It’s hard for me to imagine any other company besides Rockstar and Bethesda to an extent emerging as the definite videogame developers of the early to late 2000’s. Bethesda with two Elder Scrolls games and their re-imagining of the Fallout games with Fallout 3, and Rockstar with GTA: Vice City, GTA: San Andreas, Bully, The Warriors, GTA IV, Midnight Club, Red Dead to an extent ( Revolver.) , GTA III, and Manhunt.
Rockstar not only popularized the open world genre with GTA III in 2001 and it’s siblings in the 3D era ( III, San Andreas, Vice City.) , but the controversy through most of Rockstar’s Games would put most, if not all of the games up and center into people’s lifes. For most people, GTA is their favorite Rockstar property, or Red Dead Redemption, my favorite property from Rockstar is Bully and the two Red Dead games. I still believe that Bully is Rockstar’s strongest title from the PS2 / Xbox era. Here are my reasons.
Bully released worldwide in October of 2006, and was published by the now defunct Rockstar Vancouver. You played as Jimmy, a new student at Bullworth Academy in New England and he arrives fresh to the academy. He then must be acquired to attend classes and making friends all across the school, but he gains the attention of Gary Smith and he brings him in under his wing, doing mischief things and fighting the school’s bullies. Then Gary makes Jimmy fight Russell and Gary betrays Jimmy, and from then on, the plot goes further. Simple, right? So what makes Bully a Masterpiece in my eyes?
A year before BioShock would stun everybody with a twist in the middle of the story and would become one of the best games in the decade, and of all time. Rockstar did something so original and fresh, that it became beloved and a cult classic title from the era, and of course one of my favorite games of all time. The plot of Bully is so simple that I love it and the characters are iconic and the setting of Bullworth is so iconic as well that it creates memories when you think of Bully. And don’t forget, the Gameplay.
I believe the gameplay, alongside the characters and the setting made Bully Bully to an extent, if that is understandable. The gameplay acquired Jimmy to attend classes and if you were late, you were late, that was it. And you could skateboard or walk around the Academy, and of course you could cause mischief, the combat was equally inspired by the combat of the Warriors, another Rockstar game which is equally one of my favorite games of all time. The majority of Bully is a mix between exploring, attending classes, and of course the combat.
Bully is a very unique game, it was a very fun game to say the least. It’s hard to deny how unique and fun Bully is. Even with the Scholarship Edition that released 3 years later, in 2008, it was still remarkably fun and unique.
I think games are unique in all sorts of ways, but Bully I must say is rightfully unique in the space that we call videogames. We never got a game like Bully, much like L.A Noire in 2011 was rightfully unique, Bully achieved that for it’s time.
That’s why I think Rockstar is a unique game developer and every game they touch is gold and becomes something of a cult classic. But Bully is the game that stands out of Rockstar’s portfolio. I hope one day, there is a Bully 2 because often times, we don’t get a game like Bully that often.