Controversy ensued as many thought this was training players to commit mass murder and terrorism while the developers argued that their goal was to evoke the horror of terrorism. A scriptwriter for the game reportedly said the intent was to make the scene "upsetting, disturbing, but also something people would relate to
Initial game footage features Chris Redfield, a white male, cutting down scores of African zombies, which critics argued played into colonialist notions of Africans as "savages" that must be controlled by the "white man." Another scene later in the game was seen as having strong rape insinuations as a group of male African zombies are seen dragging a white woman off to be "infected." However, others have disagreed: a senior lecturer at the University of Kent opined that the game had an "anti-colonialist" theme, and the the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) ruled that there was "no issue around racism" in the game.
Bully allows users to play as James "Jimmy" Hopkins, a school trouble maker who must complete a series of "minigames," such as world scrambles.
The game was seen by many as a "Grand Theft Auto for kids" that glorified bullying and antisocial behavior in school. Lawyer Jack Thompson went so far as to claim the game was a "Columbine simulator," training kids to exact revenge through violence. Jimmy's ability to sexually harass girls and even kiss a boy only served to increase the furor over the game.