Bargain Bin Gaming- Episode Eight: Bully

ss_02“Bully” is a PS2 greatest hit and runs for 20 dollars brand new at most game outlets. It can be found as cheaply as $3.99 at however.

Your mother just remarried an old geezer and sent you off to boarding school, in hopes that you turn your little juvenile delinquent life around while she’s enjoying herself on her honeymoon. In this situation lie two choices. Do you turn your act around and try to be a productive member of society, or do you dive deeper into the pit of a lost teenager bent with rage and aggression with no real aspirations for attaining any future success?

As Keanu Reeves would say, ‘What do you do?’

It could be the plot of a movie, but instead it’s the situation the main character in Rockstar’s video game, “Bully,” finds himself in. Using this story as a background, Rockstar has found a way to combine the world of “Grand Theft Auto” with the one from the film, “The Dead Poet’s Society,” creating a game that is not only oozing with ’80s and ’90s pop culture, but one that is a blast to play and will remind you of how hard it was to find your way during your own high school years and what you did to make sense of it all.

While it’s obvious that anyone playing Bully would see a huge likeness to other games in Rockstar’s portfolio, such as “The Warriors,” “Manhunt “and the various “Grand Theft Auto” games, the game really goes out of its way to separate itself from the pack. Not only does Bully feature an original soundtrack, unlike many previous Rockstar games, it gives the gamer so many things to do during the course of the game that there never seems to be enough time to do it all, making the gamer come back every single day to get more done.

While it may be a stretch, even without a leveling up system, the type of gameplay that has been made famous by titles such as “Everquest” and “World of Warcraft” is definitely present in “Bully” because there are simply so many things to do in the game. First and foremost, our main character, Jimmy Hopkins, must go to class because truth be told, despite being an aspiring and eventual bully, he’s still a student. Going to class may seem a little tedious at first, but once the gamer sees that performing well in class has a real effect in the game, as performing well in gym class can make you a better fighter and passing English exams will help you talk your way out of trouble with the prefects, classes become more fun than mandatory.

Once you’re out of class, the mission-style gaming made famous in GTA dominates the gameplay experience, making you do everything from hiding your English teachers scotch bottles so he doesn’t get fired to walking girls home from class, providing a good balance from the mini-games you perform while in class. As a whole, Bully’s gameplay never really gets repetitive and while the controls may be a bit difficult at first, they eventually wind up becoming extremely intuitive and responsive after a few hours of gameplay.

When it’s all said and done, Bully is a hardcore gamers dream come true as its graphics, sound and gameplay are all top notch and extremely engaging and addictive. Jack Thompson may feel the game will turn you into a violent little miscreant and even though it probably will, that doesn’t mean it’s not a heck of a lot of fun to play and one of the best Playstation 2 games currently available.

About Patrick Hickey Jr. 10579 Articles
Patrick Hickey Jr. is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief, Master Jedi and Grand Pooh-bah of and is the author of the book, "The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews with Cult and Classic Video Game Developers," from leading academic and non-fiction publisher McFarland and Company. He is currently the Assistant Director of the Journalism Program at Kingsborough Community College and is a former News Editor at NBC Local Integrated Media and a National Video Games Writer at the late He has also had articles and photos published in The New York Times, The New York Daily News, Complex and The Syracuse Post-Standard. Love him. Read him.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply