Bully

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Bully Game Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Intimidation game in a high school setting.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 27 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 76 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Most violence in game is sparked by others (such as bullies); but there's quite a bit of mischief, too.

Violence

Mainly fistfights, but you can also use weapons such as a slingshot, baseball bat, fire extinguisher. There is no blood or killing.

Sex

Sexual innuendos and remarks, kissing, homosexual kiss -- but nothing graphic.

Language

Some occasional swearing, lots of taunting, but not gratuitious.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some characters, such as a homeless man, are inebriated in the game.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this game is about bullying behavior in a school setting. There is plenty of psychological brutality and physical violence. Weapons include a baseball bat, garbage can lid, and fire extinguisher but there are no guns, blood, or gore. The game contains some sexual remarks and alcohol references; depending on the path taken, the main character can kiss another boy. The game does include consequences for misdeeds.

Wondering if Bully is OK for your kids?

Set preferences and get age-appropriate recommendations with Common Sense Media Plus. Join now

Continue reading Show less

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byStormLordOfAllParent February 18, 2015

Be Careful

When I heard about the premise of this game I was a bit on the worried side. I thought that this game had some messages that I wouldn't want my kids to he... Continue reading
Parent of a 18+-year-old Written byCaryum January 15, 2020

One of the best games I have ever played

This game is made by Rockstar Games the creators of Red dead Redemption and the Grand Theft Auto series. Know some of you parents might think I should not get t... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byJ.C. Aldridge April 3, 2020

Rated 13 (frequent violence and intimidation, imitable actions, moderate language).

SEX/NUDITY - Some casual sexual innuendo, as well as the ability to "make out" with other female students, although this has no overt sexual detail. V... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written bygabe_derp February 3, 2020

A game you really shouldn’t take at face value.

The title “Bully” is a bit misleading for a game like this.

This game was developed by Rockstar Vancouver and published by Rockstar in 2006. Cautious parents w... Continue reading

What's it about?

BULLY follows a troubled teenager, Jimmy Hopkins, who's been expelled from every school he's ever attended; his mother and new stepfather decide it's best he spend a year at the toughest boarding school in the country. Fifteen-year-old Hopkins must survive at Bullworth Academy by climbing up the social ladder, avoiding bullies or confronting them with moves or pranks of his own, and outsmarting the corrupt Bullworth faculty and student body. Bully lets the player roam around a huge map (bustling with people you can interact with) and take on dozens of missions as you work your way up to ruling the school. As you protect yourself from bullying students who don't like the new guy, you can use fisticuffs or a slingshot or other weapons you may find on the grounds; the game contains no blood and victims, who usually instigate these attacks, lie moaning on the ground when defeated.

Is it any good?

Hoopla aside, Bully is an extremely well-produced debut title from Rockstar Vancouver, but one main issue is the frequent and sometimes lengthy load times. This, however, is likely due to the technical limits of the aging PlayStation 2 platform.

Overall, Bully is a fun, fresh, and lengthy single-player adventure for older teenagers and adults. This "Teen"-rated game does contain some violence, as well as foul language and crude humor -- so it's not for young children -- but those overly concerned about this PlayStation 2 game need not be. While the game isn't as controversial as many feared it would be, it will still push a few buttons for its rebellious attitude. But, after all, this is what Rockstar Games does -- and does well at that.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about school violence. How should you deal with bullies in the real world? Should you walk away or fight back? If you try to be a good person in a world full of bullies, are you rewarded? You can ask your kids why they want to play a game that simulates rough behavior when bullying is a real part of daily life. Does it help them cope or give vicarious pleasure?

Game details

  • Platforms: PlayStation 2
  • Price: $39.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: Rockstar Games
  • Release date: October 27, 2006
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • ESRB rating: T for crude humor, language, sexual themes, use of alcohol and tobacco, violence
  • Last updated: August 25, 2016

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate