#430 The Typing of the Dead

Posted: 17th September 2021 by Jeroen in Games
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999th played so far

Genre: Action/Edutainment
Platform: Arcade/Dreamcast/PC
Year of Release: 1999
Developer: WOW Entertainment/Smilebit
Publisher: Sega

The Typing of the Dead was the first game I reserved as a final game without being able to go back on it. We played The Logical Journey of the Zoombinis really early on, then reserved Oregon Trail for the midway point of the game, as seemed fitting for the oldest game on the list (Pong made for a better blog title). As the smallest genre on the list, it seemed like edutainment would be best as the first to go back to for our final journey through the genres.

As a game, it feels like a bizarre match up: it appears to be an adaptation of House of the Dead 2, but here you take out zombies by typing rather than shooting them. It’s interesting – and I’m a decent enough typist to manage better than having to aim my attacks. I guess I’ll see how that works.


There’s on going evidence that games can help you learn things. Reflexes and fine motor controls can be helped by playing certain games, for example, and games like Assassin’s Creed have certainly sparked an interest in some areas of history. When it comes to games that specifically trying to teach you something, though, it seems harder to get something out of it and you rarely get something that’s quite as engaging. I can’t quite tell whether that’s still true in schools, but few games of the kind break through to the mainstream other than the Zachtronics style of games that teach you simple coding.

It makes sense, then, that the genre barely shows up on the list, but also that more recent indie games are more likely to do this, giving you a chance to experiment and train your brain. I have a backlog of these games too, so I hope I’ll soon see what more there is.

Our Thoughts

I’m not sure to what extent I can explain the insanity of this game. As I said, you play straight through The House of the Dead 2, with the same story, environments and enemies present in there. Rather than shooting, though, you need to type in a word or phrase to ‘shoot’ an enemy, with later enemies requiring multiple words. To reinforce this and push it into the absurd, the characters in the game don’t carry guns. Instead, they each have these keyboards hanging off straps around their neck, typing on them as they need to. It’s a bizarre visual, clearly matching what you’re doing in the game but otherwise feeling so clunky that they’re out of place in the zombie story you’re in. It shows how ridiculous the premise is, but the game is incredibly playable instead.

I’m a fast typer, far more than a shooter, and even though I can’t reach A rank on all of the levels I got to the final level where I got overwhelmed and ran out of lives. It turns out typing is a lot of fun in this context and there are some creative options surrounding the bosses, with one hydra boss requiring a small quiz where you need to type the right question. It gets confusing when punctuation comes in – spaces are optional while others aren’t – but it’s the tricky words with short time limits that really starting tripping me off at the end. The difficulty curve feels appropriate for the the game too – it really builds up to the right point to stay challenging.

Final Thoughts

I think that with the nature of the genre, only the very best rise to the top – with lesser edutainment titles being pushed down as being too educational to be a good game. The Typing of the Dead shows this – as a ridiculous, almost game jam like adaptation of an existing game, it shouldn’t work as well as it does, but it stays fun and accessible.