MANILA, Philippines - Following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the US National Rifle Association (NRA) has been staunchly against gun control, putting forth the blame for the shooting on everything from television to video games, but not the guns themselves.
But the NRA may have made an ill-timed statement regarding responsible gun ownership, as word is spreading that the NRA has come out with its own video game app for iOS devices one month after the Sandy Hook shooting.
As of this writing, NRA: Practice Range is a free app meant for users aged 4 and up. The game is free, supporting itself through microtransactions, such as the purchase of additional types of guns at a cost of US$0.99 for each new gun type.
The game is meant to be a sort of responsible training app for gun use, as the violence in the app is debatable. Users can only shoot targets in a number of modes, and loading screens explaining proper gun ownership and the merits of the NRA are part of the presentation.
While most knee-jerk reactions may be to lambast the app itself or the NRA, gaming news website Kotaku has an additional take, courtesy of game designer and scholar Ian Bogost. As Bogost explains, the status of NRA: Practice Range as an educational app fits a certain message NRA supporters want to espouse. "It also serves a rhetorical function as a PR-baiting tool," he adds.
"For example," Bogost explains, "when game devs (developers) and critics call the game 'terrible,' as some have done, the NRA can simply respond that our community must only want to partake of the violent uses of firearms, and that's why we are unable to appreciate a firing range simulator."
Hi @fmork, the NRA app is to promote gun safety, not "for kids aged 4+"— MEDL Mobile (@medlmobile) January 14, 2013
Kotaku's report also notes a tweet by MEDL Mobile, the developers of the app, in which they state that the game is meant to promote gun safety, and is "not for kids aged 4+." This seems to contradict the description on the iOS store page. - Rappler.com