Thursday, February 11, 2010

Embarrassing admissions:

There has been discussion around the gunblogosphere on the topic of the "Call of Duty Effect". Herewith are some of my own embarrassing admissions, from before First Person Shooters had even been invented:
  • When I was 18 or 19, I thought the coolest pistol in the world was the VP70z, because it had an "18 shot clip".
  • Since there wasn't much difference in Top Secret between 9mm and .45, I knew that the Luger was obviously a much better pistol than the 1911, because it had a "bigger clip". Plus, it looked tough.
  • One time, back when I still knew everything, I was standing in the gun store on whose showcases I routinely left noseprints, and I interrupted a conversation between a customer and the counter guy to correct the customer on some trivial datum or terminology regarding SMG's and "silencers", only to be coldly informed that the customer in question worked down the road at Sionics and I should shut my piehole.

In retrospect, it would have been nice to have something as cool as Counterstrike to blame for my damnfoolishness.


alath said...

Another Top Secret oddity was that the only handgun that had markedly superior performance to any other handgun was, of all things, the Gryojet.

NMM1AFan said...

It's easy to forget that we all had to start somewhere.

I spend more time studying firearms than I ever did on studying my profession.

jimbob86 said...

The thing I remember from the best TOP Secret "campaigns" was that if you were in a fight, the first rule was to have a gun, as even a tiny .22 would do a lot more damage a lot faster than any other hand held weapon.....

.... the other thing was that teen age boys have no idea how difficult it would be to function normally with a GSW.

Anonymous said...

jimbob, oh, I don't know, a lot of teenagers right now are finding out in hellholes like Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa, or Chicago.

So, this is more of your "wargaming"?

Shootin' Buddy

Mikee said...

My son and his teen friends found a WWII game wherein the players can design the scenarios they enter. It was called Red Army or something like that. They enjoyed the sniping and mass attacks against the Nazi invaders.

I got my son a Mosin 91/30 and a Mosin 44 and we went shooting. His opinion of the game changed immediately after the first shot.

The game does not adequately convey the immense fireball resulting from milsurp AP ammo out of a 44, nor the bruising to the shoulder from an improper hold during firing, nor the difficulty of hitting something that is several hundred yards away with iron sights and pitted rifling.

And now he can shoot a WWII era boomenflashing kickerbackerer pretty darn well, along with programming computer games. As well as curse in Russian, but that the boys picked up by themselves, being boys and all.

Mikee said...

As a side note, I bought a tuna can of 7.62x54 with the rifles. The can cost ~$50 for 440 rounds. Between my son and I, with 3 Mosins to shoot, over 3 years of shooting, we still have about 300 rounds. Those rifles KICK.

Themadlemming said...

My love for ancient and medieval history began with D&D. My love for firearms and the modern military, though fueled by Top Secret, started with my parents and extended family.

Ken said...

In my callow youth I thought the Walther PPK was the ne plus ultra. (Cue jazzy theme music...)

Noah D said...

RE: Call of Duty effect: I'm waiting for the rise in sales of Winchester Model 1887s and hacksaws...

Bram said...

"Phased plasma rifle in the 40-watt range."

The Terminator effect.

Weer'd Beard said...

I thought people who felt the need to carry a gun with them were paranoid red-necks, and probably resulted from cousin's marrying, and nobody needed an AR-15 because the bullet was so powerful it would blow a deer apart if you took it hunting.

Also I knew what "full-Auto" was, but I didn't know what this "Semi-auto" business all the talking heads were talking about on the news. I asked Commie-Liberal Dad...he didn't know what it meant either. Since I'd just seen Robocop and his blinged up Beretta 93R, I decided that the 3-round burst feature of that gun was in fact Semi-Auto.

Hi, I'm Weer'd and I'm a recovering anti.

BTW after I learned some, but not much sense, I decided that .45 ACP would kill anything that walks and crawls with a single glance, but .223 would bounce off over-sized air molecules....but why did the military stop issuing M3s to troops????

