Rather than following up the success of The Warriors with another GTA game, Rockstar Games released Bully in 2006. It was an interesting choice because unlike the majority of Rockstar’s previous games, nothing was known about the game at the beginning. While The Warriors was technically a new IPO, it was based on a movie released more than 20 years ago.
Other than taking place in a boarding school, nothing else was really known about the game. Would this essentially be GTA: High School? Is the game about you as the bully or as a kid who was constantly bullied? Disbarred lawyer Jack Thompson, who has had a personal vendetta against Rockstar Games for years, described the game as a “Columbine simulator” without ever playing the game. He couldn’t have been more wrong.
The game takes place in the fictional city of Bullworth, New Hampshire. Bullworth Academy is the boarding school that Jimmy Hopkins has just been dropped off by his mother and her fifth husband who are going on a year long honeymoon. Like most kids at Bullworth, Jimmy is somewhat of a juvenile delinquent, but nothing that would ever suggest a homicidal maniac. More times than not, Jimmy will stand up to anyone attempting to bully him or any of his allies.
Throughout the game Jimmy attends classes (you actually have a class schedule that’s enforced), makes allies and enemies with the varying cliques of Bullworth Academy (including members of the faculty) and the factions city of Bullworth itself all while exploring the surrounding areas completing various tasks and missions.
The classes are mini-games but each one is different. The regular edition of the game has 6 classes spread out over 3 days while the Scholarship Edition has 10 classes over 5 days. Jimmy can skip the classes, but if caught during class time, he is immediately taken back to school and has to attend the classes. Once Jimmy finishes each class he is then allowed free time during what used to be his class time. So completing these classes make the game easier.
Since Jimmy is only 15 years old, don’t expect to see him driving around in cars or picking up women at a local bar. But don’t think he has to walk around to get anywhere. Skateboards, various bicycles, go-karts and even mopeds are at Jimmy’s disposal. When all of those fail, Jimmy can hop on a bus to quickly be taken back to the Academy. Unlike GTA, there are no firearms. Jimmy does have access to weapons, but they’re more of the child versions including itching powder, slingshots and even a potato gun.
Since the game takes place over an entire school year, seasons change as well as abilities. During the winter months its much harder to ride your bike around town due to the snow. Holidays include Halloween and Christmas and are given specially themed missions to accomplish only during those days. You can shovel snow in the winter and and mow lawns in the spring/summer months to earn additional money and there is no shortage of hidden treasures hidden in and around the city of Bullworth.
This is the sleeper hit of my top 10 list. If you’ve never played it, there are several editions of Bully released for various generations of consoles so there’s a good chance you can still pick up a copy. Although no sequel has been announced so far, Rockstar would be foolish not to add another chapter to this series. If parents don’t want their kids to play a GTA game, as a T-rated game, Bully is the next best option.