Nerf Darts and Bullets

If you’ve played the video game “Borderlands,” then you probably enjoyed it. You might even think it’s “really good.”

I think it’s just okay.

I get that it’s an RPG and that the main point is to grind up the levels and scour the lands for fat loot (phat lewt). I get it, and in some ways I enjoy that. What I don’t enjoy is the feeling that any enemies that are a higher level than me enjoy the perks of not caring that I’m shooting them.

I get disappointed when I unload multiple clips into a single baddy and he’s unfazed. When I shoot someone (in a game) I want them to feel the pain of that bullet (in the game). Their body should respond in a way that says: “I’ve been shot by a bullet and I am responding accordingly.”

Take a shooter like Rainbow Six or Killing Floor. When  I shoot a terrorist’s face in Rainbow Six, he dies. And maybe his body flails backwards, you know? In that flaily sort of way we all enjoy.  When I shoot a zombie’s face in Killing Floor, his head explodes. It’s got weight to it. It’s visceral.

It’s not just that the guns don’t insta-kill everything, though. There’s more to it than that. My wife and I played through Earth Defense Force 2017 on multiple difficulties, and both of us have thoroughly enjoyed it, despite having to shoot alien bugs and spaceships several times.

The problem is that shooting anything in Borderlands feels too much like I need to put my hand in front of the barrel to make sure something’s coming out. Even a rocket blast has no stopping power in the game. A rocket blast? nothing? Right.

The point is, when  I play a game that simulates firing weapons at other living (and undead) creatures, I don’t want it to be simulating the kind of weapon I could get away with actually firing at living creatures. Nerf guns do not belong in video games because a Nerf gun is made to simulate shooting a gun.

Why would I want a simulated experience of a simulated experience of shooting a gun?

But, like I said, Borderlands is still an okay game.

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