3Dogfights Are Visually Unimpressive
After Iceman's wingman gets shot down, Maverick is sent in to help save the day. The result is a sick-ass dogfight with the planes flying all around each other and blowing crap up while Kenny Loggins hollers lyrics about danger and highways because nobody told him that this was a jet movie. (Or more likely, because you can't pay Kenny Loggins enough to care. About anything. Dude's a total nihilist.)
"What did I just fucking tell you about clapping while I'm trying to work?"
Unfortunately, in modern dogfighting, even the "up close and personal" battles still deal with distances of several miles. The short-distance missile that most U.S. fighter jets use is the Sidewinder, which still has a minimum range of 0.6 miles. That's right: Their "emergency shotgun" close-distance weapon is still only good at more than a half-mile away. Most fights are across much larger distances than that. In 1989, two F-14s shot down two Libyan MiGs. The closest they got to each other was 1.5 nautical miles, and that was only after the missiles shot from 14 nautical miles missed. To give you a sense of perspective, here's what it looked like in Top Gun:
Looks like all that womp rat practice finally paid off.
And here's that same plane as it would look through the HUD of a fighter, 1.5 miles away:
Damn, game designers could get away with using way fewer pixels.
Somehow, it doesn't seem quite as pulse-pounding when the bad guy you're battling to the death could be mistaken for a stubborn piece of dirt on the windscreen.
And remember: That speck is close range.
"Far range" is not visible to the naked eye, and that's what most aerial battles look like: Something shows up on a computer, a jet fires a missile at seemingly nothing and then, a few minutes later, something blows up somewhere that you cannot see. It's less like "high-stakes plane jockeying" and more like "filing a request for death" that another department, miles away, might or might not grant.
2Machine Guns Are the Premature Ejaculators of the Gun World
Let's let Professor John Rambo explain the theoretical physics of machine gunnery in this scene from First Blood Part II:
The theory goes like this: You pull the trigger on a machine gun until the whole world turns into blood, and it is awesome. You can't argue with that; that's science.
After the first minute or so, provided that he had enough ammo to fire that long in the first place, Dr. John Rambo would find his monstrous murderection completely flaccid.
See, machine guns are designed more for brief covering fire and the occasional, precisely delivered packet of death. The M60 of Rambo fame up there can survive sustained fire at 100 rounds per minute. Which is awesome. But afterward, it will require breaking apart and changing the whole goddamn barrel. Yes, you read that correctly: Machine gunners have about a solid minute of constant ass-kicking, but afterward, they have to stop, break apart the machine gun and align and insert a brand new replacement barrel before continuing to be rad for precisely one more minute. And they do all this while in a combat zone. Under enemy fire. In the middle of a war zone.
It's not just Rambo's antiquated Vietnam vengeance equipment, either: The modern stuff doesn't work much better. Turns out that no amount of money can cool a 22-inch steel pipe fast enough to compensate for the hundreds of tiny explosions per minute happening inside of it. The M249 that replaced the M60 has a sustained fire rate close to Rambo's preferred power band (750 to 800 rounds per minute), provided that you change the barrels every, wait for it: Yep, every minute.
"And that's why we use handguns when hunting in the city. Much less downtime."
That's the longest a bitchin' machine gun fight could ever last in reality until everybody involved had to stop, pull out their iPhones and order up some new parts.