Hey, loser! Time to get a swirly before I wedgie you into a locker! Today’s sequel request is Bully! It’s also totally legit (look at that top pic) & totally long, so let’s jump in...
·|What is It|·
Bully is an open-world, third-person, action-adventure game developed by Rockstar Vancouver and published by Rockstar Games in 2006 for the PlayStation 2. It was rereleased on PC, XBOX 360 and Wii in 2008 (Subtitled: Scholarship Edition), and saw a mobile release (Anniversary Edition) for iOS & Android just this past December.
The protagonist is Jimmy Hopkins, a “troubled youth” previously kicked out of 7 different schools, who is enrolled in Bullworth Academy, a private campus in the town of Bullworth that...is...uummmmm...a school. Players attempt to unite the 5 completely separate cliques (Bullies, Nerds, Jocks, Preppies, and Greasers), end all bullying, and pass the stupid fucking music class- only one of which is impossible.
Before release, the game faced overwhelming criticism, due to the studio’s previous games, like Grand Theft Auto and Manhunt, and the “Hot Coffee” scandal of GTA: San Andreas. Most sane parent groups were worried that the game would glorify and/or trivialize the very real problem of bullying, and insane dipshit Jack Thompson- a lawyer who thinks the concept of video games physically murdered his mother- called it a “Columbine Simulator” and tried to ban it from Florida before its release.
·|Why it’s Great|·
Bully is a teenage GTA running off a modified San Andreas engine (on PS2, at least). This means it has all the standard trappings of that era’s GTA games, but with some twists and turns along the way, such as:
·Full Day/Night Cycle- Just like Grand Theft Auto, each second in real life is a minute in-game.
The sun rises in the morning, peaks at noon, and is fully set by 7. However, since the Player Character is a teen there are classes to attend from 9-3, a curfew that begins at 11, and exhaustion sets in at 1am. If you don’t go to bed in time, you’ll pass out at 2am- and if that happens outside, you may wake up with your shoes or other belongings stolen. Throughout playing, seasons change to show the passage of the school year.
·Map Initially Locked- This was a trend which remained in Rockstar’s open-world games even through the PS3/360 era (only being broken by GTAV).
When Bully starts, you’re initially confined to the school’s campus. As you progress through the story, the map gradually opens up. What’s great about the way they handle it is that I never noticed where the “walls” were. I never felt “confined”, which makes it that much better when it actually opens up.
·Drivable Vehicles- Jimmy Hopkins is not old enough to drive, so there is no collection of different cars to cruise around in.
But the game does grant players with a skateboard which is a permanent part of the inventory. There’s also a selection of different bikes, and a “moped” that’s really just a Faggio scooter from GTA. Shop class unlocks a permanent BMX bike (the best type of bicycle) that is upgraded each time you pass a class, along with a garage to store it (and the moped).
·Weapons- Since the Player is a child, and many other children are present, there’s not a single lethal weapon in the game, to the dismay of many Mel Gibson fans from the Alt-Right.
Instead, weapons in Bully consist of stink bombs, itching powder, fire crackers, “kick me” signs, a spud cannon, many others and your own two hands. The most useful weapon however, and another permanent part of the inventory, is the slingshot. The slingshot itself is upgraded through one of the classrooms, while Gym class upgrades Jimmys accuracy. It’s useful for fighting, missions, and puzzles. Omnitool, this one is.
·Bonus Minigames, Side Quests, etc- Wouldn’t be a GTA game without lots of bullshit to distract players from main missions, and Bully is no different.
Most prominently are the classes, completing which awards the player in various ways. Passing Chemistry unlocks a chem set in Jimmy’s room for making itching powders and such, passing English unlocks the ability to talk yourself out of trouble, and so on. Each class is fun and challenging except for Music. Music class is bullshit and cheats. Once you pass all 5 levels of a class, you no longer have to attend which is pretty awesome.
