As we reported a couple of days ago, the iOS game from the National Rifle Association (NRA), NRA: Practice Range, has been coming under fire from various media outlets and political organizations for being a shooting game that is rated for anyone four years of age and up.
Apparently, Apple heard some of the outcry, and revised the rating in the App Store, which now says the shooting game is “Rated 12+ for the following: Frequent/Intense Realistic Violence.”
Furthermore, a new petition on signon.org, a user-created petition site associated with political action group MoveOn.org, is calling for the game to be removed from the App Store completely, saying that “the app itself is shameless, insensitive and counterproductive, whether played by a 4-year-old or a teenager.” The petition finishes with a request to Apple to remove the app from the App Store.
The petition itself so far has 1,528 signatures of a total 2,000 sought as of the time of this writing. The iTunes app store has over 700 five star reviews, and close to 400 one star reviews, reflecting a clearly politicized consumer base. The total 1446 Ratings for the game are averaged, however, for a 3.5 star rating overall for this version.
While changing the rating for the game may have a limited effect, as many children download all sorts of games from the App store without any parental supervision, at least Apple took the step and changed the rating to something just a bit more realistic. However, there are plenty of games on iOS that use guns and violence to a greater extent than this NRA app does. Removing this one app, or even the slew of other apps that represent guns in a variety of gratuitous or responsible ways, will not change the real fact that our society is going through a significant discussion of guns and their role in our world. It’s only fitting that the App Store would reflect the larger societal concerns as it comes to have more and more visibility in our culture as a whole.