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Bully Banned by Some British Retailers 100

stormhair writes "The BBC is reporting that shops in the DSG Group (Currys and PC World) are banning Bully from their shelves. A spokesman says: 'We took a view that because it touches on a sensitive issue — violence in school — that it is not a product we would stock.' DSG has withdrawn other games from their shelves in the past — Hitman and Manhunt."
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Bully Banned by Some British Retailers

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  • No biggie (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pharmboy ( 216950 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @01:29PM (#16488389) Journal
    Sounds like they are trying to be responsible retailers, according to their own reasonable definitions. Every store should have the right (and does in most places) to stock what games or products it wants, and if they think a title is not good for their customers, they don't stock it. Not sure why this is news.

    I am sure some will scream "censorship!", which is of course silly, and only the government can censor. I call this "setting standards for what products you carry". If you really want Bully, I am sure there are plenty of other places that sell it.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Eh,there has been a roaring discussion on gamepolitics today about this. The store that does this claims it is doing this to help their "Familiy friendly" image.

      Then they take pre-orders for vice city stories, the new scarface game, and the next GTA.

      Family friendly my ass. This is pure knee jerk reaction, it has nothing to do with settign standards.
      • It is their stores. They can carry what they want, that is the main point. You can choose not to shop there. Maybe they are just starting to filter out stuff to be family friendly, or maybe they think only those select titles don't fit the image they want to project. It is THEIR standard, not yours, that they use. Again, shop elsewhere if you don't like them. You have plenty of choices, so your rights are not being infringed.
        • Its there standard, and its my right to point out that they are lying through their teeth. I respect their right not to stock something, hell I wouldn't shop their. However it would be nice if they could just tell us the real reason why.
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by LargeWu ( 766266 )
            It's pretty apparent, they come right out and say it - they object to school violence specifically, rather than violence in general.
            • by lgw ( 121541 )
              And yet the game is primarily about *preventing* school violence, so it's all very odd.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          The fact that someone has the right to make a stupid, mis-informed, panders-to-ignorant decision does not make it any less stupid, any less mis-informed, or any less pandering to ignorant. Just as they have the right to make that decision, people have the right to complain about it. In a context where people are making the most outrageous and clearly untrue allegations about the game, a retailer who refuses to stock it on the basis of largely, apparently, bogus allegations deserves criticism, whether it's

          • Strawman? People are saying "they shouldn't do that". The real strawman is when people say they support someone's Rights, but only if those Rights agree with their own ideals. The nut of it is that they don't want to sell games that show school house violence, and you think they should because they sell games that show other kinds of violence. They draw the line when it involves violence at the school house. This is controversial?

            The solutions are simple. Don't shop there. Vote with your dollars. Bo
            • The real strawman is when people say they support someone's Rights, but only if those Rights agree with their own ideals.

              You'll find that it's very rare for people who claim to be great lovers of freedom to actually bear that conviction far beyond endorsing your freedom to agree with and act in accordance with their very specific points of view.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by laxcat ( 600727 )

            I don't know if they're reacting to the game itself or to its (most definitely misinformed) reaction in the public. But misinformed or not, the reason they state for not carrying this game just happens to be true. I played 4 hours or so of the game last night and it most certainly "touches on a sensitive issue -- violence in school." Overblown in the media? You bet. But the simple fact of it is this game has plenty of violence in it. No guns, sure. No one dies, sure. But I've beat up like 20 kids already wi

          • Maybe you're not saying it isn't their right, but some people are. Jack Thompson, for instance.

            I agree that we should discourage retailers from making sales policy decisions based on misleading or false information. But it's also important to acknowledge that their sales policies, if based on acurate information, can be reasonable even if you don't agree.

            The game *is* about school violence. It doesn't necessarily encourage school violence, but that is one of the themes in gameplay. School violence *is* a ho
        • Yes, they have every right in the world to not sell whatever they want. Here's the thing: Nobody disputes that.

          Nobody is claiming that they should be forced to stock the game.

          People are simply discussing their intentions. You yourself say that we "can choose not to shop there," but in order to do that, we need to be informed about what's going on. That's why this discussion here occurs: To alert people that they may not want to shop there if they disagree with this chain's politics.

          So you're right, they

    • I would have to agree with you here.
      Any business should have the freedom to decide which products they wish to promote and sell, just as every consumer should be permitted to choose which products they wish to buy.
      As we all know, video games of any kind are the work of the devil and will make you go blind among other things. ;-)
      • Are you sure that it's video games that make you go blind? I remember the priest telling me it was something else... ;)
    • by DrXym ( 126579 )
      Sounds like they are trying to be responsible retailers, according to their own reasonable definitions. Every store should have the right (and does in most places) to stock what games or products it wants, and if they think a title is not good for their customers, they don't stock it. Not sure why this is news.

      Reasonable? How is banning a game with no death, gore or killing reasonable when they sell they are happy to sell Saint's Row (swearing, murder, drugs, gang violence), Call of Duty 3 (realistic viol

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by m0rph3us0 ( 549631 )
        Maybe Families find that killing people is something they value, while beating up kids at school is not. Many people are OK with the concept of prisions, but not kidnapping / unlawful confinement. It's their store, if you want to make a store that stocks only gore games, go right ahead, and when the city council won't grant you a business permit we will rally right behind you. Freedom is the ability to do what you want, not make others do what you want.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Every store should have the right (and does in most places) to stock what games or products it wants, and if they think a title is not good for their customers, they don't stock it. Not sure why this is news.

      Of course they can carry what they like. The 'news' part is, they've done this without having actually seen the game (banned before it went on sale). So in this sense they can ban all they like, but we know for a fact that this was indeed a kneejerk reaction; they simply decided the controversy would

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by grumbel ( 592662 )

      I am sure some will scream "censorship!", which is of course silly, and only the government can censor.

      In a strict sense that is of course right. However what Walmart and other big retailers do results in practically the same situation. Publishers try very hard to avoid AO raitings, because an AO game simply couldn't be sold since the large retailers won't stock it. Its of course still the publishers that decides what should go in or out of a game, but ultimatly they get it dictated by Walmart and friends

      • The choice between 'publishing what you want and going bankrupt' and 'publishing what Walmart says and getting stuff sold' isn't exactly a free choice.

        I understand what you are saying, but as a point of comparison: on the pc platform, over 80% of the online gamers playing FPS games are doing so on Steam. You can buy the games at Walmart, but you don't have to, and they don't carry all the titles. I am not sure that Walmart is the #1 seller of games, although it is desireable to be there. In an internet w
        • by lgw ( 121541 )
          I was chatting with the local game store proprietor about this recently. He expects PC games to stop selling on shelves within a year. He expects to stock only console games for christmas 07, as the PC market will have gone 100% online sales. It's not just Steam: a game developer gives up a lot of profit and a lot of control to put physical boxes on the shelf - if you can reach the same gamers online the profits are much higher for the same retail price.

          • I don't think Steam is the ultimate (although I have several of their games) but they have proven that online sales work. Personally, I LIKE not having to install, type in the key, find the cd to play, etc.
    • by PeelBoy ( 34769 )
      The problem here is that they are banning it for the wrong reasons.

      They haven't even played the game, they have absolutely no idea what it is about.

      The only reason they are banning the game is the same reason everybody else wants it banned. It's a game called "Bully" and it's made by Rockstar.

      That's it. That is the only reason. Because it's called Bully and made by Rockstar it must be some horrible game where you play as a Bully and go around killing innocent children in school.

      Fact is these people don't bo
      • The market has a way of self-correcting, so if it isn't that bad of a game, other retailers will sell it and they will miss out on the revenue. To me, it isn't a big deal because it isn't infringing someone speech or limiting their ability to get the game (which isn't a "right" per se). If they screwed up, they will realize it eventually.

