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    jp's Bully (PS2)

    [April 11, 2008 08:28:35 PM]
    70.29% completion and a wee bit over 18 hours of gameplay.


    I've just realized that I've been playing this game, on and off again, for almost a year. Now, that may either speak to my overall stubbornness (...a true possibility) or to the fact that this game can be engaging over a long period of time in addition to being very friendly to pick up. Ie. although at times I realized that I had to re-learn the controls, it was pretty easy to get back into things, pick up from where I left off, and get a general sense of where I was in the game. You don't see that in a lot of games!

    The more I think about it, the more I realize that I've really enjoyed this game. Yes, I could come up with a pretty long list of "game design flaws" (more like improvements to be honest), and I did find a few things a little bit annoying. But overall, in the grand scheme of things, it was fun, engaging, quite funny at times, and interesting.

    Most of all, I think that I've really enjoyed the fact that the game was able to stay "fresh" over this amount of time. Fresh, while at the same time familiar enough so as not to be a pain. Ie, familiar controls, and that sort of thing.
    These past few days I've ridden around on a moped, mowed lawns, thrown apples, popped wheelies, snuck into a chemical plant, and got a lot of tattoos. (this last one I couldn't believe! Is it legal for kids to get tattoos? I just though it was pretty cool that you could in the game...) I still feel that I could play for another 10 hours and discover more places and things to enjoy.

    A friend of mine is waiting to hear my "explanation" on why I've been playing and enjoying Bully. I guess my GameLog will have to do. :-)

    My next problem is what to play now... ;-)
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    [April 8, 2008 08:06:22 PM]
    I folded and bought another controller. There was a cheap-o controller on clearance at Target so, for $7 I felt I might as well go for it.

    The good news is that I was able to finish the Fun House mission. The bad news is that my original controller might not be in perfect condition. I now know that R3 doesn't work on it, but I've begun to wonder if there might be problems elsewhere?

    The first thing I decided to try out was the Shop class challenge. I had tried it three times before and always failed. I wish there was some way to practice it, because, while I understand the intstructions I simply haven't been able to get it. Not even once. Not even the first "instruction". (rotate the left analog stick clockwise). Grrr.

    I also completed a few of the town bike races which was a nice change of pace. I thought I would get a new trophy for each one on the windowsill in my room, but that was not to be the case. I did, however, get a new "hat" (biking helmet) and jersey. I decided to wear the helmt because I thought it looked cool but apparently EVERYONE in the school didn't. Man was I laughed at. Pretty cool overall. Ironically, the next mission I tried was called something like "Dressed for Success". Heh!

    In all, I've been enjoying this game a lot, and having just finished Chapter 4 I'm wondering where it will all go (at the end of Chapter 4 you beat up the jocks, and now effectively "rule" the school). I'm also curious as to why GTA III (and Vice City and San Andreas) get so much (positive) attention when Bully clearly deserves some. If nothing else, Rockstar clearly demonstrates that it's got the "formula" figured out for this type of game, and it can apply it in settings where crime isn't necessarily the whole point.
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    [April 6, 2008 04:53:03 PM]
    I think that I might actually be stuck.

    I'm on a mission called "Funhouse Fun". As far as I know, I have to get inside the funhouse (after making my way there). Everything was fine until I had to walk up a ramp. At the end of a ramp is a little hole and I assumed I had to crouch down in order to make my way through.

    I really had no idea how to crouch, so I brought up the controls menu and took a look. Sure enough, you can crouch by pressing R3. No problem, except that it didn't work. Didn't crouch.

    Uh oh. I guess my controller is kind of wonky? I don't have another PS2 controller so I assume that I'm stuck. I won't be able to get past that mission.

    Now, the curious thing is that I decided to work on another mission instead: Galloway Away. This mission was surprised me for two reasons. The first is that it involved sneaking into an asylum! (I had flashbacks to the last time I played Silent Hill, to be honest, though fortunately it wasn't as creepy as that). Second, there are part of the mission where Jimmy (the character you control) crouches automatically! I spent half the time inside the asylum involuntarily (but fortunately) crouching....hmm... and here I am stuck on another mission because I can't crouch.

