For those who want to learn and play, The Typing of the Dead is a virtual tryst of both.
What The Typing of the Dead Teaches
Switched from light gun gameplay to a different approach, The Typing of the Dead (TOD from now on) alters its identity from practice to kill, to kill to practice. And since you type to kill, and learn to type, the act, learning, proves to be the main purpose of the game.
The first thing you notice, at the beginning of the journey, is how compact the game is, as it has a complete tutorial, totally dedicated to typing; from home-position to touch-typing, and from trainings to analyses, the game has numerous options to improve your skills, due to a great documentation of the records from your mistakes.
Note: This article covers the Windows version of the game, and doesn’t consider any Japanese release.
The tutorial section includes 5 lessons, with each of which more in-depth than another, packed with talks, tests, and analyses.
I’ll start with lesson 1, containing the basics of the game, merged with everything you need to know, with the full course like this (just be sure to zoom in):
As demonstrated above, this lesson explains touch typing, the keys that each finger is responsible for, and Shift special keys. So, thanks to this tutorial, you’ll have this illustration in your mind:
And I didn’t know anything about home position and touch typing!
But the tutorial doesn’t come down to this principle, since now in lesson 2, we have test after test, making the player unable to go further, if they fail their tests:
TOD now reveals the keys that you’re bad at, an analysis of your typing speed, and for the first time in the tutorial section, a chance to kill zombies (by typing letters, not words for now).
And now it’s time for the next lesson, giving you an opportunity to practice the keys that you want to learn, with the process and options like this:
However, lesson 4 is just a lecture without any interactive element inside, but with important tips and presents:
And I didn’t know that moving palms could be that dangerous for your typing speed!
And finally the last lesson, suitable for those who want to challenge themselves, with words of any length. Here’s a glimpse of how the game works, by the length you select from the menu you have:
You can also head to another mode, called drill, if you want to become more fluent after the tutorial:
However, while these steps are helpful for every player, everything mentioned in the game is optional, and this means that you can skip every tutorial and drill in a second. Anyway, we can think of it as a bridge, to divide the players into two groups: those who want to learn something new, and those who want to go to everything non-tutorial.
But there is a problem at this point: the tutorial doesn’t let you know how to pause, reset, or even quit TOD, as there is no option in the main menu to do so! However, these are covered in the game’s manual, and removing the focus from the phrases you’re typing, almost has the same story!
Now you’re ready to set out and experience TOD, to find out something that you never thought of before; TOD is not only a game about typing, but also a title about increasing your general knowledge. But how? Let’s dive into an example. As a common feature of rail shooters, you can hit items in the game, appearing just for a glimpse, to test the reflection of the player. But the devs took a different approach, and played with some of these items. So while you hit an item like Genre Dictionary, you make the game easier by generating words revolving around identical topics:
Thanks to this mechanic, everyday words become more familiar to the audience, as the vocabulary range gets wider, and the game serves its purpose (as a plus, for non-native English speakers).
And here’s another example, for those who are deep into general knowledge, to fight a question-based boss battle:
Innovations are too many, and you can even increase the font size of the words, as one of the oldest examples of accessibility. But the problem is that, sometimes the words and your HUD, go into each other, and increasing the font size or adjusting the HUD position, doesn’t help the situation that much. Here’s an example, of the said situation, with the default font size of the title:
And here’s the same situation, but with the large font size selected:
But as you can see, it’s impossible to read the first letters of both phrases, and you have to wait for the enemy to jump down to proceed. I don’t know what is it like to play through the two-player mode, as it was just my experience, as a guy who played the game alone. But in return, we have phrases appearing sooner than the enemy itself, and since it rarely happens like so, then it’s fairly acceptable! However, any other things worked for me in the game, as one of the best experiences by Sega.
How The Typing of the Dead Works
After beating the game multiple times, and facing another surprise with the credits roll, I just wanted to know how the game generates its content randomly with a meaningful concept, and not with any hard-coded letters. So I found this website with the method explained, and got every single phrase, word, and any other stuff from the game!
And I didn’t know that also my country, Iran, was included in the game! However, I had a chance to see Afghanistan in my playthroughs, as our neighboring country!
TOD is full of content, good to expand your general knowledge, and totally a compact product. And as explained, TOD doesn’t teach you how to type, it teaches you how to type better and faster, to become the master of touch typing in the end.
Please share your feedback, and let me know what you think about this piece!