        I don't like the idea of a game designed around bullying in a school house, although i will defend your right to make one. I would also defend anyone's right to not sell
        • by lgw ( 121541 )

          I don't like the idea of a game designed around bullying in a school house,

          It seems that Rockstar didn't make that game. It's a headfake. While the game does involve violence in schools, the point of the game seems to be to confront school bullies and force them to see the error of their ways. I haven't seen a complete walkthrough yet, but it looks like Rockstar will be having the last laugh on this one.

          Anyhow, you seem to have missed Peelboy's whole point: the game is not being banned based on content,

  • by voice_of_all_reason ( 926702 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @01:30PM (#16488409)
    Clearly they are not refusing to stock it because of its content -- the British apparently have some fetish against single-word titles.

    Are they offering Pong, Gorf, or Combat? I rest my case!
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      It is called canis canum edit (Dog eat Dog) in europe.
      • Why the hell didn't they name it that here in the states? Ooops. Sorry. Now I remember. That name is too long for our attention span. Look, that kid has a beanie with a propeller...
        • Eh, i like latin, it sounds elegant at times. Dog eat Dog.
        • I rather think they re-named it (it's canem, by the way, not canum -- the misspelling could make life difficult for someone trying to find it in an online shop) because they figured British customers would be alienated by the word "bully". School bullying is probably the single hottest issue in public discussion of the school system in the UK. Well, maybe number 2.
  • ...and it will do so much to stop people downloading it from somewhere else.
    • I don't think they're trying to stop people from buying it, they just choose not to support that game. Like the fact that I don't sell pornography doesn't mean that I give a shit if people buy it from somewhere else. I just choose to not support that.
  • by LighterShadeOfBlack ( 1011407 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @01:30PM (#16488427) Homepage
    Just to clarify, PC World and Currys are NOT major games retailers, Currys is an electrical goods store and PC World is primarily for PC hardware. This isn't much of a blow to Rockstar at all.
    • I think people care less about how this will affect Rockstar than just the general issue of a store refusing to carry a game based on its content. Perhaps the most salient issue is a store refusing to carry a game based on grounds that are completely unfounded: Bully contains little to no violence.
      • Any store can refuse to stock any title it feels like for whatever reason. The only reason this is news is because they have come out and explained why they are not socking it. If they hadn't come out and explained, no-one would have noticed. They'd maybe have tried to buy it in those stores, found it wasn't there, and gone along to Game or HMV, or a Virgin Megastore etc etc instead.

        I suspect these stores are putting this story out into the press, because as the grandparent says, these stores aren't real
    • by joe 155 ( 937621 )
      indeed, they did this over manhunt aswell, but Gamestation - who are one of two biggest game retailers in the UK (I think the biggest) - continued to stock it. I'd image that because of this it'll sell quite well
  • Companies like Walmart and this group (I am not a brit, so I am not familiar with 'em). They wana be a family friendly company and only stock family friendly games. So be it.

    I am still curious about Bully, is it realy about school violence? To me getting into a fist fight isn't school violence. School violence involves knives, guns, and sever beatings.

    Are there any reviews out there on the game yet? or moreo n what the game is HONESTLY like? All I have seen are the numerous articles about that idiot at
    • by Jamu ( 852752 )
      It looks like Asda (Walmart) will be stocking Canis Canem Edit (Bully) [].
      • by linuxci ( 3530 )
        Walmart's so called moral values for the items they stock vary on a country by country basis to fit their target demographic. Obviously they decide that banning anything slighly offensive is a pointless policy in the UK that will only lower their sales as people will go elsewhere.
    • by thatguywhoiam ( 524290 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @02:02PM (#16489131)
      I am still curious about Bully, is it realy about school violence? To me getting into a fist fight isn't school violence. School violence involves knives, guns, and sever beatings... Are there any reviews out there on the game yet? or moreo n what the game is HONESTLY like? All I have seen are the numerous articles about that idiot attacking the game, and nothing about what the game is really like.

      I can tell you what its really like. Played for hours last night.

      First off: it is basically GTA meets Harry Potter. But the violence is nowhere near what GTA was; for instance, nobody ever dies, you can't kill people (near as I can tell). And I didn't see any blood.

