Victimisation time for games firm

14th March 2008 at 00:00
It is the computer game whose title alone has enraged teaching unions around the world.

Bully was released in the UK in 2006 as Canis Canem Edit, but has relaunched in a "scholarship edition" under its original title. Players control Jimmy Hopkins, a tough teenager who has to defend himself and others against bullies.

It is created by Rockstar, a firm that achieved notoriety through its Grand Theft Auto series. It was set up by Sam Houser and Terry Donovan, who met while they were pupils at St Paul's in London. So, was the pound;15,000-a-year boys' school an inspiration?

Martin Stephen, high master, does not think so - and given that the game's setting, Bullworth Academy, is an American co-ed school, he is probably right. "I don't blame the people who invented the game," he said. "I blame those who buy it."

Steve Sinnott, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: "A game that rewards bullies is irresponsible in the extreme".

But teenagers tell us that you lose points if you pick on smaller children, so it may be less of a bad influence than some fear.

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