Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Joe Scarborough is upset:

Well, you're right to be upset, Joe. But no, Joe -- extremists haven't suddenly taken the NRA hostage. This is what the NRA has been for about 35 years -- a period that covers your entire congressional career as an NRA backer. And yet no one ever leaves the NRA, with extremely rare exceptions. (A round of applause for you, Poppy Bush, although you quit years after you left office.)

But, yes, this is ridiculous -- although it's just the NRA being the NRA, imagining itself and the guns it champions as the embodiment of all that is true and good and nurturing in the world:
... Exactly one month after the Newtown school massacre, the National Rifle Association has launched a free iPhone and iPad shooting game offering kids as young as 4 a chance to fire guns at coffin-shaped targets.

The free game "NRA: Practice Range" is offered on iTunes and allows would-be snipers to choose a weapon to fire at an indoor gun range, an outdoor range or for skeet shooting practice.

The free guns include a Beretta M-9 handgun, a Colt M-16 assault rifle with 15-round clip or a Mossberg 500 pump-action shotgun.

For 99 cents extra, players can "unlock" higher-capacity guns similar to one Adam Lanza used in the Sandy Hook massacre, including AK-47 assault rifles and an M-11 sniper rifles.

The NRA says this is good for kids because it has the "right balance of gaming and safety education."

Oh, and:
Adding to the horror, Apple, whose credo is "enriching lives," approved the manufacturer's recommended age rating of 4 and up for the disturbing game.
Yes, this app got Apple's 4+ rating. As a point of comparison, Apple gave a 9+ rating -- not suitable for 4-to-8-year-olds -- to Amazing Ants:

Help these Hungry Ants bring fruit home. THEY NEED YOU!

Make these jumping ants FLY with Rocket Sticks, TUNNEL underground, FLOAT in soap bubbles, and BOUNCE off water sprinklers to get golden apples, luscious berries, mouth-watering peppermints and much more! Loaded with fun physics game play, challenging puzzles, and gorgeous graphics, Amazing Ants will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Also rated 9+: this Magic Video Effects app.

Magic Video Effects 9+ app provide nine camera filters to create funny videos, include: THIN, FAT, SHORT, TALL, WEIRD, CRAZY, SCARY, FUNNY, REALLY FUNNY, FALL DOWN ON THE FLOOR FUNNY, MULTIPLE PARTS, MISSING PARTS, HUGE PARTS, TOON OIL PAINT !!
OK, maybe I understand why Plants vs. Zombies is rated 9+ -- but it's too intense for little kids and the NRA app isn't? Apple, can you explain this?


Victor said...


Why wait until 4?
Why not, in vitro?

Since some states want to probe the vagina's of pregnant women who are thinking about having abortions, why not project shooting games onto the walls of the wombs of all women?

Let the little ones learn how to handle arms, while they're develping arms!

Unknown said...

Let get something straight:

Apple DOE NOT pick the age appropriateness rating - it is something assigned BY THE DEVELOPER (in this case whomever wrote that app for the NRA). Assigning an age level for an app is part of the app submission process.

If there's not a lot (or any) depictions of blood/gore or harm to realistic human or animal representations, an app can have a "4+" age designation.

Again, this is assigned by the developer, NOT Apple.

Apple uses it to assign the age guideline for the app, and that is all. There are LOTS of first person shooter type games on the iTunes app store, just as there are on the Google Play marketplace and other app stores.

Should any of these games be on any of these devices? That's a good debate topic, but don't blame Apple for this one..

Steve M. said...

Didn't Apple devise the questionnaire and the list of criteria that generate the ratings? If so, I still blame Apple.

Unknown said...

If by "Questionnaire" you mean a single list of radio buttons that list the age ratings and general criteria, of what it takes to meet then, then yes. However, the "ratings" consist of assertions about how much violence against realistic or animated human or animal characters there is (or crude humor/language, etc). If there is none (as appears to be the case with this NRA app) then a 4+ rating can be applied for.

It's internally consistent - if you look at the ratings system it does make sense and the NRA app seems to meet these criteria on iTunes and all of the other app store rating systems - there is no blood and gore in tis app.

Blame the NRA for being idiots to release this app at all - it takes ~2 weeks to get an app approved - they clearly submitted this AFTER Newtown - they knew full well what they were doing.

Steve M. said...

The categories are subject to interpretation. What's "fantasy violence"? What's a "fear theme"? What's a "mature/suggestive theme"? If Apple allows these to be determined on the honor system, and doesn't overrule some 100% self-imposed ratings, then that's Apple's fault.