January 12, 2007

Gaming

In general I'm not a fan of Santana. Not that he is without merit, he just never impressed me. In addition tunes like Black Magic Woman (which was a cover of the Fleetwood Mac tune) & Oye Como Va (which was a cover of a Tito Puente tune) have been overplayed to the point just pass nausea. But he does have a few tunes that I do like. One of them is Game of Love featuring Michelle Branch on vocals & she has always impressed me (& not just because she looks like a dark haired slightly taller version of a not-so-tall hot blonde that I know). The tune though has a lot going for it; good vocals, catchy melody, decent instrumentation, consistent flow, the vibe is appropriate with the subject matter, etc... But it's probably Branch's vocals that set the tune off for me. Her voice is strong yet smooth enough to not obscure the melody & she hasnít succumbed to the temptation to over-embellish.

"So please tell me why don't you come around no mo'
Cause right now I'm cryin' outside the door of your candy store"

The words in bold she hits with a very nice falsetto before lilting it back down to the range she was singing in previously. It has a very striking effect & honestly there were a few months where I could not get that part of the tune out of my head (so be ye warned. Arrr).

Anyway here's the vid (& here's a live version which I don't dig as much cause Santana screwed up the orchestration) & here are the lyrics.

Game of Love is unsurprisingly about a girl falling for a guy & wanting things to progress faster than they seem to be progressing. It equates love to being a game that's played for good or bad but a game that must be played to achieve the desired results. I can't say I disagree with the concept; we all play games in relationships whether we wish to or not. It's just human nature & despite having tried a few times before there are some things that you just can't get away from which lead me to think that the game analogy isn't too far off (even if said games are not intentionally or even consciously played).

But since this page isn't titled Dr. Pub or Dear Pub I'm going to talk about a different kind of game - games that are played intentionally & can benefit gunowners when they can't make it to the range; video games.

NRA High Power. I've discussed it before in the post High Power Primer. I haven't shot in a match since the fall of '05. I tried to go to 2 different ones last year but things didn't seem to work out. This year I might make a concerted effort to hit one or two but I'm not making any promises to myself over it. But when I can't make it to a match or to the range I have an outlet. It's not as good as being on the 600 yard line smelling the powder as you peer into a spotting scope & try to figure out how many clicks up or down will get you into the X ring but it's more enjoyable than trying to stop the Death Star. It's called (oddly enough) NRA High Power Competition.

Overall it's not bad as far as a video game goes. Actually it's closer to being a simulation than a game. There are a few things that aren't as cool as they could be though. In the game you get a view of the sights wit the target in the background. Maybe it's just my eyes but the scoring black has never looked that clearly defined in real life. Also the rifle will fire on the release of the space bar. They claim this is to simulate a two stage trigger but let's be real about this for a few. Last time I checked there wasn't 5 to 7 pounds of resistance in my space bar! But those two things aside it's a fun way to spend a morning when the local match has been called due to weather.

The benefits to the game are very easy to recognize; it teaches shooters the rules of High Power (which are sometimes tricky for folks to get used to) & it helps with sight alignment & adjustment. You learn what a proper sight picture is like & you learn what the adjustments for a particular rifle are supposed to be (key word; supposed). It obviously won't teach you much about trigger control, recoil management, proper shooting positions or proper sling use but you can't expect too much from software.

It also has an option to let you reload your own ammo for use in the matches. while again not a perfect real world comparable reloading experience it will give you an idea of the basics. Not so much the steps you must go through to reload (which are discussed here & here) but what the results can be depending upon how you vary the components (it even lets you adjust seating depth!).

A buddy of mine was in town a few months ago & we were both crunched for time so I ended up hanging out at the bar of his hotel for a few hours one evening. There was an arcade room across the hall & since we had been discussing the lack of time to make range trips I showed him a way I used to keep my meager handgun skills from totally dissipating; Area 51. The handguns used in the game aren't anything close to the heft or balance of any real firearm I know of & the trigger is always a mushy affair. But they have sights (which are sometimes indexed properly, but most times not) & you get some practice at either point shooting or flash sight picture shooting. It's no substitute for using an actual firearm but it will keep your eye-hand coordination up to a certain level.

There are some other games which concentrate more on tactics such as Medal of Honor & Call to Duty. The weapon handling aspects of those kind of games aren't as in depth or realistic as NRA High Power but they do give a better idea of what firing under pressure is all about. Besides; they're fun.

Again none are the same thing as being out on the range but they're a good supplement & much more enjoyable than a lot of games out there. If you can't make it to the range but have an hour or two then try out NRA High Power or one of the other first person shooter games. They won't improve your score at the next match but they might keep the basics fresh enough in your mind to keep from losing points. Or they just might prove to be fun.

Posted by Publicola at January 12, 2007 10:31 AM | TrackBack
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