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    [February 10, 2008 12:26:54 PM]
    I only realized last night that I've been playing this game, a little bit at a time, for quite a few months now (since July '07) to be more precise. The fact that I can do this without being completely overwhelmed by having to remember what was going on in the game serves as testament to how well it's designed. This game's design goes out of its way to help you get on track, if you want to, with it's main story and goals. Also, while it provides plenty of things for you to do "on your own", there is no lack of "main-game" activity. I've just started Chapter IV with a completion rate in the low 40% range and have completed just shy of 50 missions. That's a lot of missions! But, for the most part, they are short and sweet. I know that I can sit down with this game for an hour and finish 2-3 missions including a few repeats and failures. I feel that I can always count on making some progress, which I guess is one of the reasons why I still keep on playing.

    On another note, I've also been surprised by the number of things you can do. Just last night I discovered that:

    (1) You can make and throw snowballs (when there is snow)
    (2) When on the skateboard, if you get close enough to a car, you can grab it and hitch a ride.
    (3) Your room in the boy's dorm accumulates "trophies" of many of your in-game exploits and actions. (yes, I JUST noticed this). These include: Signed pictures on the wall of girls you've kissed, trophy from a bicycle race, solar system model hanging form the ceiling, boxing gloves, and a ton more!
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    [January 12, 2008 11:44:17 PM]
    One of the hardest things about getting back into a game you haven't played in a loooong time is trying to remember what you were doing and what you're supposed to do next. In this sense Bully does a pretty good job of making it easy to find a mission to do and letting you get ahead with it. In my case, I've also completely forgotten the controls so I've had to retry a few missions more than once simply because I can't remember how to zoom/aim/fire the slingshot and things like that.

    I've recently done a few missions where I had to get something from somebody. In both cases, the "target" was marked and when I walked up to them I wasn't given any cue as to what to press in order to ask for the item I was looking for. The controls menu indicated that triangle was for grapple/interact so I figured I would try that. Needless to say I ended up grappling people I just wanted to talk to which was annoying, however I soon realized that I was effectively supposed to beat these people up and steal whatever I needed. This was actually a big disappointment for me! I've been enjoying the fact that in Bully, a lot of the time, you actually protect other kids from bullies (as opposed to being one yourself). However, I was let down that there was no other choice in this matter. The "correct" thing to do was effectively beat up and steal. Kind of like Grand Theft Auto Jr. if you ask me... :-(
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    [September 13, 2007 08:14:36 AM]
    The other night I played some more. Finished chapter 2 in fact! I'm not sure how many chapters are left but I suspect that it might be 2 or so. In terms of cliques/factions in the school, I think there are only three (nerds, rich kids, greasers), but I might be mistaken. Aren't jocks/cheerleaders a typical high school clique?

    Chapter 2 involved "defeating" the rich kids and there are some issues there I thought were interesting:

    1. The rich kids "hang out" is the local boxing club...which I thought was kind of strange. Isn't boxing a "poor man's" sport to some extent? I don't mean that there isn't big bucks in boxing, on the contrary, it's just that I've never thought of rich kids interesting in practicing boxing! The last mission was, in fact, a showdown in the ring against the rich kid's tough guy (followed by beating up everybody else as well).

    2. I've noticed that african american kids are represented in all the different factions of the school. I'm glad that Rockstar decided not to go along with THAT racist stereotype! Yes, anyone can be rich, nerd, etc. (actually, now that I think about it, I'm not sure that I've seen african american greasers...).

    Also, given the fact that I've just started a new chapter, I've been wondering where this is all going. In most games, the protagonist has some motivation or "plan" and then you play your way to to them. Ie, wants revenge on those who did something, wants to be the toughest crook in town, wants to be rich and famous.

    With this game, I'm not so sure what's going on. What motivates and drives Jimmy to do what he does? Of course, a lot of interpretation surrounding his actions is up to me, as a player to decide. So, if I like to spend time fighting with kids and vandalizing the school- well, we know that Jimmy has problems at home and so on. However, what drives Jimmy to befriend the nerds, beatdown the rich kids, and so on?

    Is he looking to be "The Godfather" of the school? Not so sure. Jimmy has an ex-friend who DOES want that (can't remember his name right now), but I get the sense that Jimmy would rather be left alone and out of it. He always seems to get involved against his will, though since he might be a nice guy deep down, he ends up helping out.

    So, where will it all end? I facedown with his ex-buddy who now hates his guts? I'm not so sure that will be all that satisfying dramatically... maybe I just want Jimmy to overcome his issues with his mother?
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    [September 5, 2007 10:10:23 PM]
    Picked this up again the other night after more than a month. (at least!)

    I was pleasantly surprised. After a few minutes of confusion (I punched a few students I meant to talk to and stuff like that) I was back in the middle of everything! Going to class, vandalizing private property (I accidentally discovered you can smash windows on cars) and learning that there is more to the world of Bully than I had originally imagined.

    Basically, I had assumed that the game took place mainly in the school. There is a whole town outside (I knew this) which is much bigger than I thought! All the rich kids live in nice mansions nearby (visited those, and destroyed some garden gnomes). I even have a "clubhouse" of my own. (a new savepoint closer to town).

    In all I felt it was a pretty productive session. Finished some missions, discovered new places, met some new people (didn't make any friends though). The usual. I guess. :-)
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    [July 26, 2007 08:34:21 PM]
    I've finished the first chapter of the game and I have to say that I was a bit disappointed by how drastically the tables were turned. Those kids that would mercilessly hunt me down are now suddenly acting as if they're my best friends ever. Maybe things really are like that, but I definitely feel that they're all a bunch of hypocrites. However I guess this is part of the point.

    In this second half I'm finally allowed to leave the school and go into town. I feel like I haven't even learned my way around the school and here I am being asked to not get lost in town! I'm a bit overwhelmed, but the change of scenery feels good. Neat little details that really make the experience? I've gotten a kick out of hearing adults walking around town tell me that I ought to be in school and not playing hooky! Awesome!

    Another thing, I went out on a (first) date with a girl to the local carnival. You're supposed to win enough tickets so you can get her a stuffed teddy bear. You get tickets by playing carnival games. So, I tried my hand at the first one and really, really bombed. So, I start to get nervous. Oh man, I'm not going to make it...I won't be able to get the teddy bear...I'm nervous, hands are sweating! This is almost like the real thing, except for the fact that I'm not nervous about what the girl will think of me! She doesn't care that I bombed a few carnival games in a row, I'm worried that I'll run out of time before I can get the tickets!

    From a game design perspective it's hard to get this right. I'm not sure how I would have tackled the issue. The experience was generating the right feelings (nervous, like on a first date), though the reason was not (worried about not having enough time to complete task, rather than cause a good impression). Maybe the goal was too literal? Anyways, I still think this whole section is brilliant, especially how you can hold hands with the girl when you get close to her, and if you walk carefully, you can walk around with her!
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    [July 13, 2007 08:08:53 AM]
    I've played a little over 2 hours of Bully and I'm enjoying myself despite the initial frustrations I've had. Before I started playing I had decided that I wanted to try to play as nice a kid as possible. I wanted to be the protector of the defenseless. I didn't want to have to fight, only fight back. Well, it turns out that you can't do that. At times, you have to be mean and nasty, and I don't quite like that...even though the game is fun overall.

    However, what's surprised me the most is how transparent you can see GTAIII's legacy on this game. Simply put, this game IS GTA even though you don't drive a car...isn't that strange? I'm not quite sure why that is, I need to think about it a bit more, but I think it has to do with the way that missions are structured and presented to the player.
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    jp's Bully (PS2)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Friday 6 July, 2007

    GameLog closed on: Friday 11 April, 2008

    jp's opinion and rating for this game

    Sort of like Harry Potter meets Grand Theft Auto without cars or magic. Very satisfying. I really enjoyed playing this, a little bit at a time.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

    Related Links

    See jp's page

    See info on Bully

    More GameLogs
    other GameLogs for this Game
    1 : Bully (PS2) by dmullig2 (rating: 5)
    2 : Bully (PS2) by Kool-aid! (rating: 4)
    3 : Bully (PS2) by KrepNatas (rating: 4)


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