This game is rated PEGI 16
Our review includes potentially triggering words:
Ignore All Content Warnings
Posted: 3 months ago, last updated 3 weeks ago.
You explore the school world as Jimmy, taking on tasks, getting into fights, committing vandalism and interacting with students and teachers to become more popular in the school's cliques: nerds, preppies, dropouts and jocks. Each has their own hangout spot and attire.
You attend courses with five increasingly difficult classes. These reward you with clothing and abilities to help your quests for school supremacy. English lets you apologise to authority figures. Chemistry grants you throwable weapons. Gym unlocks new fighting moves.
If you break the school rules, teachers and policemen will attempt to grab and subdue you. The more rules you break the harder authority figures try to catch you. Eventually you will be busted and restart at the nearest police station or the school principal's office without your weapons.
Over the years, Bully has been controversial. It has been criticised for glorifying or trivialising school bullying and its sexual (kissing) content. However, the game offers a captivating, cartoonish dip into the world of school hierarchy.
You can choose how to treat the other students in the school, and are encouraged not to be mean spirited. The consequences of your actions are clearly seen. If you aren't nice to people in the school you soon end up on your own. This is Ferris Bueller territory which is not only a lot of fun, but played in the right context can offer some helpful reflection about the impact of our actions on other people.
Content Rating: PEGI 16
Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds
Release Date: 17/10/2006, updated in 2016
Platforms: Android, PC, PS2, PS3, PS4, Wii, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS
Genres: Adventure, Fighting, Narrative, Open World and Role-Playing
Players: You can play with 2 players in the same room, but you can’t play it online. The game's multiplayer component, exclusive to Scholarship Edition on Wii and Xbox 360 and Anniversary Edition, has two players compete to gain the highest score in the same minigames used for classes. One player controls Jimmy, and the other Gary Smith.
Bully: Anniversary Edition
Bully: Scholarship Edition
Does not offer in-game purchases, 'loot boxes' or 'battle/season passes'. Different versions are available:
- Bully PS2 Classics Edition for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 offers smoother visuals and higher resolution.
- Bully The Scholarship Edition for Wii, Xbox 360 and PC add new missions, characters, school classes, and unlockable items and clothing. Some script changes were made and the voice acting improved.
- Bully Anniversary Edition is an updated version of The Scholarship Edition for Android and iOS.
Rated PEGI 16 for language and violence. There is no blood, although you can throw fireworks at people and spray them in the face with an aerosol.
As an older game, Bully was also rated BBFC 15. The BBFC offered further background: "It was immediately apparent that the content was nowhere near as strong as in the GTA series or Manhunt (18) and that the concerns that had been aired in the press were misplaced. Whilst it was fair to say that the game's values were somewhat confused, and while it was possible to partake in anti-social, destructive behaviour, it was not a celebration of bullying at all - indeed, Jimmy fights against the bullies.
But it wasn't completely straightforward: whilst Jimmy does stick up for some of the persecuted kids in the school, he also uses violence to deal with his problems. Just like GTA, the frequency of the violence is dependant on how the player chooses to play the game. If they want to be violent, the opportunity is there to do that.
For example, immediately after the opening scene, Jimmy is taunted by school bullies; he can retaliate by getting involved in a fight or he can ignore them and go to the Principal's office. However, being violent also has its consequences: if the player starts a fight, a meter builds up in the corner of the screen and, if it builds up too far, the school prefects immediately appear to take Jimmy away. Whilst they can sometimes be dodged and escaped from, it is extremely difficult to do - this mechanic serves as a strong in-game deterrent against being too violent because it makes progress through the game much harder."
ESRB TEEN for Animated Blood, Crude Humor, Language, Sexual Themes, Use of Alcohol and Tobacco, Violence.
Skill Rating: This game is enjoyed by 14+ year-olds as it's a good match for their ability and maturity. For teenagers comfortable with the content, Bully offers a Grand Theft Auto style experience but without the extreme settings and scenarios.
Our experts have hand-picked the following similar games for you. These offer a similar way to play to Bully or are games with a similar theme or topic. These are good alternative games to Bully, or are a younger rated alternative for players not ready for PEGI 16 or ESRB TEEN games.
Thank you for using our resource, supported by AskAboutGames, ParentZone and PlayAbility Initiative. We are editorially independent, written by parents for parents, but welcome sponsorship, partnership and suggestions. Email our editor for details on these opportunities.
The information on this database is designed to support and complement the in-depth discussion and advice about video game "addiction", violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. If you have any concerns or questions in these areas, email our editor who is quick to respond or can arrange for a one-to-one conversation.