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April 25, 2008

Death (and Typing) in Tokyo

Posted in: Asia,Games

Eyes squinting, zero light, monsters everywhere, you’re typing for your life. Yeah, you heard me.

The sudden obsessive uptake of a certain competitive typing game called TypeRacer reminded me of a recent visit to Tokyo. You see, it was there that I saw a couple kids playing Sega’s fabulous Typing of the Dead with unusual fervor late one night in Shinjuku.

For those unfamiliar, Typing of the Dead is a refit of the stunningly mediocre shooting game House of the Dead, but where the former provisioned traditional light guns to dispatch monsters, the latter hands you a keyboard. In TOTD, each word you type right blasts a monster, and speed counts — bigtime. That seemingly minor twist makes a boring game brilliant. If you haven’t tried it, you must.

Typing of the Dead has never appeared in arcades outside Japan (it has seen console release stateside). And it was fun to see Japanese players stuck to it like glue when the game really didn’t get much love back home. Good times, particularly since the kids couldn’t stop giggling to themselves as they nonchalantly typed Japanese characters at blinding speed. Competitive typing, cooperative typing. Either way, it’s goofy awesome.

Ah, Japan. And speaking of Japan, where else can you find fresh pastries just outside the door of an arcade?

Holy cow! Has it really been 6 months since I got back from the Asia trip? I’ve got lots of stories to tell. More photos soon!


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