The Typing of the Dead


Source // Wikipedia

I've been looking forward to this one. The House of the Dead 2 was a blast, even though I was playing it awkwardly via Wii emulation, of all things, and The Typing of the Dead takes that game and replaces guns with keyboards and bullets with letters. Deadly, damaging letters.

If you ever want to test your typing speed, there's only one way to do it: with the threat of zombies looming on the horizon.

Source / Moby Games


Annoyingly, much like The House of the Dead 2, I'm having trouble getting a version of The Typing of the Dead up and running. I don't have access to the absolutely wonderful fully keyboard-laden arcade cabinet, and the Dreamcast port isn't giving me much joy without a Dreamcast keyboard.

A PC release is available, somewhere, but I'm having absolutely no luck installing that either, which leaves me with two options, really. Watch it on YouTube, or play The Typing of the Dead: Overkill, which does to The House of the Dead: Overkill what The Typing of the Dead did to The House of the Dead 2. These names are too much to type. Good practice though.

Fun Times

Typing is quite simple. I'm not a touch typer at all. I largely use whatever finger happens to be somewhat close to the relevant key at any given point in the sentence, which is mostly my index and middle fingers. I'm struggling to find a use for my ring and pinky fingers, and am desperately padding out these paragraphs until I-ah, there we go, right little finger for holding down shift. I suppose left little finger for Control? Yeah, that feels about right.

Yeah, so, actually thinking about typing reveals me to be a right weirdo when it comes to typing, but I can type fairly quickly, should I need to. Errors aplenty, but that's what the backspace button is for.

Only you absolutely do not want to press it here, because you don't want to undo your zombie/mutant slaying efforts.

Source // IGDB

Starting a phrase off locks you into typing out a word or phrase in full before you attempt something else - unless you willingly escape out of it and reset your progress, so maybe just type quicker, or look at the most threatening words first.

Not that you'll be able to easily identify which words are threatening. Often they'll just pop up and you'll instinctively start bashing on the keys, trying to spell some long phrase, only for find a single capital letter annoyingly heading your way.

Each keystroke is accompanied by sound effects of meaty guns blasting away, and it is as satisfying to fire off a word, machine gun style, especially when you can hear the feedback of your clacky keyboard mirroring the explosive gunfire coming from the game. I'd even say it is more satisfying than actually shooting zombies.

Source // Moby Games

The Dreamcast port sees the characters replacing their guns with keyboards and Dreamcasts powered by one giant battery, which goes to show that this is an absurd game made by absurd people, but they've stumbled upon some kind of genius.

This is fun. I've no idea what I'm looking at outside of the word boxes, but it sounds gory and my score is increasing. In The Typing of the Dead: Overkill, there are extra inputs that I'm not actually aware of, and there appear to be health kits that I have no idea how to pick up, but that's because I jumped right into a game because I wanted to play it as soon as possible.

Source // Moby Games

Final Word

I still hope to be able to play a version of the original Typing of the Dead, but even if I've only got the Overkill game to fall back on, at least it'll keep me entertained, and should I push for the high scores, maybe it'll even teach me a thing or two about typing accurately, as well as quickly.

To think that this is ultimately an education game is remarkable. I don't know who came up with the idea, and I don't know who signed off on it, but the fact that you could - at one point in time, at least - walk into an arcade and see a screen full of zombies and two office keyboards instead of two plastic guns is nothing short of amazing.

It might not have set the world on fire - it's not like the typing game is a genre these days - but it turned heads and is still immensely playable to this day. Providing you can actually play it...

After all of this, if I've learned anything it's that I don't think this keyboard will survive very long. That its cause of death may be related to zombies will certainly be a story to tell.

Fun Facts

Boss fights vary the gameplay by tasking you with typing only at certain times, or by typing out answers to multiple choice questions.

The Typing of the Dead, developed by WOW Entertainment, Smilebit, first released in 1999.
Version watched: Dreamcast, 2000 (GameGrumps)