If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Learn more.

Have You Played… Bully: Scholarship Edition?

Dog, Dog Eat

Rockstar get a lot of praise for their big creaking flagships, Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption. But I’ll be honest, y’all: neither series really grabbed me. I toyed with many a GTA, and I dabbled a bit in the rootin’ tootin’ wild west of RDR. But I didn’t finish any of them, eventually growing bored every time. A Rockstar game I did finish, however, was Bully.

Well, technically I completed Canis Canem Edit, the original PAL-region name for Rockstar’s rowdy schoolkid simulator. Canis canem edit is is Latin for “dog eat dog,” because that’s what cutthroat British boarding schools were like back in the day. Harry Potter's lovely jolly time is extremely inaccurate. Incidentally, the name change feels a bit like when they released Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone in the US and changed “Philosopher” to “Sorcerer”.

Anyway, Bully was properly good, and acted as a sort of wish fulfilment fantasy for me, having played it while I myself was still but a weak and frail child in secondary school. Despite the name, you’re not a bully in Bully, you’re a bully-bully, an elementary folk hero who, at times, stands up for the disenfranchised against various nefarious adolescent cliques, who are all in a war for dominance over Bullworth Academy. I was an autistic kid with spiky hair, a penchant for Dungeons & Dragons, and a “Librarian” pin on my jumper, so the prospect of blowing bullies the hell away with a potato cannon appealed somewhat, as I’m sure you can imagine.

Looking back now, the story is a little bit edgy in places, but largely I reckon it still holds up, so long as you contextualise some of the game’s problematic features as it being a game about the worst fictional boarding school in the US. It's also worth remembering that it comes from a studio that has a tumultuous track record when it comes to their depictions of women, and a reductive view of mental health (see: Gary, the main antagonist of the series).

But it’s a lot of fun to wheelie around on a BMX and throw eggs at the houses of garbage teachers, innit.

Join the Rock Paper Shotgun supporter program

Sign up today and get access to more articles like these, an ad-free reading experience, free gifts, and help us create more great writing about PC games.

See more information


We love having a friendly, positive and constructive community - you lot are great - and we want to keep it like that. Our main commenting rule is "be excellent to each other". Please see our code of conduct, where you can find out what "be excellent" means. TL;DR? Respect others, think before you post, and be prepared for puns.

More Features

Latest Articles

We've been talking, and we think that you should wear clothes

Total coincidence, but we sell some clothes

Rock Paper Shotgun Merch