      What you will see is your protagonist hoodlum kid - who is not particularly likeable - immediately set upon by one of the myriad other cliques in the school (jocks, preps, etc). And yes, they sometimes come at you sporting planks of wood or bricks or slingshots.

      And you beat the living crap out of them.

      Now, I will leave it as an exercise to the reader if this goes beyond the bounds of 'acceptable' entertainment. I thought it was a blast. It is basically your standard male revenge-fantasy, put into a GTA-like sandbox setting with a lot of crisscrossing plot points that you can pick up and put down at will.

      Getting into fights will get you busted by overpowering 'prefects' who are essentially the cops of the game. You 'wake up' at the Principal's Office, or the infimary, etc. when this happens. If you get away, you get away. The only thing you can do to the prefects is a fast kick in the nuts, and then you hoof it out of there (or into a locker, or trash can; many shades of Metal Gear in this part of the game - particularly the hiding in lockers part).

      If you attack a girl, she instantly neuters you and runs away at light speed. Then the prefects nab you.

      So - its not like Columbine, even remotely. No firearms. No trenchcoats. In the standard Rockstar style, they try to obviate the lighter moral questions by making sure that practically every character in the game is an utter bastard in some respect or another. The prefects are assholes. The nerds are assholes (they can't fight but have other tricks). The teachers are assholes. Everyone is an asshole, including you.

      (I tried playing the game initally as a sort of 'noble Bully' and you can do that - but quickly you realise that you are just helping another faction.)

      So in the end, the controversy is that kids beat each other up in this game and play mean pranks. That's it. It's rated T for Teen in Canada, and that is a fair rating in my opinion.

      • by Thansal ( 999464 )

        I think I will deffinatly be picking it up then. I love the GTA style sandbox game, and Rockstar's black humour. That and the voice acting reminds me of Fable (a game I still pick up every so often)....

        (yes, my FP was really just trying to find out if I wanted to buy the game or not)
  • This will ensure the game's success.
  • "Nothing for you to see here."

    Private enterprises can stock or not stock whatever they want.

    It's not like they are a regulated monopoly or utility or anything.

    They'll lose some business and gain some business. Those who want to buy the game can buy it elsewhere or even organize a boycott if they want to make a statement.
    • exactly doesnt stock any porn, by choice, i dont see anybody complaining about them.let them sell what they want. you can start bitching when governments start banning games in certain countries altogether.
  • Interestingly, the game is called "Canis Canem Edit" here in Europe to avoid these kind of reactions .
    • WTF? How did they decide on Canis Canem Edit? Is Latin really hot in Europe right now? I see that the translaion is "Dog Eat Dog"-- that is perhaps a vaguely appropriate title, but I cannot understand the Latin approach.
      • I believe that Canis Canem Edit is the motto of the school in the game. Of note, it wouldn't really be that much of a biggie in Europe, since europeans are used to games being in either a foreign language (english) or having elements in a foreign language (often even if a game is translated, characters names, levels, and other in-game stuff isn't.). Of course, here in the UK, we'd probably find it a little baffling as to why a game is in latin, just as the yanks will. I guess the only difference between
      • The name gives Rockstar an out when people modify the game to add unsavory content: "That's not Canis Canem Edit; that's Canis Canem Edited ."

  • In other news... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Xest ( 935314 ) *
    ...Scientists discover that the amount of Dixons stores in the UK is inverseley proportional to the amount of games they ban.

    Keep on digging Dixons, those high street stores are dropping like flies, this kind of stunt isn't going to save you!

    On a more serious note it's a shame that our stores seem to so freely endorse censorship but then I've never understoond this country, sometimes we seem to be fairly free in what we can do and say and Americans envy this and other times we seem to be so pro censorship o
  • by Half-pint HAL ( 718102 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @01:32PM (#16488483)

    Do specialist Heavy-Metal music shops "ban" classical music? No, they just choose not to stock it.

    Why? Because they don't think their intended audience want to see it in the shop.

    That's all DSG are doing: choosing their stock to suit their market.


