Teachers Promote Sales Of Bullying Video Game

from the streisand-effect dept

In 2006, we covered the ridiculous campaign to censor Bully, a video game that anti-video game Jack Thompson started denouncing before he'd even had a chance to play it. Now some teachers' organizations are up in arms about the game's sequel, "Bully: Scholarship Edition." The teachers claim it promotes violence, but some anti-bullying advocates thought just the opposite about the original. Even assuming the teachers are right that the game glorifies bullying, the teachers' campaign still seems awfully counterproductive. There's no real evidence of a link between violent video games and real-world violence. American courts have repeatedly held that video games are protected by the First Amendment, so it's not like a ban would pass constitutional muster anyway, at least here in the states. But the biggest problem with the teachers' campaign is our friend the Streisand Effect: I bet a lot of our readers had never heard of "Bully: Scholarship Edition" until they read this post. I certainly hadn't before I started writing it. Getting singled out for condemnation by humorless teachers' organizations is the kind of publicity money simply cannot buy. The teachers' efforts are going to give the game more buzz than it would have gotten otherwise, and that will cause a lot more people to hear about it, which will lead to more kids playing it. Personally, I think the vast majority of kids know the difference between playing a game and bullying people in real life, so that doesn't worry me too much. But if the teachers' theory about the link between video games and real-world behavior is correct, their own campaign is likely contributing to the problem by making the game more popular.


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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2008 @ 4:51am

    yes...video games influenced my life.

    i now find myself running around in a blue jumpsuit trying to grab gold rings, or put on some plumber pants and a red had and eat mushrooms to get bigger, and flower to make me spit fireballs....

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger, Mar 7th, 2008 @ 5:13am

    I just got that yesterday

    I was just playing it last night. Got 190 achievement points out of it so far.

    The first thing in the game you do (Asides from beating up billies as a tutorial) is save the nerds. It condones proper behavior and rewards class participation. One of the mini games even helps with spelling and vocabulary (I suck at that part).

     

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    Xeigrich, Mar 7th, 2008 @ 5:16am

    First off, you're mistaken. "Bully: Scholarship Edition" is not a sequel, it is a PORT to Xbox 360 and Wii. It is exactly the same as the original game, only with a subtitle tacked on and a bit of "exclusive content" as an incentive to purchase the port version regardless of the original.

    Second, Bully isn't anything special. The only reason it stands out is because it is a game about KIDS in SCHOOL rather than some random criminal on the streets. Streisand Effect indeed, as more people hear about games like this, the more they (should) realize that they are virtually harmless in the hands of a normal, MENTALLY HEALTHY child. I'm glad to see teachers promoting video games of any kind.

    Third and finally, it is no coincidence that the more violent individuals also happen to be gamers. Gaming can be just as enjoyable alone as in a group, and the majority of psycho college shooters have either been complete loners who probably filled their social void with video games, or those with many friends, possibly who used video games as their only social interaction.

    Seriously, if video games really made you kill people, we would KNOW FOR SURE by now. There would be NO question about it.

    PS: I think teachers and people like Jack Thompson should spend their time stopping REAL WORLD VIOLENCE rather than using games as a scapegoat. Find the real sources and get rid of Hazing and Bullying and sadistic fraternity initiations and all that business before worrying about video games.

     

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      Casper, Mar 7th, 2008 @ 7:25am

      Re:

      Third and finally, it is no coincidence that the more violent individuals also happen to be gamers. Gaming can be just as enjoyable alone as in a group, and the majority of psycho college shooters have either been complete loners who probably filled their social void with video games, or those with many friends, possibly who used video games as their only social interaction.


      That is quite possibly the most ignorant statement I have read today. First of all the statement "it is no coincidence that the more violent individuals also happen to be gamers" is entirely false. Of all violent crimes committed, most are committed by people who have never even seen a game, but rather generic criminal elements. Further, to assume that because many school shootings are perpetrated by people who have played video games is absurd. Based on the statistics of the number of people attending a school that play video games regularly, it would be as if I were to liken coffee drinking to a school shooting... one does not correlate to the other.

       

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        Jim, Mar 7th, 2008 @ 8:10am

        Re: Re:

        Actually... that would mean there is a correlation. What you meant to say is that it doesn't prove causality.

        Why God? Why am I unable to stop myself from pointing out semantic/grammar errors in comments?

         

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        Fushta, Mar 7th, 2008 @ 8:30am

        Re: Re:

        I completely agree, Casper. A very uninformed opinion, if I've ever heard one.

        Charles Manson, Adolph Hitler, Name-Your-Famous-Violent-Person, etc never played video games. They just got the Silly-String gene and would've been violent regardless of their surroundings.

        Violence is a social deviation and no video game is going to influence that, one way or the other.

         

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        Josh, Mar 27th, 2010 @ 2:50am

        Re; Casper

        I think that's what he was getting at, Casper - in short he was saying that even if violent people tend to play violent games, a violent game doesn't make a violent person - this is absolutely true.
        Any assertion of the contrary would be what I deem ignorant. Like this Jack Thompson or whatever his name is. Jack Thompson probably -didn't- get to play any games as a child (violent or otherwise), on account of him being a loser with no friends =] Now, in his adult life, he's trying to ruin games for contemporary kids too..

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2008 @ 5:21am

    The best way to prepare for a situation is to run through simulations of it. So I can see why teachers would promote this game.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2008 @ 5:42am

      Re:

      If you read the article you would see that the teachers aren't promoting the game, they are condemning it, and by bringing the game to light they are making people aware of it and inadvertently promoting it.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2008 @ 5:51am

    Since violence in games promotes violence in real life, does comedy in games promote comedy in real life?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2008 @ 6:05am

    A fairly interesting twist to this story is that Bully: Scholarship Edition is almost unplayable on the 360 due to framerate errors and other assorted graphics glitches. The exclusive content doesn't really make up for the poor port. Thus many children will play it for the first time only to realize that it was overhyped by their teachers.

     

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      Chronno S. Trigger, Mar 7th, 2008 @ 7:27am

      Re:

      Hi, Sony fan boy. I was wondering when you would get here.

      Bully was originally supposed to be a 360 exclusive title. If there are graphical issues (I have seen none) than it's because it was ported from the 360 to the PS2 and then back again from the PS2 to the 360.

      To Sopor42: That was the quote I was looking for. It's the first thing I thought when I read this.

       

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    KB, Mar 7th, 2008 @ 6:54am

    Games

    I've never understood the violent video games personally. I like gaming but I've always been more of a sports-game fan. Beat-em-up games never appealed to me. The fundamental issue that all these anti-game people seem to be missing though is that kids don't play games to play out dark fantasies or to practice on a computer what they intend to do in real life. Even if this game does glorify violence the kids (and adults) that play it will be doing so to BEAT THE GAME. It's all about the accomplishment of finishing the thing. Same as Super Mario Galaxy on the Wii (which let's face it, is pretty violent in cartoon-violence ways!), Tomb Raider of old, Doom, FIFA 08, Halo, take your pick. It's about getting to that last screen and beating the game then going to mates and bragging about being the first one to do it.

    Now I have no fancy numbers of college degree to back up my theory, but I'd be willing to bet it's accurate in 5% of cases. And the other 55? Well they were probably unbalanced little psychos before hand! Remember folks, there were idiots and violent kids long before computers became a popular form of entertainment.

     

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    Sopor42, Mar 7th, 2008 @ 7:04am

    AC #1 is right, video games didn't affect us...

    "if video games affected us as kids, we'd all be running around in darkened rooms, munching magic pills and listening to repetitive electronic music..."

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2008 @ 10:02am

    Anyone remember the classic spitwad game where you were trying to shoot the teacher in the back of the head? I can't recall how often I played that game, but it never transferred to me every trying to really shoot a spitwad at a teacher.

     

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    Ex R*, Mar 7th, 2008 @ 10:27am

    "Bully was originally supposed to be a 360 exclusive title. If there are graphical issues (I have seen none) than it's because it was ported from the 360 to the PS2 and then back again from the PS2 to the 360."

    I don't know where you got that information from, but it's completely untrue. I worked on the this game, and it was not only developed as a PS2 title from the beginning, but it was in production long before the 360 existed.
    It runs on a modified version of the GTA 3 engine, which was also written for PS2.

     

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      Jeremy, Mar 8th, 2008 @ 11:26pm

      Re:

      We got bully 3 days ago. Its a fun game but it freezes alot and it has bad frame rates on some of the screens. The mini games are way too short and the missions are too easy. I dont think its worth $50

       

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    Streisand Effect, Mar 7th, 2008 @ 12:31pm

    Funny how you always talk about the Streisand Effect as though it is one sided. I don't agree with the teachers, but those who would agree, and read you article, will now be able to find the people in favor of trying to ban the game.

     

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