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Plugged In

NRA releases target practice game app

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NRA: Practice Range (Credit: NRA)

In the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, CT, the National Rifle Association squarely pointed a finger of blame at the video game industry. But that isn’t stopping them from releasing their very own game.

On Monday the group released NRA: Practice Range, an iOS app that’s rated not for mature users, but for anyone ages 4 and up.

An officially licensed NRA product, the app "strikes the right balance of gaming and safety education, allowing you to enjoy the most authentic experience possible," says its description.

Players can choose from nine weapons – ranging from handguns to sniper rifles – and use them at a 3D-shooting range. They also have access to educational materials and safety tips.

Not surprisingly, reaction to the NRA’s game has been mixed. Supporters of the group have praised it, but many users feel it to be hypocritical.

“Is this some kind of sick joke?” wrote user Papershipsonfire. “The NRA complains about violent games and then releases one a week later. Sure you’re not shooting humans but does it really matter?”

Beyond the political implications, it appears the game itself is a dud.

“The App Store could use a solid target practice app - especially for free,” writes IGN. “Unfortunately NRA: Practice Range is not that game. The default accelerometer controls are barely functional [and] graphical and sound elements seem unfinished.”

NRA chief Wayne LaPierre minced no words in condemning the game industry during the group’s public statement following the Sandy Hook tragedy, calling it "a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells and sows violence against its own people, through vicious, violent video games."

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