Farhad Manjoo at Salon has a writeup on Bully, a game we're sure to hear more about now that Joe Lieberman has nagged his way into a fourth term and Hillary needs some wedge issues. The game by the makers of Grand Theft Auto and the Warriors isn't violent or explicitly sexual—a judge who reviewed the game judged it less salacious than what appears on prime time TV. That isn't enough for scolds.
Critics allege, however, that even if "Bully" is less graphically violent than other things kids might play, watch or listen to, its specific storyline sounds alarm bells. Among the social messages that a player might take away from the game is that a good way to handle bullies is to fight back. That's a dangerous lesson, says Barbara Coloroso, author of "The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander," a kind of self-help book for victimized kids and their parents. What Coloroso—who lives in Littleton, Colo.—worries about is "the bullied bully who strikes back" after years of being taunted. "And when you begin to look at Eric and Dylan, you see that's what happened," she says, referring to the 1999 shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, which has become the trump card for the anti-"Bully" lobby.
Back in 2003, Jesse Walker looked at the birth of video games as an artful medium.