Category Archives: Video games

Second look at Bully, the video game

by Dmitri Barvinok
Staff writer

Bully, a video game produced by Rockstar Games, was first greeted by panic and protest by many organizations. Jack Thompson, an infamous anti-video game activist, went as far as to compare the game to Columbine. Bully made both the Yahoo! list of Top 10 controversial games, and PlayStation Magazine’s Top 10 Games of 2006. Lawsuits were filed in order to prevent the sale of the game.

Two years after the original game went on sale, an extended version titled Bully: Scholarship Edition was released, and this time around, it was greeted with praise, not subpoenas.

The game follows the story of Jimmy Hopkins, a boy from a family with a re-marrying mother and an absent father, who ends up at Bullworth Academy, a no-nonsense private school teeming with bullies in every corner.

Daniel Moon picked the game up after it went on sale. He doesn’t believe it warranted the controversial press that accompanied its release. You are not required to be a bully in the game, he said, it’s a choice for the player to make.

“[However], the content in the game does require violence,” he added, “because, well, it’s a Rockstar game.”

Korea suspects online gaming, bullying link

The South Korean government is considering further restrictions against online gaming because of a belief that gaming encourages bullying.

MSNBC reports that the “Cooling Off” law would shut down games played by people under 16 after two hours of play.

Gamers would be able to log in one more time during that 24-hour period, but only after 10 minutes of rest.

This proposed law, and a law passed in November that forbids online gaming by children under 16 from midnight to 6 a.m., are “to prevent school bullying and suicides,” MSNBC reports.

Bullies in video games: griefers

By Dmitri Barvinok
Staff writer

Andrew, 16 and in 10th grade, plays Minecraft at least an hour every day, usually after school. He spends his time building virtual castles and complex machinery in a game that combines the creative power of building blocks and the role-playing element of a video game. Most of the time, he and his friends play on servers where they are protected from griefers.

A griefer is a bully in the world of online games. Griefers don’t play by the rules and attempt to cause as much distress and discomfort for other players as possible.

In Minecraft, griefers go after the creations of other players.

“I’ve seen seven hours of work get completely destroyed,” Andrew said.

Though many servers have griefer protections in place, those protections sometimes get in the way of regular players, Andrew said. Sometimes, playing against a griefer can be fun, since it becomes a competition and the game suddenly has a villain. Other times, griefers trick their way into becoming administrators of a server and destroying everything the players have built, which could waste weeks of work.

Andrew admits to having griefed himself. It can be fun, he said.