In September, Take-Two Interactive surprised many when it revealed that its forthcoming high-school-based game Bully would be rated T for Teen. After all, the game had been dubbed a "Columbine simulator" by antigame activist Jack Thompson, in reference to the 1999 school massacre, and was being published by Take-Two subbrand Rockstar Games, which had historically specialized in M-for-Mature-rated games.
However, just because Bully is getting a T rating by the Entertainment Software Ratings Software Board (ESRB) doesn't mean it's out of the woods yet. Today, Thompson announced that he had won a "historic" victory in a Miami-Dade Circuit Court. According to the attorney, who has a history of aggressive self-promotion, "Judge Ronald Friedman entered an historic order directing Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., to provide the Court with a copy of the violent video game Bully 'before close of business' ... Thursday, October 12."
Thompson, referring to himself in the third person, went on to describe what Judge Friedman's order entailed. "The Judge further ordered that the game will be played in his presence, in chambers, with Miami attorney Jack Thompson present, if he wants to be there (he will be there) so der (sic) that Judge Friedman can ascertain whether the game should be sold to minors," said Thompson. "The Judge indicated that he will take however long it takes to see the game played in its entirety."
Due to the hour, attempts to confirm the judge's order directly with the Miami-Dade County Court were unsuccessful as of press time. However, several other news outlets, including Gamepolitics.com and the fan site Destructoid, which blogged the hearing, confirmed Thompson's report of Judge Friedman's ruling. (Note: Destructoid's site was intermittently down as of press time.)
Bully is set to hit PlayStation 2s next Tuesday, October 17. An Xbox version of the game was canceled earlier this year.