The critics, it seems, are lining up to rip Rockstar's upcoming Bully. GamePolitics has reported on several over the last week.
But a free speech advocate sees the game in a different light. In an interview with Rocky Mountain News reporter Brian Crecente (you may know him better as editor of Kotaku), Joan Bertin (left), executive director of the National Coalition Against Censorship, said, "This is plainly a new way to communicate messages, to tell stories and a new way to get people conversing with one another."
"(Video games) plainly have certain levels of subtlety that are not easily available to other genres. The story can move in a lot of different directions, depending on how you play it... I think that censorship is a kind of reaction that can occur across the board with regard to almost anything. It can be high art or low art, but it still gets the reaction it gets because someone finds it threatening or subversive or offensive."
Unlike most critics, Crecente reports that Bertin has seen Bully close-up during a visit to Rockstar. She compares the furor over the game to that surrounding the classic James Joyce novel Ulysses in its time.
"Ulysses was targeted because it had sex in it... it wasn't targeted because it was a great piece of literature. These (video games) are things not being assessed by their content or value; they are being assessed by the topics."
Bertin added that youth culture is often demonized.