Young protesters came to New York City Tuesday, massing outside the SoHo offices of a video-game maker about to release a "Columbine-like" game called "Bully." (search)
Carrying banners reading "President Bush, save the youth, don't let us down," more than 150 kids from Peaceaholics (search), a not-for-profit mentoring organization, came from Washington, D.C., to the offices of Rockstar Games (search).
"A lot of youth are playing these games and there's a lot of violence that people are copying," said Cordero Sellers, 16. "I'm trying to do my best to stop this release."
The company, which earlier created the violent, controversial "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas," (search) is about to issue "Bully," featuring a high-school student who gets picked on but turns the tide on his tormenters — with extreme violence against other students and teachers, say the protesters.
It is a scenario similar to the April 1999 Columbine High School massacre in Colorado, in which two students killed 12 classmates, a teacher and themselves.
The protesters demanded an audience with Rockstar officials, but no one from the company came out.
"It's important that we're here today because violent images seen on games are copied by kids," said Anthony Ford, 17.
"We're trying to stop people getting hurt before it's too late."
Florida lawyer and anti-violence activist John Thompson accompanied the kids.
"Columbine changed the face of America but you [Rockstar] are about to come out with a game that celebrates, glamorizes and trains kids to do what [Columbine killers] Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris did," said Thompson.
"Bullying is not a subject for a video game. We are not asking Rockstar to stop making this game, we are demanding they stop."
Rockstar is keeping details of the plot a closely guarded secret but describes it as "humorous" and "tongue in cheek."
The company states on its Web site: "As a troublesome schoolboy, you'll stand up to bullies, get picked on by teachers, play pranks on malicious kids, win or lose the girl and ultimately learn to navigate the obstacles of the fictitious reform school Bullworth Academy."
The game is due to be released for Xbox and Playstation 2 in October.
A security guard at Rockstar's office on Broadway said: "There is nobody available for comment and that is that."
The company did not return phone calls from The Post.