An Anti-Bullying Video Game Where Mean Kids Become Demons

If you've ever been teased, it can seem like the human beings making your life miserable are monsters. The developers behind an in-development anti-harassment game are getting literal with that feeling, turning the bullies in Sumoboy into actual demons.

As the name Sumoboy suggests, lead character Oji isn't a buff, grizzled space war veteran. He's a chubby orphan tormented by jerky peers who finds out his parents are a spirit princess and a bulky martial arts warrior. The developers are calling Sumoboy the "first anti-bullying inspired video game" on Kickstarter and the proposed missions give a taste of the emotional bent of the design ideas:

Travel with Oji through each elemental realm and set things right. Convince an enormous tree to let go of his greed and calm the tormented soul of a monstrous catfish. Break the cycle of bullying among sky-dwelling dragons while helping a nymph find her voice. Will Oji defeat the ultimate bully and heal the emotional and physical damage done to Seishin? Can he help the poor spirits to discover their inner courage, and can Oji summon his own courage and unleash his potential as heir to the elements? Help Oji on his journey to find his strength and stand up for good!


Sumoboy looks like it'll have a lot of heart and a fetching art style that channels a hand-painted storybook aesthetic. The game's crowdfunding campaign—which aims to put Sumoboy on PCs first with consoles to possibly follow— launched today. You can lend your support right here.

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While games with anti-bullying messages are very important, something we should strive to remember is that many of us, especially in the gaming community, are sometimes bullies, brush bullies off as not really being a problem, or encourage bully-like behavior online against others for various reasons. We might use different names (like, "troll") but the effect can definitely be similar. And we do this all while knowing that bullying is bad, and many of us having been bullied before.

Games like Sumoboy are important, but it's also important to be introspective about bullying and what it means and how we might contribute to it. Honestly, I hope that's a message explored in the game.