Here we are in the 21st century: We live in an age where work, fun and socializing can all be completed in front of your computer screen. Now more than ever, it is vital to know your way around technology and the digital world. This means accessing the internet, building spreadsheets and, most importantly, knowing how to type. Typing is often overlooked when it comes to, well, everything. Frequent mistypes lead to declines in productivity or being roasted on Twitter. It is a vital skill to learn.
Back in 2008, my dad bought “Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing” to teach my sister and me how to type. I was never fully invested in it and continued to type by looking at my keyboard for each letter of the alphabet rather than memorize the positions like the software desired. When I was eight, I couldn’t be bothered to learn properly. However, this was my first run-in with a typing program, and I still have fond memories of it.
Initially, typing was a novelty to me. After writing in cursive all day, it was nice to come home and fire up the old laptop to relax with some typing. There were fun mini-games you could play, such as one where you would see asteroids floating around with words on them and you had to defend earth by typing the words to destroy the asteroids. I was an easily amused kid. Typing continued to grow in popularity throughout my childhood.
There are more “video game-y” attempts at teaching typing if the traditional “Mavis Beacon” program is too boring and scholastic for children. Back 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 go around killing zombies with your keyboard instead of a gun. I personally have never played the game, but I can definitely see the appeal of a story-based educational game that relies on humor and camp to entice the player. By today’s standards, it seems unlikely to take off in the marketplace, as people now look for more story-based and complex games. Although there remains a cult following of the game, people have moved onto something even better: competitive typing.
Recently, a lot of my friends have been really into “TypeRacer,” a typing simulator where you race other people to finish a passage from a piece of media, usually from a book or a movie. Ideally, you complete the passage faster than everyone else, and as a reward, you get to watch your little car move across the screen to the finish line. At first, it seemed crazy to me that people could have fun by practicing typing, but then I remembered the good old days of “Mavis Beacon.” I’ve since sunk many hours typing against friends and have actually had a blast. Hitting a perfect passage with no mistakes is a crazy high.
Now, typing is more like a musical instrument to me. I take some time when I’m bored to go to websites where I can practice typing faster. Much like real racing, I am not only competing against other people but against myself. It is a bragging right to be able to type fast, and my competitive nature pushes me forward.
Typing is a medium to have fun with. Whether it’s playing a game on your computer, talking to someone online or even writing “Twilight” fan fiction, typing is much more than just moving your fingers really fast. It was something I was allowed to have fun with, even while learning.
I am not going to say 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 reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.