    • These are not specialist shops, far from it. They are like futureshop or best buy. And they have carried plenty of other games that are actually violent. This game is rated T, and is very tame. If they were simply not carrying violent games, or games that are rated M then you would have a point. But they are singling out this particular game because it involves a kid who goes to school.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by LoudMusic ( 199347 )
      That's all DSG are doing: choosing their stock to suit their market.

      I don't know if I'm surprised that /. used a media hype tactic, but you are correct. "Banned" is not the appropriate word. They've simply decided to not stock the product.

      A friend of mine ownes what is effectively a modern arcade. He has XBoxes and PCs set up for playing current games and actually packs the house on the weekends, with regular customers throughout the weekdays. Parents often ask him what kinds of games the children will be p
  • If you lived in a country with only one major retailer, or a single consortium of retailers who as a whole decided to not carry the game, then this would be a good SlashDot Censorship story.

    Even then, you could still buy it online or from abroad, or from a minor "independent" retailer. But that's a lot more work than going to your nearby Super Mega Mart or even your corner Kwikee-Mart.
  • Do ya think they'll carry "Destroy All Humans 2" []?
  • It's ironic that they'd ban a game that denounces bullying, yet still sell games that allow the cold-blooded murder of prostitutes (GTA series). I guess they're "thinking of the children."
    • by LargeWu ( 766266 )
      Yes, but retaliating against bullies is often cited as a primary reason for many real school shootings. The Bully game specifically relates to that, and they don't want to seem like they're condoning that behavior.
      Here, retaliating against bullies is the central focus of gameplay in the Bully game. In the GTA games, yes you can kill prostitutes, but then again you can kill everybody, and while killing people takes a central role in the GTA series, killing prostitutes specifically does not. Now it could
      • by Sigma 7 ( 266129 )

        Yes, but retaliating against bullies is often cited as a primary reason for many real school shootings.

        Such retailitations are often cited as the primary symptom of a defective school system that railroads students into an artifical social environment.

        Any of the following will significantly cut down on the number of "school shootings":
        - Private tutoring. (e.g. Home schooling or private schooling)
        - Education based on skill level instead of chronological age.
        - Reducing the impact of young offender protections

  • Twenty years or so I bought my copy of Skool Daze [] from Dixons. It requires you to flatten teachers, punch other kids or knock them over with a catapult and the objective is to steal your school report from what I remember (might be your exam results).


    • by eddy ( 18759 )

      I played Skool Daze, but never figured out what you were supposed to do.

      If only we had had Wikipedia back in 1985.

  • You can't beat a bit of bully

    80-90's UK TV reference []

  • According to this 1.html [] review the game is actually not violent in the sense that GTA is violent.

    "Interestingly, the title of the game has less to do with bullying and more to do with a play on the name of the school. Bully essentially puts players in the role of a likeable young hero, not quite as Machiavellian as the characters that players have taken control of in GTA titles."

    Sounds like an interesting game.

  • by PFI_Optix ( 936301 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @03:13PM (#16490409) Journal
    The stores didn't ban it. They chose not to sell it. They made a business decision and that's their right. This isn't a ban; they won't be preventing others from selling it or kicking in your door to take it from you.

    But don't let the facts get in the way of your Slashbotism.
  • Another one for the consumers who patronize their shops.

    The reason they wanted to ban it from their stores - where they do sell GTA and other games - is that it would expose their "public schools" (British for what Americans call "private schools") and the abusive bullying that most of the upper class twits take as a given.

    It's a sensitive issue, sure. Sensitive because it exposes them for what they are.
    • i'm not sure about the age-rating for this game. if they are seriously concerned about the game promoting "violence", surely they could just check the id card of the customers? just to make sure that the buyer is far older than average schoolers. of course, this won't stop the kids from asking someone older to buy the game for them, or downloading it.
  • Really? Who the hell actually goes to Currys or PC World to buy games? I dont even go to PC World to buy PC stuff let alone games. Nothing to see here, move along.

"Let every man teach his son, teach his daughter, that labor is honorable." -- Robert G. Ingersoll