Over the last few years, people keep talking about Rockstar’s Bully. Was another entry canceled for the last generation’s platforms? Did GTA Online hint at a sequel? Could Bully 2 appear in 2020? While we wait and wonder, maybe we should do something a little more productive. By that, I mean celebrate the original Bully and maybe replay it, rather than constantly think about what could be next and if more will ever appear.
The Good Kind of Bully.
Bully’s name is rather misleading, as you really aren’t some aggressive bully preying on the weak and making life worse for people around you. It’s honestly the opposite. Players follow Jimmy Hopkins, a kid dropped off at the Bullworth Academy boarding school by his mom and new stepdad for a year. Though, he has been expelled seven times before and is no angel, Jimmy has the opportunity to do a lot of good while he goes ahead and tries to basically become the big man on campus.
Bullworth is a school divided, filled with cliques that are fighting. Jimmy ends up going from group to group, proving himself and gradually taking control of the different people at school. At the same time, this is generally making life better for everyone. It’s an interesting look at dynamics and can be one of the more thoughtful Rockstar games, due to the character growth we see throughout the adventure.
Making Learning Fun
As you would expect from a Rockstar game, sticking to the main storyline is only part of the fun in Bully. It can really feel like a fully functional school life at times. For example, there are classes Jimmy can attend. These are minigames that, if you attend and complete them, end up getting you different sorts of rewards. Art, English, Chemistry, Gym, Photography, and Shop were in the base game, and Biology, Geography, Math, and Music were added in the Scholarship and Anniversary Editions of the game.
You can ditch class, sure. It’s an option. The penalties for doing so aren’t too severe. You can be just busted if you’re caught skipping. But, the benefits to going are just too good. Sure, cutting math might seem appealing. It involves actual math and only gives you cosmetic rewards like a “Shut Your Pi-Hole” shirt. If you want to get involved with the Yearbook, you need Photography. To make better chemistry set items, like stink bombs, you need to pass Chemistry.
There’s also the romantic element. Jimmy can start kissing other students after he starts taking and passing Art classes. The higher the class level, the greater the health bonus. Also, Jimmy can kiss some of the male students, as one from each clique will accept his affections.
Saved by the Bell?
Who knows if we will ever see another Bully. It is very possible we won’t and that Rockstar is more consumed with other ideas. However, we can take solace in knowing it is playable on pretty much every recent PlayStation console. It debuted on the PS2. Then, it showed up as a PS2 Classic for $9.99 on the PS3 and $14.99 on the PS4. We’re covered.