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Bully game classified R13

11 September 2006

Bully game classified R13

The Office of Film and Literature Classification has classified the console game Bully, recently re-named Canis Canem Edit, as R13 with the descriptive note ‘contains violence’.

The player’s character Jimmy is a victim of bullying and he must negotiate his relationships with various high school cliques and overcome the school bullies. Although Jimmy uses low level violence and commits petty crimes, he learns that violence has consequences and that he must take responsibility for his actions. The moral of the game is that bullying is bad.

Chief Censor Bill Hastings said “when Jimmy carries out petty acts of delinquency at school he is apprehended by prefects and punished by the school principal. When he misbehaves outside school he is dealt with by the Police. The game cannot be said to promote criminal acts.”

The resulting punishments are proportionate to the seriousness of the offending. Instant discipline and purposely boring punishments act as a strong disincentive on the player. As well as completing missions, Jimmy must attend and pass assignments in Chemistry, Art, English, Sports and Auto Shop classes. He is subject to a school curfew.

The game contains violence which does not result in blood, injury or death. Mr Hastings said “we classified the game R13 because younger children may not appreciate the harm that could be caused by imitating Jimmy’s actions. On the other hand, teenagers and adults will have the judgement and life experience to place the game in its intended satirical and moral context.”

Copies of the classification decision are available from the Office’s website www.censorship.govt.nz.

ENDS

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