10 reasons why Bully was one of the greatest video games of the last ten years
Rockstar Games made the Grand Theft Auto series, sure, and while that series changed the face of gaming as we know it by making entire living, breathing cities out of nothing, perhaps the best sleeper hit was a little game called Bully.
Released in 2006, the game is essentially about a young boy going to a boarding school. That fact alone is why many slept on the game – indeed, many of the people I’ve asked have at most a bare recollection of the game even existing –yet Bully was about a lot more. It was almost like an ant farm that you had to unite and then overcome by being just a single ant; your character, Jimmy, starts out as a regular pupil. He goes to class. He interacts with the people in his dorm. For much of the first hour you play it you’re simply doing tasks. This, too, is where I think it failed a lot of people.
The boarding school aspect is perhaps what turned most people off, one can imagine. Most people who play video games have never known or will never know what a boarding school is like, nor does it sound as “fun” as blowing up cars in Grand Theft Auto. Yet the boarding school atmosphere is what made the game actually work best – the longer you play, the more the setting sucks you in.
The longer you played, the seasons would change. By the time fall rolls around, people at the school shift into heavier clothes. People taunt you for wearing the wrong clothes. You have to go to classes if you want to learn information to help you advance quicker in the game. For instance, the better you do in English class, the better you’ll do at talking to girls. It’s details like these that made the game a real winner.
Somewhere between Animal House and Catcher In The Rye, Bully was a fantastic game; easily on par with such heavyweights as Bioshock or the GTA Series, it’s in a category entirely its own. We’ve collected some of our other favorite reasons why it was one of the greatest games of the last decade below, but if Rockstar is reading, put out Bully 2 already, or at the very least put the original out for Mac or iPhone.
1. You could romance girls at the school, which took time and effort. It could sometimes have the effect of making other characters jealous.
2. Just like real life, you could kiss boys, too, if you really wanted to. A few of the boys in the school wanted presents from you.
3. Your character looked a lot like Bobby from King Of The Hill.
4. You could beat up jocks after you learned some fighting moves.
5. Town-wide bike races? Sure why not.
6. With the Wii version, you took full advantage of the nunchucks by using them as both fists (for hand to hand combat) and as a relatively operational slingshot.
7. Tired of beating up on jocks? You could always pick on the nerds.
8. The game featured a fully operational carnival, which you could take dates to, win them prizes, ride rides together, or watch a freak-show.
9. The plot. The best thing about this game is the winding, school-year long plot that has a vast amount of levels, achievements, and mini-games hidden throughout. The voicework is impeccable as is the score by musician Shawn Lee. From the Halloween episode to the Football team story arc, it’s a great, great game that has a second life somewhere if people are willing to dust it off.