Blair 'Bullied' in the UK

Prime Minister Tony Blair agrees to look into new Rockstar title; agrees to meeting called by Member of Parliment and game critic Keith Vaz.

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Keith Vaz, Member of Parliament for Leicester East, called for a discussion of Rockstar Games' Bully (Canis Canem Edit in the UK) in today's Prime Minister's Question Time.

Vaz addressed Tony Blair in London's House of Commons, stating: "Last Thursday the British Board of Film Classification gave a 15 certificate [able to be purchased by persons 15 years and over] to a video game formerly called Bully. This game contains scenes of violence including players terrorising teachers and students, teachers being head butted, and the aggressive use of baseball bats. [UK retailer] Currys has banned this game. Given the link between video games and their propensity to encourage violence, that has been demonstrated in some research, will the Prime Minister convene a meeting of the stakeholders including the industry and parents' groups to discuss this issue? And will he accept this is not about adult censorship, this is about protecting our children?"

Blair admitted that he "hadn't seen the game himself," with one of his famous smiles, which caused laughter in the Commons. He answered Vaz by agreeing on a meeting to discuss the issues raised.

"I know that the Minister for Creative Industries and also the Minister responsible for the industry are very happy to meet with him and stakeholders to discuss it. It's obviously an important issue. I know there's a lot of concern about it. It is, I think, right to say that the video games industry, or certainly a very substantial section of it, have made significant strides and advances over the last few years, but he's quite right, it's important that's maintained," Blair said.

Some have dubbed Keith Vaz "the Jack Thompson of the UK" for his antigames stance and outspoken views on the topic of game content. He had previously called for a ban on another Rockstar title, Manhunt, on the grounds that the parents of murdered schoolboy Stefan Pakeerah believed that their son's killers had been influenced by the game.

As early as October 26 last year, Vaz voiced his concerns over Rockstar's latest game in Prime Minister's Question Time to Geoff Hoon, standing in for Tony Blair. He asked Hoon: "Does the leader of the house share my concern at the decision of Rockstar Games to publish a new game called Bully in which players use their on-screen persona to kick and punch other schoolchildren?" Hoon replied by rightly pointing out that since the game had not been submitted to the British Board of Film Classification for a rating, little was known about it. He said then that "the precise nature of its content--disturbing though it sounds--and the degree to which it might be considered harmful to children is not yet fully known."

Other items on the agenda of today's Prime Minister's Question Time included the withdrawal schedule for British troops in Iraq, waiting times for cancer patients in the National Health Service (NHS), and support and funding for victims of terrorist attacks.

Discussion

245 comments
sorpaqq
sorpaqq

This is an old thread but it made me so angry that I had to comment. If Keith Vaz really wanted to stop bullying he should instead have campaigned against real life bullying rather than a video game that turned out to be anti bullying, I mean talk about a colossal waste of time and I can just imagine how bullying victims must feel knowing that this guy and many others ignored them in favor of such a pointless crusade.

vietboi89
vietboi89

well if u can punch, kick and beat other people on a playground in a video i guess you should try it in real life... how come i dont see this much attention go to actual violence rather than violence in VIDEO GAMES? seriously, people while u argue about a game that might or might not affect a dumb child there is a guy on the corner passing out bags of automatic firearms to ur little kids that MUST be protected from the horrible danger of video game ANIMATED violence

danwarecritic
danwarecritic

I know Rockstar pushes boundaries but they don't encourage people to kill! It's not like video games can pick up a knife. Video games didn't cause people to kill. Go deal with a real problem. Like the guy in the back alley.

danwarecritic
danwarecritic

What the H***!? Politicians are SERIOUSLY BLIND about this! SERIOUSLY!

AlucardWildcard
AlucardWildcard

Problems make people kill other people. Not video games. Sure, video games might somehow influence the killer on their method, but I play violent games loads, and I'm not some crazy mass murderer psycho guy. It's just not a game's fault. Even if something can make someone kill someone else, although they wouldn't normally, it's not going to be the work of one video game, but an entire culture of violence, which, oddly enough, is what many pop singers promote. Do you see them banned? I think not. Video games are no different from any other media or art form. You might as well (re?) ban "A Clockwork Orange" or the latest gore-fest horror film, but, as usual, everyone blames video games because they're not as mainstream.

Stephen361984
Stephen361984

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Austin7591
Austin7591

I really think this nit-picking with Rockstar is getting to be absurd. Let's face it, through their past, people automatically just assume that all of their games are like Grand Theft Auto. However, condemning games that aren't even out nor available for demonstration is ridiculous. The funny thing is, I didn't hear anyone try to ban Hitman: Blood MOney. I didn't hear anyone protesting against the Godfather, and I certainly didn't hear anyone cry about Soprano's and their video game that is soon to be out. The fact is that many people talk about Bully when in fact, they themselves have been bullying Rockstar. It would have been even better if "Bully" was as violent as first thought of, but the fact that it isn't is what spurns people. The more realistic these games come to reality and how we actually live our lives, are the more there will be criticism. I mean, look at the new James Bond movie. Here is that we are at the 21st installment of the 007 movies and people have been praising the actors that play the role of a careless, womanizing, risk taker that disregards authority every now and then. With content like that alone, the movie should be banned but as usual, people focus on video games only because of the heavy involvment in actually controlling the character on screen instead of watching an actor play the role solely. Unfortunately, our culture is very confused. Instead of going after games, why don't they go after advertisers who make ads that are so close to pitcures of soft porn. Ah! But you won't ever see that happen.

Seffora
Seffora

I think people are just seeing "Rockstar" on the case and going INSTA-BAN!!! I can see things like manhunt, but Bully? It's not even that violent...

DS-man
DS-man

Main game stores like "GAME" and many other local game stores sells them just not shops like Argos, Woolworths, or like Gamespot says 'Currys'

The_Proof
The_Proof

omfg, this is so much bullsh!t. GO PLAY THE GAME BEFORE YOU SAY SH!T LIKE THIS!!! There is no killing, no cursing, not even any blood in this game at all period. And the bat thing? IT BREAKS AFTER LIKE THREE HITS AND YOU CAN'T EVEN BREAK A LIMB OR SOMETHING WITH IT! I say if they're gonna ban bully then they should just ban games all together.

LikwidX3
LikwidX3

if u agree that this game, or any game should be banned, you are a dumbass. just because u dont like it doesnt mean other people wont. if u dont want your kids playing grand theft auto tell them not to get it, stop your own kids. if u dont like a game because of its violent nature, dont pick the game up, dont read about it, just dont pay it any mind. but other people, like me, wanna play these games because they appeal to us. ..and for christs sake get a sense of humor.

merlin321
merlin321

this game will make me stand up to people and bully them for fun oooo you better ban it or who knows what will happen!!! gosh! it has an age rating on it of 15! if its so bad why isnt it an 18! its only a game, i like it because its different and not because you can hit people (which may be fun but that doesnt mean i will do it in real life) stupid leaders of the country! they should get their act together! they have sent people out to another country to kill total strangers but apparently we arent allowed to play a game because you can fight people that arent 'adults'! jus a frekkin game! why didnt u want to ban the gta games! you kill people on that! but o wait no one has been murdered due to people playing gta games! why do u think this game would infulance us so strongly! goshhhhh!

q64silver
q64silver

I dont like Rockstar's games - too violent: GTA series, Manhunt, now Bully. Agreed. Must be banned!

Trogeton
Trogeton

gah!!! I cant wait to buy this game, every game by rockstar rulez, not only that the game is guaranteed to bring out some action

vercetti_dude2
vercetti_dude2

This really shows how little the public actually KNOWS about these games. ZOMG BULLY, IT MUST BE BAD. Not that someone's going to check on Gamespot and heed our protests, but this is a game about STANDING UP to bullies -_- Retarded politicians.

Stabby
Stabby

TUFF LUCK!!! Its been released so what he going to do now hehehe!

BigDaveyDogz
BigDaveyDogz

Jack Thompson probably got bullied when he was a child and this game is bringing up some bad memories so this is his way of getting back at them... what a d-bag! put your efforts into something more constructive then trying to ruin peoples fun!!

genevieveklyne
genevieveklyne

Chandler said it best. Though I still don't like all this legal action and calls for banning, I do think we as gamers have to hold Rockstar responsible for all this BS and give our money to game companies that innovate with responsability. I know way too many KIDS with a copy of GTA. And no human being should have given Rockstar money or praise for Manhunt (that game's just wrong, not ILLEGAL, but wrong). That's the parents' fault hands down. Wake up people. Not everything is for everybody. Let's get control back or else every violent game will be impossible to find at major retailers (except for U.S. Army games of course... pffffff). And almost every game is violent.

chandlermbing
chandlermbing

So, what does influence kid's behaviour? If you don't think games do, where you routinely carry out contextless killings with positive outcomes, with no presentation of the consequences, how can movies, TV, or music, where you are impassive and, in general, has for more realistic outcomes and consequences to murder and violence. How can anyone be so blind as to not think seeing and carrying out glamorous violence doesn't desensitised people to it. Us gamers will never be taken seriously until we accept games can have a negative as well as a positive influence.

neener_coolar
neener_coolar

the reason they dont ban tv shows is because they watch tv they wouldnt ban games if they actualy played them!

