This one shouldn't have surprised me, but i'd never really thought about it before. The other day I saw a display rack for the game "Bully." It traces the adventures of a boarding school student as he deals with the challenges of the school's social structure.
The plotline (taken from Wikipedia) is as follows:
- Chapter 1: Making New Friends and Enemies: Jimmy comes to Bullworth Academy and immediately runs into trouble with the Bullies.
- Chapter 2: Rich Kid Blues: Jimmy is now more popular, but he must deal with the spoiled Preppies.
- Chapter 3: Love Makes the World Go Around: Jimmy gets mixed in with the love affairs of Lola and Johnny Vincent, leader of the Greasers.
- Chapter 4: A Healthy Mind is a Healthy Body and Other Lies: Jimmy decides to take on the Jocks, but he first needs to convince the Nerds to help him.
- Chapter 5: The Fall and Rise of Jimmy Hopkins, Aged 15: Jimmy, after briefly enjoying his power as king of Bullworth Academy, is expelled. He has to clear his name and get re-enrolled back into the Academy while regaining control of the cliques.
- Chapter 6: Endless Summer: Jimmy can tie up any loose ends, such as finishing races, finding collectibles, etc.
I've never seen a video game before based solely around the idea of school as a social battleground, although youth workers and others have seen it as such for some time. Whether it counts as a "good" game or not, hopefully it will help more people see that the challenges of adolescence are, for many teens, significant enough to warrant their own video game.
(The official website for the game can be found here, but the Wikipedia article is probably more helpful for evaluating the game's content.)