Published January 15, 2013
Riding shotgun on its belief that video games lead to real-life violent acts like the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, the National Rifle Association today released Practice Range, a casual first-person shooter for the iPhone and iPad.
The game’s App Store description says the download promotes gun safety, training and education, and appropriately, game play focuses on shooting non-human targets such as skeet and moving bull's-eyes.
There are three games and three difficulty levels to choose from: Indoor Range, Outdoor Range, and Skeet Shoot at skill levels of Shakey, HotShot, and DeadEye. We took pot shots on the Indoor and Outdoor Ranges on the Shakey skill level.
Turns out we weren't as shaky as the game's overly sensitive controls. Practice Run includes control settings that either use the accelerometer and gyroscope or more traditional navigators such as an on-screen dial to control aiming. Both controls were a bit sensitive and led us to miss a few targets, but with practice players could easily become crack-shots.
Buried within loading screens and in the settings menu are links to NRA Institute for Legislative Action web pages with more details on hunting seasons, 2nd Amendment rights, and current gun legislation changes. There are also gun facts on each loading screen, including Fact #2, pictured below.
Fact #4 details a children’s gun-safety program.
During a December press conference to respond to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre introduced a new gun initiative by saying, “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” He then blamed video games for informing an atmosphere of violence:
“There exists in this country, sadly, a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells and stows violence against its own people. Through vicious, violent video games with names like ‘Bullet Storm,’ ‘Grand Theft Auto,’ ‘Mortal Combat,’ and ‘Splatterhouse.’”
Practice Range may not feature violence like some of the above titles, but it still makes a game of shooting automatic weapons.