Poshkidney
Poshkidney

you are trying to fix a school to make students feel safe in thair school not bullie everyone else

PatlaborAV98
PatlaborAV98

thing is you play someone who is being bullied these dumbasses dont even know anything i mean they jump on the damn wagon after the supposed "manhunt" murder because the kid accused had a copy of the game in the bedroom ok he and the victim were underaged but the police found out it was to do with drugs. but the dmbass parents were in a uproar and on the news whining oh this game is violent andi ts easy for my to obtain from a shop..i mean hello your a bloody adult you idiot. i swear this world is becoming flooded with stupid people...they need a culling season

mack10
mack10

'I think its rating of Teen could be a bit on the low side and Blair....has a point. As unfortunate as it is, people, especially teenagers are affected (be it in a negative or positive way) by games, and bully can only make matters for some people worse. This type of game will encourage bullying and the such...I say make it atleast rated Mature - although it doesn't matter in most cases since most people who want to play it will get their hands on it anyways. Oh well, I hope they start rating their games with a stricter hand, but its easier said by me since I'm an "adult"...I think...anyway, I'm off to buy Bully...

weffer
weffer

Lot of negative stuff, and all he said was that he would have a meeting!

bigammer915
bigammer915

Why Bully not Postal or manhunt or something?

futs22
futs22

Playing violent games = violent behavior. Sheesh! That' all you hear nowadays. How about watching violent TV shows = violent behavior. When was the last time you heard that? And are TV shows or movies today any more less violent. Tell me how smashing a guy with a steel chair or sledgehammer in a wrestling match is not violent. You can argue that WWE shows are not real and are scripted but games are also not real. Duh! I guess living in first-world, first-rate countries has its "perks".

2deluxe
2deluxe

I thought the British are far more liberal than Americans? All this fuss for this game? This game is PG-13 material for crying out loud. One of the tamer R* games, the violent crashes and acts of crime you can do in Midnight Club are far more extreme lol!

ChucklesMginty
ChucklesMginty

Now you American's know what it' like to have to live here....

Omihalcon
Omihalcon

These people have too much free time...

Ace-Geno
Ace-Geno

jezzus christ.......there where there are and there gonna be more worser game then this.....will jack thompson and his anti-game protester lay of it already! Mann where they when Lesuire Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude was out, that game actcually had sex in it........but I guess that was alright.....right..........? : /

_Sam_
_Sam_

parents should be more aware of this, and be more involved, not government IMO

madmalz
madmalz

"aggressive use of baseball bats"?! What the hell is THAT supposed to mean? Resident Evil 4 has aggressive use of chainsaws and no one complained about that being given a 15 rating.

kairnz
kairnz

Games are just fantasies. If you can't differentiate real life and fantasy, YOU are not sane.

xion2k4
xion2k4

i think if the parents sat down and explained games to kids then whats the proplem i've been playing violet games since i was wrongn 18 movies my parents just told me those things arn't real an that was the end of that

xion2k4
xion2k4

i think if the parents sat down and explained games to kids then whats the proplem i've been playing violet games since i was young. 18 movies, my parents just told me those things arn't real an that was the end of that

sizzlemebacon2
sizzlemebacon2

too tell the teuth I've played Bully and not only is it a fun gameit's not really anything that should be getting banned if you ban this game you might as well ban MGS3 for giving you the ability to kill people (but I hope know one does).

tekmojo
tekmojo

too late to censor now, just watch one night of TV lol!!

reddlibra69
reddlibra69

Only A week mined person will aloud A GAME, MOVIE, and (or) T.V. SHOW or ANY DAMN BODY HOW DID NOT TAKE THE TIME TO RESEARCH ANY OF THE ABOVE! It's that when one zelot nut job say it some think it's the true! People you need to check this stuff out before they start with this s**t!

genevieveklyne
genevieveklyne

( I can't believe I got censorred for talking about censorship. Thanks Gamespot ) Stupid people do stupid things when they see stupid things being done. This is a no brainer. Stop saying that video games don't cause violence, cause I know from experience that they do. That's not to say it's the videogame's fault. But don't tell me that there hasn't been one car-jacking (can I say Jacking?) because of GTA. Don't tell me Manson wasn't inspired to do the things he did by rock and roll. This happens. Accept that or we'll never move forward. It's not Televisions FAULT that little girls a more scantily dressed than ever, but I can garauntee that they'd be a lot less-so if TV never existed. I bet youth sex rates have gone up since the internet. Is that porn's fault? No. It's all of our faults. Society. And if Gaming companies want to be a part of this society then they should take into account where their resposabilities lie. Just like all of us. We expect a kid to know better than to threaten school mates with a bat right? Well I expect a developper to know better than to sell a kid that idea, too. F!

quietguy
quietguy

There will be a day when a black PM is elected in England... That will be a day of zOmg, and it will suck.... for video haters

The_Weekend
The_Weekend

What the hell ... i rather they spent time on the issues like terrorism and troops and cancer than this!

Kajama
Kajama

F*** this tony blair can just f*** off

juan99692k6
juan99692k6

I just don't know why they gotta pick on rockstar games all the time (except for San andreas) they got no reason to pick that game. talking about violence whan nowdays you have hundreds of war and violence games. why Rockstar why people?

manapsal
manapsal

Given the link between video games and their propensity to encourage violence, that has been demonstrated in some research WHAT? this has never been proven at all, hell some studies disprove this idiotic myth Other items on the agenda of today's Prime Minister's Question Time included the withdrawal schedule for British troops in Iraq, waiting times for cancer patients in the National Health Service (NHS), and support and funding for victims of terrorist attacks. because video games are as important as war in Iraq, cancer, and terrorism

genevieveklyne
genevieveklyne

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]