Pin It
Favorite

The Player 

by Marty Demarest & r & & r & Bully & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & M & lt;/span & y parents drove me to private school in their boxy upper-middle-class sedan. If I had been in Grand Theft Auto III, I wouldn't have even bothered sticking a gun in the face of my mother's new goldmine of a husband in order to steal the car. Together, they drove me to Bullworth Academy and deposited me with a PS2-looking headmistress. When she walked, her skirt split up the middle like a hard plastic toy.





From my first moments in Bully, my life became about avoiding poundings. Everyone hated me -- the nerds, the greasers, the jocks, and especially the white-shirted bullies. To make matters worse, I started going through culture shock. I couldn't tell what era I was in. All the boys -- even the cool, tough ones -- called each other "pal." Mayhem was caused by the skillful use of itching powder and slingshots instead of Uzis. Golly, it was like gaming in 1950.





Despite the playground banter and beatings, the Bullworth schoolyard and surrounding community functioned primarily as an arcade that housed entrances to mini-games. These games were seemingly designed to help an obnoxious kid such as myself define his character. I mowed lawns and played fumblingly simple sports like dodge ball that seemed to be imported from failed videogame ideas.





I was never given any real sense of how Bully's various episodes would affect me and my ratings with the school's various factions. I stumbled my way around the game, hoping to find a balance with my peers, all of whom seemed to hate each other. (They also had voices like Muppets, or an adult's idea of what a teenager would sound like.) The chance to develop a detailed videogame character, something that Rockstar Games had done well in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, was absent in Bully. At Bullworth, I was merely a cog in the machine.





THE GOOD: Bully has one of the best fight engines in a Rockstar game. There is a slight lag between the moment that I press a button in the real world and the action of my character onscreen (a fist sent into the jaw of a bully, for example). That moment allows for my real-world action to grow to several button pushes in sequence, which results in more elaborate actions onscreen (a severe face pounding followed by a noogie, for example). This fighting style is more sophisticated than the firearm battling that pervades most mayhem games, and it's admirable that Rockstar took the time to successfully integrate it into a relatively safe (unless you count wedgies) Teen-rated title.





THE BAD: The Teen rating ends up castrating much of Bully's fun in the same way that a PG-13 rating can inhibit a horror film -- the good stuff that I came to see never starts flowing. The Grand Theft Auto formula was designed for willfully out-of-control explosions, murder, theft and organized crime. Bully substitutes that with an artful mix of playground mayhem: brawling, chemistry sets, detention and classes. The game's build to wilder action sequences is a slow PS2 movie littered with middle school jokes and mini-games.





THE BOTTOM LINE: The Grand Theft Auto formula takes a beating on Bully's playground.

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Bridging the Gap
  • Bridging the Gap

    Bridge Avenue stands as the dividing line between the swanky Kendall Yards and impoverished West Central. Is that about to change?
    • Sep 29, 2016
  • Rematch
  • Rematch

    Once again, Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Joe Pakootas face off for her seat in Congress. Here are some ways they differ
    • Sep 29, 2016
  • Hail to the Chief (Again)
  • Hail to the Chief (Again)

    Craig Meidl again gets the nod from Mayor Condon; plus, a WSU football player in Domino's brawl won't be charged
    • Sep 29, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri
Bodies Human: Anatomy in Motion

Bodies Human: Anatomy in Motion @ Mobius Science Center

Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through Dec. 31

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by n/a

  • Iron Upgrade
  • Iron Upgrade

    The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.
    • May 12, 2010
  • Get Out the Vote
  • Get Out the Vote

    With all the uncertainty in the world these days, hot wings and cold beer are two things we can get behind
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • Seeing Gay
  • Seeing Gay

    A festival showing GLBT from all angles
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • Murrow's Nightmare

    Debate moderators need to be much more than an onstage prop to make our democracy work
    • Sep 15, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

election 2016


trail mix


BRIEFS


green zone


marijuana


Readers also liked…

  • Between the Bullets
  • Between the Bullets

    Aaron Johnson was shot by police in 2014, bounced around and found himself, again, in an all-too-familiar scenario
    • May 12, 2016
  • Calling Out Snitches
  • Calling Out Snitches

    Efforts to make it harder to convict someone solely on an informant have stalled again
    • Mar 18, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation