Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Bully bother

Sorry things have been a bit quiet lately, been busy and haven't had the time to post! Spent Saturday evening on the Ubuntu Forums. Managed to resolve a few queries, which felt good! I know I already help people with Ubuntu by running Easierbuntu, but it's nice to know I can help newbies in other ways as well!

I noticed today this article on BoingBoing about the game Bully (known here in the UK as Canis Canem Edit), made by Rockstar Vancouver. Apparently the Canadian Teachers' Federation's head has called for the XBox 360 and Wii version to be banned. Now, a Ubisoft designer is offering to buy Emily Noble, head of the CTF, an XBox 360 or Wii and a copy of the game if she commits to entering a critical discussion of the game's merits.

Now, I am an avid fan of the PlayStation2 version of this game, and not just because it's a great game. Contrary to the name, the idea of the game is most certainly not to be a bully. It's to survive the bullies, and beat them. The main character, Jimmy Hopkins, actually says early in the game that "I only give people what's coming to them", and the game sticks rigidly to this. Not once does Jimmy pick a fight without justification, unless you start doing so, and then there are consequences (hit a girl or a small child, for instance, and the prefects will be down on you like a ton of bricks).

I myself had something of a bad time at school, but I really enjoyed Canis Canem Edit. To a certain extent, it's quite therapeutic! When one of the jocks picks a fight with you, it's possible to beat them up and bogwash them (swirlie to our US cousins). And I certainly imagine there's more than one school-age child who has been able to vicariously get revenge on school bullies in general through this game.

The fact is, people forget very quickly just what a truly horrible experience school is for many children or teenagers, and romanticise it. Now, at 29, I am a lot happier and more sure of myself than I ever was in my teens, mainly because I don't have to go to school with a bunch of obnoxious shits. Most of the people who were top of the heap at school wind up doing crap jobs in factories with 5 kids before they are 30.

So Canis Canem Edit is in many ways an accurate portrayal of school life as being a struggle. For that reason, I suggest the members of the CTF play the game properly, and then reconsider their opinions of it.

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