An ode to typing simulators



Here we are in the 21st century: we live in an age where work, fun and socializing can all be accomplished in front of your computer screen. Now more than ever, it is vital to become familiar with technology and the digital world. It means accessing the Internet, creating spreadsheets, and most importantly knowing how to type. Typing is often overlooked when it comes to everything. Frequent typing errors result in decreased productivity or are roasted on Twitter. It is a vital skill to learn.

In 2008, my dad bought “Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing” to teach my sister and I how to type. I never fully invested in it and kept typing looking at my keyboard for each letter of the alphabet rather than memorizing the positions like the desired software. When I was eight, I didn’t care to learn properly. However, this was my first encounter with a typing program, and I still have fond memories of it.

Initially, typing was new to me. After writing in cursive all day, it was nice to come home and turn on the old laptop to relax while typing a bit. There were some fun mini-games you could play, like the one where you saw asteroids floating with words on them and you had to defend the earth by typing the words to destroy the asteroids. I was an easily amused child. Typing continued to gain popularity throughout my childhood.

There are more “video game” attempts to teach typing if the traditional “Mavis Beacon” curriculum is too boring and academic for children. In 2000, the game “Typing of the Dead” was released as an officially licensed parody of “The House of the Dead 2”. In this reincarnation of the game, you kill zombies with your keyboard instead of a gun. Personally, I’ve never played the game, but I can certainly see the appeal of a story-based educational game that relies on humor and camp to draw the player in. By today’s standards, it seems unlikely to take off in the market as people are now looking for more complex, story-based games. Although it remains a cult of the game, people have moved on to something even better: competitive typing.

Recently a lot of my friends got really interested in “TypeRacer”, a typing simulator where you run other people to complete a piece of media, usually a book or a movie. Ideally, you complete the pass faster than everyone else, and as a reward you can watch your small car cross the screen to the finish line. At first it seemed crazy to me that people could have fun practicing typing, but then I remembered the good old days of “Mavis Beacon”. Since then, I have spent many hours typing against friends and had a blast. Hitting a perfect pass without errors is a crazy high.

Now typing is more like a musical instrument for me. When I’m bored, I take the time to go to websites where I can practice typing faster. Just like real racing, I’m not just competing against other people, but against myself. It’s a bragging rights to be able to type fast, and my competitive nature pushes me forward.

Typing is a way of having fun. Whether it’s playing a game on your computer, talking to someone online, or even writing “Twilight” fan fiction, typing is more than just moving your fingers really fast. It was something I was allowed to have fun with, even while learning.

I’m not going to say that typing is the most important thing in your life or that typing will make you a better person, but it’s fun! I guess I’m still easily amused.

Daily Arts writer Maxwell Lee can be contacted at [email protected]


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