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Fla. judge to decide if 'Bully' game can be sold to minors

By The Associated Press
10.13.06

Editor's note: The Associated Press reported that Miami-Dade County Circuit Court Judge Ronald Friedman reviewed the game and said on Oct. 13 that he saw no reason to restrict sales and dismissed the complaint.

A circuit court judge in Florida said Oct. 11 that he would review the unreleased video game "Bully" to determine if it should be sold to consumers under age 18.

The review was ordered after a complaint filed in the 11th Judicial Circuit Court by attorney Jack Thompson, long an outspoken critic of the video-game industry. The complaint accuses "Bully" of being a "Columbine simulator" and inappropriate for children.

"Bully," scheduled to be released across the nation on Oct. 17 for the PlayStation 2 console, lets players act out the life of a 15-year-old student and decide how to deal with teachers and various social cliques at a boarding school.

"Bully" was created by Rockstar Games, known for its popular "Grand Theft Auto" crime sagas where players can choose to live by the rules or hijack cars and run down pedestrians.

A company spokesman had no immediate comment on the review.

In his complaint, Thompson said he was seeking to have the game's rating changed from "T," for teenagers age 13 and older. It also seeks to preemptively block the sale of the game in Florida by Rockstar's publisher, Take Two Interactive Software Inc., as well as retailers Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and GameStop Corp.

"How to plan your revenge and rehearse your bullying back strategies, that dynamic is something we don't need to be teaching," said Thompson, who hasn't seen or played the game.

Miami-Dade County Circuit Court Judge Ronald Friedman planned to begin reviewing the game yesterday in his chambers with the help of a representative from Take Two, said Vera Weisbrod, the judge's legal assistant.

She didn't know how long the process would take, but the game's creators have said completing it could take upward of 30 to 40 hours.

Rockstar was embroiled in a ratings controversy last year with its game "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" after a hacker uncovered a hidden sex scene.

The game, originally rated mature for players 17 and older, was changed to an adults-only rating by an industry-ratings group after the scene was disclosed. An updated version with the sex scene deleted was eventually distributed to retailers with a mature rating.


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