Making fun of Bullying
Published: Thursday, October 25, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 25, 2012 08:10
Philip Bishop was a self-proclaimed “nerd” who was often bullied and teased during his high school years.
Now a visiting professor in the USF Honors College, Bishop and a group of his friends have made a game of it — literally.
“High School!! The Game of Surviving Public Education” allows players to select a character from a lineup of humorous high school stereotypes — Choir geek, Computer Nerd, Occult Nerd and Band Geek.
After bestowing the characters with certain abilities and disabilities such as high speed and low brawn, players compete on a modular board to earn the highest GPA, all while being dealt damage cards such as “Lost Homework” and “Hot for Teacher.”
But while Bishop said he takes bullying seriously, the game has helped him personally.
“This is our catharsis,” he said. “We’re not attempting to make light of this serious issue. Making this game helped us deal with a lot of the traumas we’d been through. It’s a way to move forward.” Bishop said he hated highschool. “I was a nerdy-type — academically minded, science-oriented,” he said. “I was in Brain Bowl, I was A.P. Honors, everything like that, and the kids universally loathed me because of that. I knew all the answers in class even though I was sleeping in class — that sort of thing. I had a tough time in high school. It was a series of people picking on me.”
During his junior year of high school, he said he started taking gym class seriously, lifting weights frequently.
“Suddenly the bullying stopped,”
Bishop said. “That’s what it took for me — to go bulk up a little bit.”
Bishop took his horrific high school experience and turned it into something constructive and upbeat -— something that would emulate a typical schoolday.
“You have to make choices,” he said. “Do I try and boost my own GPA or do I try to hinder the GPA of the person who is winning?”
Players are able to boost their GPA during “classroom periods” of the game, but may lose points when it comes to “lunch,” “P.E,” or the dreaded “Hallway,” where the majority of bullying, and point loss occurs.
Bishop and his friends are trying to raise $35,000 through Kickstarter to create the game, which will cost about $60 a piece to create, if they create 500.
So far they have raised close to $1,000 from 13 donors who could choose incentives for different amounts of donations. Donors will all become a part of the game with options of their names listed as a supporter for $2, to being flown to Tampa, put up in a hotel and having Bishop and his fellow game creators cook a meal for them after which being permitted to serve the creators with an “atomic wedgie” for $4,000.
Bishop isn’t sure if high school students themselves will buy the game.
“A member of my staff told me ‘I don’t think anyone in high school will play this game,’” Bishop said with a smile. “They play this game everyday.”