Bully is Brilliant
While many of my peers, acquaintances, work colleagues and others that I know in one way or another spend the holiday season with family, I chose to avoid that nonsense and worked my way through old video games that I own and for one reason or another never finished at all. I got through popular survival-horror adventure Outlast, worked my way through the brilliant trek that is Wasteland 2 and then moved on to Bully: Scholarship Edition. Essentially, GTA for children.
Released over a decade ago to positive reviews, the Rockstar Vancouver developed game tells the story of one Jimmy Hopkins, a Holden Caulfield type sent to a shitty prep school in New England by his new step father and “loose” mother before they take a year-long boat cruise. Whilst at the fabled Bullworth Academy, he fights other kids and brings down the “phonies”.
Had I played this thoroughly at the point when it was originally released, I must admit I probably would have found parts of the narrative absurd and strange. But, looking at it now and having seen how the problem of bullying in schools has grown exponentially, I can’t help but feel like the story of Jimmy, Gary, Petey, Russell and even Dr. Crabblesnitch is more relevant than ever.
It is believable that children at a supposedly fancy school could run an MMA style fight club like the Hole at Bullworth, because it’s actually happened in the real world. Last year, the Daily News in New York documented a high school in the Bronx where students were fighting each other and then posting videos to social media sites. When outed, one teen threatened the reporter who broke the story. He was promptly arrested and charged as an adult by police. Good god.
It is plausible that a student at a school would sneak into a lady’s dormitory, take unflattering pictures of someone without their consent and then give them to a third party to circulate around the community like Jimmy does with Mandy because we see this shit all the time. Too often some child has an embarrassing video or photo of themselves circulated online and too often they kill themselves as a result of the humiliation. Though that doesn’t happen to Mandy in the game, you have to admit that Rockstar was eerily on the forefront of this issue, to an extent.
So please Rockstar, when you’re done with promoting the upcoming Red Dead Redemption Two and you’ve decided to bring the free updates to GTA: Online to an end, go back and revisit a charming delinquent we last saw in a mid-sized town in New England. I’d love to see what Jimmy would be like in college and a satirization of the mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging, racist frathole morons I far too often find myself near and disgusted by is desperately needed.
Lord knows you’d have plenty of material to work with. Let’s be honest, those people are the absolute worst.