…but that's the point, isn't it? Rockstar – author of the Grand Theft Auto series – has announced a game set in a boarding school that involves violence and bullying. It's called 'Bully', just in case your local WI wasn't already in a suitably apoplectic state.
According to Reuters, the upcoming game has "anti-violence critics up in arms".
"The game's main character is 15-year-old Jimmy Hopkins, who must defend himself against school bullies at a fictional US boarding school called Bullworth Academy, while dealing with characters ranging from nerds and jocks to authoritarian prefects.
"Weapons included baseball bats that break after several blows, stink bombs and bags of marbles that when strategically thrown will lay flat most pursuers."
(Incidentally, who are these anti-violence critics and how does one become one? Are CND, Greenpeace or your local university Godsoc about to come down on Rockstar's ass like a tonne of strongly worded statements, whist drives and protest T-shirts? I think we should be told.)
Now, far be it from me to be flippant about such important issues as the moral fibre of the yoof of today. Indeed, I believe that children are our future. But this is a fairly constant (and dull) part of games-publishing life.
A company brings out a provocative title, the moral majority provides some juicy quotes for the slavering beast that is the media, and the publisher gets loads of free publicity. If you can prove to me that any violent video game (or film, or book, or Shakespeare play...) has directly caused a violent crime, I'll personally attach some rusty nails to a virtual baseball bat, douse myself in stink bombs and, with the further aid of marbles (somehow), beat myself up.
Until that day, I'll react in the only way I know. Er... by providing more coverage for the game, in a rant about the reaction to the game. How post-modern is that? I need a lie down.