Must be the magic .223 wounding bullet!

*sigh* we've all been there. And I'll probably say something really stupid today too!

John B said...

Y'all are nuts! The .45 is the be-all and end-all of handguns. Any .45 will qualify you as devout, but only the 1911 frames will put you at the right hand of God and John Moses Browning. Don't twit him about the Hi-Power, even the Master had his off days.

I'm joking in cast y'can't tell. :D

Anonymous said...

well, i ran right out to buy a Glock 7 made of porcelain on my 21st birthday.


Tam said...

Dude, that thing cost more than you make in a month. Everyone knew that.

Jason said...

Well, I never got a copy of Top Secret.

I got Twilight: 2000 instead. Everyone can be a Ranger! All weapons fire three-shot bursts, including revolvers! At least that's what I'm guessing since it always showed a six-shot revolver to have a capacity code of 2I.

Of course, they also talked about the M-16EZ kits handed out to state militias whereupon people personalized them with exquistely hand-carved wooden stocks. Only now is Fudd-izing an AR-15 possible for everyone. Hooray progress!

I'm still waiting for my Sandevistan reflex boosters, though. Come on, people, we've got three years left! Get to making with the empathy-shattering cybertech!

Hunsdon said...

VP70Z? Maybe not the coolest gun in the world, but one of the most prescient. Polymer framed, high cap crunchencruncher? (Drawing the distinction, of course, with the crunchenticker.) Squint hard enough, and you can see the VP70Z's spiritual descendants riding in holsters all over America. Of course, if it was my call, I'd rather see similarly evolved spiritual descendants of the P7 riding in holsters all over America, but there you go.

wv: antlenat Bumppo after a run-in with Bambi?

Tam said...

The idea was prescient, but the execution on the HiPoint & Koch left a lot to be desired. ;)

Atom Smasher said...

The James Bond RPG had the VP70 as standard issue for agents. Made me very happy in my pants as, like Tam, I had a real wood on for a space-looking pistol with 18 rounds, so my guy carried two of them. Plus extra mags. Undercover.

Neither me nor my buddy (who came from a hunting family even) had the vaguest idea at the time how much ammo weighs. If my undercover loadout was stretching the bounds, the assumptions we made for true combat oriented missions or games were nothing short of ridiculous.

Apropos of nothing:

Where do the Nazis keep their armies?

Why, in their *sleevies*.

Weer'd Beard said...

"The idea was prescient, but the execution on the HiPoint & Koch left a lot to be desired. ;)"

It was only recently that I realized that the VP70 was indeed a simple blowback pistol. I had just assumed it used something like the browning delayed blowback or something similar...then I looked it up and said "What the hell were they thinking??"

Tam said...

The trigger pull on those things redefines the term "wretched". You could tell VP70z owners by their Popeye-like right forearms caused by a pulling a trigger whose weight could be measured in Stone using whole numbers and which had a letoff almost exactly like those little plastic guns that launched the plastic discs.

Unknown said...

There was a time when I thought the Remington XP-100 in .221 Fireball was the coolest pistol in the world.

And I don't even have video games to blame for that.

Of course, I was five years old at the time.

(And I still want an XP-100 in .221 Fireball, if I can find one at a reasonable price. Nostalgia is a moron.)

Anonymous said...

In Top Secret the best handgun was the HP35 because the clip [sic] held 13 rounds! The Galil was .22 caliber too not the far superior 5.56mm.

In Twilight we fixed the capacity and upgraded the bad guys to use the same damage system the players used.

When we transitioned to GURPS I converted Twilight to those rules (twice; once for 3e and again for 4e).

Caleb said...

Thanks to primarily to Dirty Harry movies, I used to think that the beloved .357 Magnum round was a wussy round for little girls because real men carried .44 Magnums.

Kristophr said...

