Before I became a news editor for TechRepublic, I wasn't always so nice. In elementary school, I picked on the people who I liked the most (ok, I still do that), and I was quick to stand up for myself regardless of the situation or circumstances (uhm, yeaaah...). Some people might have considered me to be a bully, and perhaps there's a hint of truth in that, although I contribute part of that to the third child syndrome - that, and having an older brother who was very close in age and incredibly competitive.
So, with my former reputation being what it is, I was compelled to click through and read the story about a video game called "Bully" that a Florida judge wanted to review before it was released to make sure it didn't violate public nuisance laws.
If you don't have time to read the entire story, here are the important details: An anti-video game attorney named Jack Thompson (no relation, I swear) filed a motion against the release of the game. "Thompson's lawsuit likens 'Bully' to a 'murder simulator,' alleging it will teach minors about methods of bullying and school violence. He asks the court to declare the game a 'public nuisance.'"
Take-Two, the maker of "Bully," doesn't advertise the game as being violent. "...its Web page for 'Bully' says that players will be able to 'stand up to bullies, get picked on by teachers, play pranks, win or lose the girl, and ultimately learn to navigate the obstacles of the worst school around, Bullworth Academy—a corrupt and crumbling prep school with an uptight facade.'"
Check out the photo gallery: "Bully" in action.
Good gravy, this Thompson guy needs a hobby. If video games are stressing him out that much, he should take up model cars or airplanes. Seriously. With all of the graphic violence, sexual content, and adult language within video games these days, my suggestion to people with more innocent sensibilities is to stay clear of them, because no one is forcing them to play.
Sonja Thompson started at TechRepublic in October 1999. She is a former Senior Editor at TechRepublic.