. Sure, I made poor choices along the way, but I always knew that I was loved. Without that, it can be possible for one to get lost in these increasingly blurry lines between reality and fantasy. I’m not saying that anything goes in terms of video games; surely there are some out there that need not ever have been made, and this is certainly one of them. However, I think we need to be careful in blaming video games for unfortunate incidents and societal ills, placing more responsibility on parents in shaping the minds of today’s youth.

As for me, I’m pretty content with my Guitar Hero, thank you very much.

Question: If Jimmy Hopkins is such a punk, how did he swing a scolarship in the first place?

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