The VP-70 was supposed to be a removable stocked SMG. That was kinda cool.

The pistol version that made it into the US was kind meh ....

I had an opportunity to buy one back in 1982 ... I decided to get a full-auto Galil instead.

og said...

"Popeye-like right forearms"

Hell, I always thought that was from holding up the "Linda Ronstadt - Living in the USA" album cover with their left hand.

Spent most of my teens looking like Fiddler Crab for that very reason.

Jason said...

All I can say, though, is that I'm glad I'm not gaming anymore. The supplements were killing my bank account. Giving that up has freed up my money for the latest in USPSA-approved shooting gear-- waiiiiit a minute...

wv: hiled: what you find in your bloodstream after rolling around an indoor range floor for eight hours a day, three years straight.

Master Shake said...

Oh, man did that bring back memories! When I was a teenage gun newb palying Top Secret, my high-speed low-drag "Operator" would show up with a French MAT-49 SMG cuz I thought the mag folding up under the barrel was awesome. Imagine some SWAT/FBI/Anti-terror agent showing up today with a French SMG. They'd laugh him out of the service!

Of course my buddy wielding dual .50 Desert Eagles was a few years ahead of his time, but Hollywood soon caught up. Good times. Today I just try to keep my mouth shut when I go into a gun store. :-)

Jay said...

When I was a kid (Nixon was in office) and went out with my uncle to shoot I was shocked the sound of rifle fire didn't go "Pingggg" like it did in Gunsmoke.

Felice Luftschein said...

I figured out how to do an anti-tank rifle in Car Wars when I was a wee lad of 13 or so, sent the stats in to Steve Jackson Games and was happy to see it appear in AutoDuel Quarterly. I guess I was ahead of my time...back then the idea of a .50 single shot wasn't pervasive in RPGs.


ExurbanKevin said...

My group knew the ballistics charts in the original Top Secret stunk, that's why we made our own.

And that was nothing compared to the horror of "Mercenaries, Spies and Private Eyes": Go on, hit something at 200 yards with a rifle in that game. I dares ya!

One of the nicer thing about the James Bond game was the *killer* supplements: The Q Manual and Thrilling Locations were the gold standard in how game supplements should be made.

One of my gaming friends (Hi Wayne!) was a gun nut as well, and he turned me on to the joys of the real thing. I'd grown up shooting gophers with a .22, but there was something about getting ahold of a handgun that got me hooked the first time I tried it.
First Traveller/Twilight 2000, now this. Did I wander in to by mistake? :)

Tam said...

Did anyone else ever play Phoenix Command?

TJP said...

Thanks to Dirty Harry movies, I thought the recoil of the .44 Magnum was bad. No one warned me about pocket .380s with alloy frames.

I like to barge in on LAN parties and ask if anyone wants to trade his BFG-9000 for some gigabits or something.

Geodkyt said...

No, but I scammed the Phoenix Command gun book when rewriting the T:2K (1st Ed) stuff.

Canthros said...

I played Shadowrun for a while many moons ago. At the time, the game had, a curious distinction between silencers and suppressors. Service pistols had better penetrating power and equivalent wounding potential to assault rifles.

Their 'smartguns' were a lot cooler than the real thing, though.

WV: ummin
Did a lot of that when talking to girls. Still do, actually.

Anonymous said...

I had the belief that firing an automatic weapon held in one hand was a reasonable thing to do.

I'm glad I'm over that.


Anonymous said...

I was mostly a Traveller guy,

Powered armour, personal antigrav and and and FGMP-15 (That's Fusion Fun Man Portable, with integral AG recoil compensation.)

Kind of redefined 1 shot kill with that. ( As in look! a 1980's tank, FOOM. Next.)

However even then I realied thosae things must the kind of signature associated with large natural disasters and that might attract unwanted attention.

Also carried a Gauss Gun firing 10kps rounds when my character wanted to be discreet.

og said...

Top secret was a game!!!

As God is my witness I thought you were talking about this:

Noah D said...

Did anyone else ever play Phoenix Command?

Yep. Most 'realistic' firearm game ever. How realistic it was, I dunno. Never found it to be all that playable. The d1000 (not kidding, roll 3d10 - ones, tens, hundreds places) damage tables were a supplement all to themselves. With the angle of the hit and the penetration ratings, it would tell you what organs and bones the round was punching through.

We got a lot of laughs with that. I'll give Leading Edge kudos, though - they tried hard, and tried to explain 'realistic' gun combat to the gaming public, but they went overboard at times.

As for high-tech Traveller stuff, the 'modern' battlefield was pretty much instantly lethal to our rag-tag band of mercs and such. It was fun to play with TL15 battledress and a Trepida or two for a while, but zipping around the boonies with a few basic rifles (gauss, laser), a realistic amount of armor and some useful equipment (food, water and commo) made for better play. Then again, we were heavily story-driven. Comes from having older players, methinks.

Anonymous said...

> When I was 18 or 19, I thought the coolest pistol in the
> world was the VP70z, because it had an "18 shot clip".

> One time, back when I still knew everything,

This post hits a little too close to home.

I actually bought a VP-70 because

(1) It had an 18-shot magazine.

(2) It was a Heckler & Koch.

(3) The guy who sold it to me was a former Navy SEAL. So my friend always referred to it as "that SEAL gun."

This was before I learned to appreciate, or even understood the importance of, features like a decent trigger. Nor did I even understand the difference between blowback and the Browning recoil system. Given that I couldn't shoot worth crap back then, I don't suppose it made a difference at the time.

I can't say my opinions about firearms were ever formed by video games, but movies and TV?, oh my!

> The Terminator effect.

What first made me appreciate the 1911 was "Terminator 2," after having believed all the bad things I heard about the .45 from older co-workers who served in the Army in the 1970s and 1980s.

"Terminator 2" is the first movie I can think of where the actors were professionally and thoroughly trained in gun handling, and it shows.

> In my callow youth I thought the Walther PPK
> was the ne plus ultra.

Contrast with the old James Bond movies that were such an influence on my young mushy mind and taught me everything I needed to know about shooting at the age of 10. Watching them now makes me cringe. Thank you, Maurice Binder.

Now if I can just get one of those lever-action shotguns to go with my motorcycle, I'd be a happy camper.

Anonymous said...

I feel like I have to confess. I always thought guns were cool, but when I started playing Counterstrike, guns became AWESOME. That game is totally at fault for my current mini-arsenal.

Now, I mentioned a confession, and I'm not going to disappoint. Playing Counterstrike, hit 21 years of age, guess what my first pistol was? A USP. God help me, and JMB forgive me.

Kristophr said...

That's OK, you probably bought a couple 1911s for what you sold the USP to some other newb for.

Michael Bane said...

I'm confused...I still think the VP70z is the coolest pistol in the world...I'd kill to have one!

Michael B

Tam said...


First shop I worked at, I told the owner all about my long-time lust for the VP70. He's like "You don't want one of those."

I'm like "Yeah, really I do."

"Okay," he says, "Follow me." We go to the safe in the back of the shop and he opens it and pulls out a stack of 3 HK boxes. "Which one do you want? $400."

That was when I found out about the wretched trigger and the super-heavy recoil spring. My teenage dreams dies that day in the back room of that shop. My dream gun didn't even feel as nicely made as the Glock 23 on my hip... :(

Tam said...

Er, "died" that day.

Noah D said...

Further confirming my total scifi geekhood:

In Aliens, the only sidearm you saw used was a VP70. But when you look in the Colonial Marines Technical Manual (one of the best 'setting' books ever), the standard sidearm for the USCMC? A relabeled M1911A1.!

(Then again, the M41A was a Thompson, and the smartgun was an MG42/M60...)