Gun and Game — Hitman and the Hardballers


When I was a kid, I used to get PlayStation Magazine monthly, and included with the magazines would be a demo disk. For youngins in the room, a demo disk was a collection of video games that often offered a single level for the player to try the game out before they buy. One disk included the first level of Hitman 2 — Silent Assassin. I played the hell out of this demo. I loved it —  the guns, the stealth, the disguise mechanic, and of course, the AMT Hardballers.

Unfortunately, the game was rated, for you know, tons of violence, but also “Sexual Situations,” and my mom was not cool with a video game featuring any kind of “Sexual Situations.” She didn’t mind me tying a garrote around a man’s neck or blowing his brains out with a shotgun, but lord forbid poorly rendered, triangle-shaped boobs enter my vision.

Agent 47 with two suppressed 1911 pistols
Agent 47’s bald head and his 1911s are part of his character.

I did what every smart kid did and waited until my dad needed to run to the store and tagged along with some birthday money. I then put way too many hours into this game. After Hitman 2, I became a lifelong fan of the series…even the not-so-great ones. Throughout the series, the guns changed, but the AMT Hardballers were always present.

A Game of Names

Before we dive too deep into the gun and the game, let’s talk about the naming conventions. In the first Hitman game, the guns are known by their real name and identified as the AMT Hardballers. From there, the companies producing the games often fictionalized the names of real guns.

Sequels called the gun the Silverballers. Hitman 2, Hitman: Contracts, Hitman: Blood Money, and Hitman: Absolution called the guns the Silverballers. The latest games changed the name slights. Hitman, Hitman 2, and Hitman 3 call the guns the ICA Silverballers.

Overall they are the same guns Agent 47 has always used. They just changed the name along the way.

The Game — Hitman

The Hitman series is a combination of third-person shooter and stealth games. Some of the games allow you to enter first person, but the game still handles like a 3rd person shooter, kinda like the inverse of Skyrim where the third-person mode isn’t the way it’s supposed to control and feels funky.

You play as Agent 47. Agent 47 is a master assassin and a clone created by the mixed DNA of master criminals. Agent 47 takes contracts from the ICA, and his handler Diana directs him to his targets. Levels are quasi-open worlds that allow shooters to take a non-linear path through the game.

Agent 47 from Hitman video game posing with two 1911s over the shoulders
This not very practical pose sure looks neat.

Players were rewarded for stealth and could kill with guns, garrotes, knives, poisons, or even set accidents that would take the target out. The Hitman series allows you to make choices and choice matters. Choice makes the game fun and opens up replayability.

All the Guns

The games are absolutely full of guns. As a young gun nut, this made me ecstatic. To get a gun in your ‘armory,’ you had the end the level carrying it. I would hunt down every gun in the game and then replay the levels with different load-outs. Sometimes I would be stealthy and finish the levels with a suppressed AMT Hardballer. Other times I might take an M60 and cut down everyone in my way.

Regardless of the game’s weapon selection, Agent 47’s AMT Hardballer pistols were always present. They were the only thing shinier than Agent 47’s head.

HBM customized Hardballer
You could customize the guns in the game, and they could get silly.

Oddly enough, the games would punish you for using guns. Well, kind of. If you wanted to get the lauded Silent Assassin rating, you couldn’t use a firearm. You needed to cause ‘accidents’ or use the slow but stealthy garrote to get things done.

The AMT Hardballer pistols were impressive starting weapons. In fact, they are easily the best gun for most situations. Some guns had more power, some had higher capacity, but the AMT Hardballers were a good balance of the two. Some games using ragdoll physics allowed the AMT Hardballers to fling an opponent across a room.

It could kill bad guys in just a couple of shots and offered impressive range and a relatively high rate of fire with little recoil. Best yet, these guns could be dual-wielded, and you could easily chew your way through a gunfight against long-armed bad guys without issue.

Hitman Silverballer pistol, suppressed
From the first game to the latest the Hardballer has always been present.

Obviously, the big stainless pistols were quite stylish and made an impression in the game. They’ve become the calling card of Agent 47.

The AMT Hardballers in Real Life

In real life, the AMT Hardballers was a 1911 clone from a California-based company called Arcadia Machine and Tool. 1911s are a dime a dozen, but AMT was the first to make an entirely stainless steel pistol in the 1911 configuration. It’s a quasi custom gun that features adjustable sights, an extended safety, and a massive beavertail.

AMT stainless steel 1911 pistol
The Hardballer is only available on the used market. Check Guns.com (courtesy of Guns.com)

The AMT Hardballers gained their name because they were only designed to use ball ammunition. JHPs weren’t a big deal in 1977, but semi-wad cutters were. I’ve only handled one long slide AMT Hardballer, and it seemed to fire hollow points fine. I think the only issue it had was with semi-wadcutters. That’s a sample size of one, so take it for what you will.

The AMT Hardballer came in various configurations and calibers. There were compact models, longslide models, 10mm models, and more. The gun used by Agent 47 appears to be a standard government model Hardballers in 45 ACP.

AMT Hardballer stainless steel 1911 pistol
The first stainless 1911 remained stylish (courtesy of Guns.com)

Admittedly the 45 ACP would be easy to suppress. The 230-grain subsonic rounds are quite little critters when dispatched with a suppressor. The 1911 design is also massively popular, and they look cool. A decent part of video game design is looking cool.

They aren’t obnoxious like the Desert Eagle but aren’t plain black blocks of polymer and metal like a Glock. You make a 1911 stainless, and it looks fantastic in a video game, and even with crappy PS2 graphics, it stands out. However, these are big guns, and it would be hard to carry them hidden in a nice fitted suit.

AMT stainless steel 1911 pistol, left profile
Notice the large safety, adjustable sights, and beavertail (courtesy of Guns.com)

They don’t necessarily fit the role of a stealthy assassin, and maybe a smaller gun would be more practical.

Where to Get an AMT Hardballer

As I type this, Guns.com has one. They were discontinued in 2002, so the used market is the only route to take. There was nothing crazy about the Hardballer design, so you can take any stainless 1911 and make it fit. Also, don’t forget the famed Pachmyr Legend grips with Rosewood inlay.

Of course, you’ll need a threaded barrel and suppressor to make it so. Although, oddly, Agent 47’s guns don’t appear to have threaded barrels but wear suppressors on the fly. Remember, though, if you want that Silent Assassin rating, forego the guns and use your wits to hit your marks. Do you guys play the Hitman games?

Let me know below what you think about barcode tattoos, bald heads, and 1911s.

 



Source link

Author: Joey Webster

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *