While the “All-Time Top” bit is just there for dramatic effect, this genre is a lot more niche than I usually talk about, so the list is probably less controversial. If you do have suggestions for typing games I might have missed, let me know. Always up for more typing games.
My personal origin with these games was back in the 80s, when my Dad bought a Commodore PC compatible system into the house. Something similar to the below (after discussing with my Dad, we think it was most likely a PC20-III, we remember the 20mb Hard Drive), it had a black and white text based display. Gaming was limited to a Space Invaders clone imaginatively called Cash Crisis, where the Aliens were comprised of £ and $ signs, and a racing game that was part of a Typing Tutor program. More on that further down.
5) Nitro Type – Browser Game
A very recent discovery for me, but one that quickly raced into the top 5. (ha) This is a free to play multiplayer title that is accessed from their website nitrotype.com. The game immediately evokes memories of my first typing game covered in the Other Mentions below.
If you have any interest in trying typing games, or even just want to find out what your personal typing speed is, Nitro Type is a simple and addictive place to start.
4) Typing of the Dead – DC
As much as I love the House of the Dead lightgun games, it is interesting to me that some of my favourite games in the IP are spin-off games that don’t involve shooting at all. While the Pinball game “Pinball of the Dead” is my favourite Gameboy Advance game, Typing of the Dead remains one of my favourite Dreamcast titles.
Thanks to my love of first person shooters, I quickly picked up the Keyboard and Mouse controllers for my Dreamcast, but then stumbling across Typing of the Dead meant that I spent about as much time with this as I did with Quake 3 Arena. A particular highlight was taking my keyboard to my friends house so we could play co-op. I think Typing of the Dead was probably the first of the typing games I’ve played where typing was the main gameplay mechanic.
Another great typing game that merges Typing with another game genre, this time the combat involves “bullet hell” style shoot em up mechanics. You are dodging various projectile attacks from demons, while simultaneously typing out incantations to banish them back to hell. It’s all wrapped up in an amusing story of a bit of a rogue priest. Ray Bibbia.
2) Epistory: Typing Chronicles – PC
A surprise highlight when I played it back in 2017, Epistory is a charming isometric RPG that will immediately look familiar to fans of games like Zelda. However, while those games generally fail to capture my attention, Epistory’s typing based exploration, puzzles and combat had me hooked all the way through.
1) Typing of the Dead: Overkill – PC
Typing of the Dead: Overkill takes the system laid out in the previous Typing of the Dead, where that game took the content from House of the Dead 2, this one is based on the Wii & PS3 game, House of the Dead Overkill. Perfectly clear, right?
There was also Typing of the Dead 2 which was based on House of the Dead 3, but that was a Japanese exclusive and without a translation remains inaccessible to me. The gameplay is much the same as the above title, but stands out in a couple of key areas. The soundtrack and overall aesthetic of Overkill is highly entertaining and works much better than the previous games “so bad it’s good” approach. Of real value though is the Steam Workshop support, that allows custom dictionarys to be added. The game takes on a new lease of life when you can play through the whole thing typing Alan Partridge quotes.
Available on Steam only, so far as I can tell.
Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing – MSDOS
I couldn’t find a shot of the text only version of this that we had on our family DOS based Commodore, but although the software comprised many lessons for teaching you to touchtype, the main draw for me was a racing game. You typed the on screen text as fast as possible as your car (comprised of simple ASCII characters) raced against the computer.
I’m pretty confident that Mavis Beacon is responsible for me being able to touch type well before I was ten, and apparently Mavis is still going.
Nanotale – PC
A follow up to the previous Typing Chronicles game, Epistory mentioned above. I played this back at EGX Rezzed and fell in love again. They have been generous enough to provide me with an Early Access press key for Nanotale so I’m currently playing with that and putting together a bit of a preview post that should be out in a week or so.
You can pick up the Early Access version on Steam.