A few weeks ago, National Rifle Association vice president Wayne LaPierre suggested that video games might be to blame for the December 14, 2012, Sandy Hook massacre.
Now, as U.S. Vice President Joe Biden meets with video game industry representatives to discuss the issue of violence in games, the NRA has released its own iOS shooting game — for players aged 4 and up.
The game is called NRA: Practice Range. Unlike violent console-based shooters like Far Cry 3, Killzone 3, and Gears of War 3, it doesn’t feature any human (or humanoid) targets. Instead, players blast away at the kinds of targets one sees at a real-life shooting range.
It appears that’s why the game has been made available for players as young as 4.
Defending the game against critics is Gun Owners of America director of communications Eric Pratt.
“What a kid would see with this is no different than what a kid would see if his mom or dad took him to the shooting range,” Pratt reportedly said.
“They should be teaching gun safety and gun education in schools … Even with an app like this to help people learn how to shoot straight because when they grow up and become adults, they’re going to have to protect their homes.”
It’s hard not to wonder how the NRA can point fingers at video game developers while releasing its own shooting game. And while NRA: Practice Range isn’t nearly as violent as most first-person shooters, those games are hardly marketed at four-year-olds.
This isn’t the first time the NRA has made a splash in the video game world. Back in 2006 it released a similar game for the PlayStation 2 called Gun Club.