The Weekly WTF: Kill Zombies With Your Keyboard in ