If blood-drenched first-person shooters are gun porn, then NRA Gun Club is an after-school special. While its lineup of firearms runs to over 100 different pistols, shotguns, and rifles, it contents itself with presenting nothing more than the mundane realities of modern-day gun ownership.
The entirety of NRA Gun Club revolves around shooting target objects, whether they're traditional scoring sheets, clay pigeons, circular bits of metal, beer cans, bottles, or a dart board. The only course that'll get your pulse above an afternoon nap is the tactical simulation, with its positive and negative scoring markers; you don't even get the tension of shooting two-dimensional cardboard terrorists while sparing laminated grannies. Even the thought of the bloodshed that can result from improper use of guns has been sanitized out of the experience.
If you're hell-bent on introducing your children to firearms for some reason, as many families apparently are, one could understand how the emphasis on responsibility and knowledge in the game could be useful, though its hard to imagine this disc retaining anyone's interest for long. The darts and bowling mini-games are more fun than the certification mode's endless plinking and skeet shooting, but we're talking about a half hour's worth of entertainment at the most generous.
Worse, to call the graphics dated is being pathologically kind, and yet that doesn't prevent some areas from showing slow-down that hampers aiming. The gun sound effects might be realistic - each firearm sounds different, at least - but you'll often hear the sound of metal on metal that indicates a hit, and yet not get credit for it in the scoring. And since when can you put a 9mm bullet between touching beer cans?
The feeling you get from holding an actual weapon in your hand might grant some intoxicating sense of power, putting as it does the power to end a life in your hands. Of course, the same could be said of a hammer, and we have thus far been spared the introduction of carpentry simulations that fill their load screens with hard-hat tips to prevent the accidental braining of coworkers. NRA Gun Club may be useful for demystifying gun ownership for wannabe weekend warriors, but it sure as hell doesn't qualify as much of a game. Even with its sub-$20 price tag, NRA Gun Club is just too overwhelmingly dull to take seriously.