Along with school, other diversions include Jobs (Paper Route, Grass Cutting), a Carnival (complete with tickets and prizes), boxing matches, and random quests delivered by NPCs like food delivery or shoving kids in lockers.
Seriously, there is a whole ton of things to do, as you may have noticed if you’re still reading. Every mission, class, job, and activity feels fun, too. The game is a bit dated now, but I still haven’t felt cheated anytime I lost. Except music. Fuck music class. Just...just so hard, you guys...fuck it.
Bottom line: if you’ve played this game, you know how awesome it is. And if you haven’t, I highly recommend it. Also, I think Johnny from GTAIV & V is in this game.
·|What it Needs|·
So it obviously needs updated for modern controls. I’m sure this is one area that I don’t have to request anything because duh. But even so I have to mention the two things that irritate me beyond belief- aiming, and turning the camera while walking.
Being an older Rockstar title it uses the old auto-aim system, but it’s not as smooth as San Andreas (at least on 360 it’s not). While there is a free aim option, it’s clunky, slow, and a separate button. For the camera issue, well...
I have this habit with third person shooters, and it’s partly the reason I prefer them to an FPS. I like to circle both my thumbs around as I play, keeping the camera focused where I need it while the character continues moving. Sometimes I do it just to add cinematic flair. But this separation of camera and character is not an option in Bully. Trying to look left, while walking straight, just results in Jimmy spinning for a bit then walking elsewhere while the camera still looks ahead.
A sequel would also need to be bigginded.
I don’t mean a map the size of GTAV, but I’d love a bigger campus. Both the campus as a whole, and the buildings individually, allowing for more classes and students, and more places to go. Maybe even the ability to have lunch in the cafeteria and put on a play in the auditorium (provided the player is in Drama class).
A larger surrounding town as well, with more shops, parks, houses, etc. Basically the standard Rockstar treatment (more to see, more to do, bigger AND denser). It would be cool to have an arcade, too (instead of random arcade machines strewn throughout the world).
Some extra modes of transportation, such as roller blades and scooters, would also be very appreciated. As would expanding the “Bus Stop” system to allow quick travel to other bus stops.
Other jobs on top of cutting grass and delivering papers would rock (like fast-food sign spinner and car washer).
Personally, I would like Rockstar to tone down the...Rockstar-ness of the story. I’m all for wacky and goofy, and I’m one of...one?...person who actually LIKES the hamfisted satire of GTAV. But some of the missions are a bit too much. For instance:
(MILD SPOILER) If a teacher is known to be “a pervy creep” who tasks players with retrieving “dirty” underwear from the girls dorm, and a former student tells the player she was expelled after reporting the teacher for sexual harassment, then it can’t be considered justice/”getting even”/karma when the player flips a porta-potty with the teacher inside. (END MILD SPOILER)
Call me old fashioned, call me a boring old stick-in-the-mud, I just think a bullying child predator should go to jail.
Now, there can still be goofiness in the game- in fact there should be- I would just like if it was balanced by some realness.
The teen years are a tumultuous time period, and it would be great for the game (and even player) to help those struggling with their weight, self esteem, sexuality, etc. It would be the bees knees if there was actually a real anti-bullying message in the story.
That’s all. Keep the expected goofiness, but add some REALNESS.
Finally, fix the clock. One real world second being one in-game minute may work for GTA (since characters are free to do whatever they want and don’t need sleep). But in Bully, the clock needs to go a little slower, because after school ends, there isn’t much time left for missions, jobs, or tomfoolery before curfew hits. I don’t mind having to balance my time, but when precious minutes are wasted just getting from point A to B feels unfair.
·|Who Should Make It|·
Rockstar. I really want a sequel to this. I want this to be a new series.
Really, anyone willing to put in the work, time, and love could make a great “G-Teen-A” game. But I want Rockstar to work on Bully 2 ASAP. Hell, even as a Switch game (since that’s all we will be talking about until E3).
So that’s all. Have you played this game? Did you like it? Does it deserve a sequel? What would your sequel be like? Leave a comment and lmk!