Type! For the love of all that is holy, type!
Even as I write this opening sentence, the keyboard is giving me flashbacks of the horrors I have witnessed. The “G” key mocks me; the “Z” key jeers at me. My fingers are mere bloody nubs.
You know what? I don’t even need to see the keys on my keyboard after the nightmare I just lived through. I can type just fine without them. *grabs a screwdriver and pries off every last key.*
It’s hard not to.
The Typing of the Dead is an educational tool used to horrify the player into being a cold, soulless typing machine, using the mechanics of The House of the Dead. In fact, when I first started playing the game, it seemed oddly similar to The House of the Dead II, except with “typing your enemy to death” replacing “shooting a gun”. In an insane turn of events, it turns out that’s exactly what this is: House of the Dead II, with a keyboard. The game was released for the Dreamcast, PC, and arcade. … Wait, arcade?
You can’t type your virginity away.
The gameplay is identical to THOTD, except for the addition of words or phrases that flash onto the screen, which you need to type in order to defeat the enemies. There is a boss battle at the end of every level that consists of several difficult words to be typed quickly and without error. The final boss even requires that the player type the entire script of Troll 2 in order to win. Subsequently, simply typing “the best film ever” over and over again will also do the trick.
Now, generally speaking, “learning” games suck. Let’s face it. People tend to stay away from any game that seeks to educate them in any way. But, is that really true? Who here liked Math Blaster? Oregon Trail, anyone? Maybe we simply don’t like to shit where we eat when it comes to gaming and learning. I liked Math Blaster because I got to play it at school! The concept of playing a videogame of any kind in an actual scholastic setting was so much of a mindfuck that I didn’t even realize it was math I was blasting. But I want my home gaming to be 100% entertainment.
If Frog Mario is swimming at 4.6 knots, and Big Bertha is awesome, solve for B.
But as far as TTOTD goes, I’m just going to dive right in. I have no idea why, but instead of having a gun, the protagonist has a Dreamcast gaming console and battery strapped to his back, and a keyboard strapped to his front. I have nothing more to say about this.
… Except, “Why?”
Wait! Maybe this is a metaphor for Sega. The character represents the developers, feverishly typing code to prevent assimilation with other “zombie-like” mediocre videogame makers. The Dreamcast on his back represents the weight of the new system’s success on his shoulders, having to attain perfection under insurmountable stress and expectations. The battery represents an energetic morale that must be used quickly before the momentum depletes. And the…yeah, I’m done.
It’s clearly just a play for humor.
I’m not too familiar with the House of the Dead games, so it was difficult for me to determine what was really meant to be serious, and what was just meant to be a sad joke. The strongest example of this is the dialogue. The dialogue, to put it tactfully, is the worst thing I have ever heard. Honestly, where did they get these voice actors? Staples? A little known fact about me is that I was a Promotions Supervisor for a voice acting company that worked on a videogame called Sunage. The game was even reviewed on IGN! It got a mediocre review. But our voice contributions were actually mentioned! The exact quote from the sound section: “horrible voice acting and repetitive unit acknowledgements.” Some other reviews I read even said the voices sounded like an Ed Wood film narration.
The voice acting of that game was done by college students, many of them my acquaintances. Sega, on the other hand, has no excuse. This multi-million dollar company happens to have created the Sonic the fucking Hedgehog franchise. Plus, they can apparently afford to make a game centered around a computer peripheral as a means of survival. Shouldn’t they also be able to hire some voice actors who have a little conviction and actual talent? Since all the content of Typing of the Dead, including the voice acting, is from House of the Dead II, it can’t be brushed off like a bad joke that went severely wrong, like the ol’ “dead naked clown in my bed” routine. (Very funny guys.)
The typing itself in Typing of the Dead is great. The keys are responsive, and there are a lot of bonuses for hitting the target quickly and with no mistakes. There are gunshot sounds and bullet holes for keys hit correctly and ricochet sounds for typographical errors. The health packs and optional “shootables” appear as single letters that disappear very fast.
Also, if the player makes too many typing mistakes, innocent bystanders are killed. There is no “backspace” key to bring mommy back, you illiterate bastard.
This game is challenging. Not only are the words sometimes long, but you oftentimes have multiple enemies coming at you, who need to be “typed to death” at pretty much the same time. That means you need to quickly determine which you want to address first.
The game has a very simple message: type correctly, or die. Talk about pressure. With that being said, there was a time when typing wrong actually did have real-life consequences. Remember when typewriters existed? Instead of your health and lives running out when you made mistakes, your ink, time, and paper ran out. So in my opinion, typing and gaming is a match made in heaven, if for no other reason than it takes us back to a time when backspace didn’t solve all of our problems.
So, does this game actually help the player type any faster? I have no idea. In some sadistic way it most likely does. Personally, I would love to have learned how to type by killing zombies in school. I think we all would have been better off. Think of the novelty of actually using videogame violence as a learning tool. Since videogame violence is such a hot-button issue now, what if this game had been made a part of the curriculum in years past? What effect would that have had on the issue of violence in schools?
The bottom line is that the game proves to be an exhilarating experience that will give anyone both a challenge and a nasty case of carpel tunnel syndrome. The only downside may be the difficulty. However, I might just suck at typing.
And, that is pretty much it. The Typing of the Dead is a great game that is a nearly flawless marriage between fun and typography. Since it is easily available, why not brush up on your typing “kills” and pick up a copy?
How fast can you type “g-e-t-t-i-n-g l-a-i-d“?
I see what you did there! Swish!
Wonder how much a Dreamcast keyboard goes for these days… Too bad this game didn’t come out 10 years later, when every console has a USB port.
The pc version is great. And freeware