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How gaming made me: Love firearms

Ahh, guns. One of the most important ingredients in today’s FPS and boy, do I love the genre. Who doesn’t love the power and the freedom to wield a virtual firearm, while dispatching that Nazi Alien Terrorist and saving the world while you’re at it? And with all this shooting going around, I became naturally curious about the guns that I use in-game. I’d like to share my story about my love affair with guns. I must admit that Counter-Strike was my gateway drug to my love affair with firearms. At first I never bothered to learn the proper names of the guns and just kept calling my favorite weapon 4-3, which soon after I found out it was called the M4 Carbine. After playing a lot and getting owned most of the time, I decided to do some research on the real world counter-parts. I wanted to know why some weapons dealt more damage than the others, why some had higher recoil and some didn’t kick as hard, and why are there so much freaking pointy things that go bang. You could say curiosity got the best of me and I wanted answers to all these questions. From then on, I knew that the M4 carbine was a shorter variant of the M16 rifle,  why the M1 Garand made a pinging sound after the last round, why the 1911 superior in terms of stopping power and operability versus the M9 Berreta. I have become a proud Gun nut and began scrutinizing firearms in games.

It was like the blindfold was lifted from my eyes and I now saw firearms in video games in a different light. They didn’t seem as generic as how I once perceived them to be. Each weapon had its own characteristics, its own charm and its own personality. I now understood why some weapons were meant for certain situations--why a SMG (sub-machine gun) is better for CQB (Close Quarters Battle) situations as compared to an assault rifle. Obviously, apart from game balance, the rate of fire and the caliber of both weapons play a big role with their effectivity in CQB. Since the H&K MP5 fires the 9MM Parabellum round, the recoil of the weapon won’t be as harsh compared to the M4, which fires a larger caliber. With less recoil and the MP5’s compact design, an operator can keep up a sustained rate of fire while being accurate in small to medium distances--perfect for the CQB environment. Still don’t get the point?  

Firearms in video games have really come a long way as developers continue to strive to strike a balance between realism and fun. Iron sights, fire mode selection, weapon attachments and recoil are now staple to any modern shooter today. Developers like DICE, Bohemia Interactive and Tripwire have a more clear understanding--and I’d like to go as far as respect--for firearms, and it is evident in the games they make today.These developers, clearly understand how firearms work, and making it the gunplay feel right is an important aspect to their game design. Tripwire goes as far as to shoot all the weapons found in-game, and they were able to translate them well with Red Orchestra 2. DICE has military consultants working close with them. Heck, Bohemia makes simulations for the American, British, Candian and Australian army and they use it as a legitimate virtual training system. In terms of authenticity, I would safely put my bet with these guys. I myself am personally excited on the further development of shooters in the coming years, especially now with the core audience being more complex and competent thanks to the wealth of information provided by the Internet. And hopefully other developers will take the lead of a particular shooter that has been the rave of the community lately.

Please do share your thoughts on firearms. Looking forward to an interesting discussion on the forums.

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