Gamers and the people who make games are crazy about guns.
Visit a gaming shop and you'll see walls of boxes that feature, somewhere on them, guns.
Have the last five video games you've played included guns? Most of them, probably yes.
When we see a new game, we're often being told about guns. We get told how many guns are in a game — "millions!" is the biggest boast we've heard. We're told what these guns can do. This Halo is bringing back the pistol. That Medal of Honor is letting us shoot from the helicopter. Diddy Kong can help Donkey Kong, because Diddy has a gun that shoots peanuts.
When a gun in a game character's hand wasn't enough, a gun in each hand was a video game innovation. When that wasn't enough, well, Bayonetta put two more guns on her shoes.
The obsession of games and guns probably looks weird to the non-gamer, maybe even to some players. In the United States, the Second Amendment ensures a right to firearms that still doesn't compel the entire citizenry to own a pistol or rifle. Gamers, as a community, be they real-world gun owners or not, are more willing to exercise their right to bear virtual arms.
We shoot so much in games because shooting makes sense. So many games are about conflict, my character of pixels and polygons causing another character, maybe your character, to no longer exist. Guns are the most efficient way for representing that binary relationship at a distance. We've got a one here. A one there. Shoot. And that one there is now a zero.
But surely we also shoot out of some some pleasure at hearing the shot fired and seeing what it does to a virtual enemy. Some gamers love that gore. Others just love that cops-and-robbers victory, the sense that the other kid on the playground has been drenched with our Super Soaker or playfully knocked down from our imaginary shot.
This week, Kotaku will be all about guns. It's Gun Week, and we're looking at gaming's fixation with firearms.
You can expect all sorts of gun-related stories this week. We'll look at what game developers actually know about guns. We'll explore the history of headshots and talk to the man who may have invented them. You'll see how games are being used for cutting-edge training for the military, in ways that go beyond any game you've ever played. We will look back at the oldest guns in the medium and show you some of the newest innovations in gun gaming. We will, of course, skewer some of gaming's most absurd guns and highlight some of the best.
Arm yourself for Gun Week. It starts here.
Keep an eye on our Gun Week page for the rest of our stories.
Caption: Your author fires his first and only M16 rounds on an aircraft carrier somewhere in the Pacific Ocean in early 2001.