July 29th, 2006

NRA-branded Shooter - Won't Someone Think of the Watermelons?

Gun control. Video game legislation.

They're both hotly debated. And while GP tries to not let his own political opinions show (much), one thing that's clear is that nobody ever shot anyone with a copy of Halo or GTA San Andreas.

Guns? Now they're another story. Nobody ever shot anyone without one of those.

And yet we continually hear about gamers "literally training to kill" and learning "cranial killing menus" from critics like Lt. Col. Dave Grossman and whatsizname down in Miami. Both have voiced the opinion that Paducah, Kentucky school shooter Michael Carneal taught himself marksmanship while playing DOOM.

And so it seems rather ironic that game publisher Crave is readying NRA Gun Club, a non-violent simulation that focuses on improving the player's shooting skills. Instead of aliens, World War II Nazi soldiers or zombies, the victims in Gun Club will include things like watermelons and paper targets.

More than 100 accurately-modeled guns are available in the game, including law enforcement and military weapons. A GameSpot preview calls NRA Gun Club "a first-person target shooting game with an interesting nonviolent, educational slant on guns... control seems to be limited to aiming, firing, zooming, and holding your breath while zooming to maintain a steady shot."

The NRA, of course, is a rather controversial organization itself, albeit a well-financed and highly politicized one.

So will a game designed to teach players how to shoot provoke the same kind of criticism spawned by titles in which shooting is largely abstracted?

NRA Gun Club is scheduled for October release on the PS2. It will carry an E-10 rating from the ESRB, with a content descriptor for "mild violence."

Thanks to GP reader Karsten Fouquaet for the heads-up on this one.