Talk about a killer app.
A new iPhone app that simulates gunfire and other weapon noises blasted its way into the App Store Monday, kicking off the countdown to the almost-inevitable first tragedy spawned by this ill-conceived product.
The so-called Bang! Bang! app features a picture of a gun – and “fires” when the user, holding the iPhone horizontally, tilts the device forward with a motion that mimics shooting a real pistol.
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The gunshots sound real enough – that’s because they were taken from “Cinema quality effects sourced from Oscar-Winning Sound Designers,” boasts RnSK Softronics and Damabia, the folks responsible for the $1.99 app.
“Experience the sweet release you can only get from a finely crafted firearm – a firearm so smooth and well-balanced it feels like an extension of your own hand,” notes the Web site ad copy.
“The details are astounding...you don’t just hear a ‘bang’...you hear casings hit door flaps and hit the ground, trailing echoes from your last bullet fired and even the ‘clunk’ of loading an individual shotgun shell.”
Perhaps the most amazing thing about Bang! Bang! is that Apple let it in the App Store. Meanwhile, the App Store recently rejected the “Obama Trampoline” game, which pokes fun at the president and other top politicians. That program, at least, provided a few laughs, but there’s nothing funny about guns.
For all the techie brainpower behind Bang! Bang!, common sense – and perhaps common decency – got tossed into the sewer like a smoking gun.
Paint your own horror scenario: Teenagers are playing cops and robbers with their iPhones on a dimly lit street. Real cops respond to what sounds like bullets…
Some municipalities have banned or have pushed to ban realistic-looking toy guns, but they probably never anticipated anything like Bang! Bang!
Defenders of the app are likely to argue that it’s a harmless novelty. But the novelty will wear off instantly with the first drop of blood shed because of an iGun.
Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multi-media NYCity News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is the former City Editor of the New York Daily News, where he started as a reporter in 1992.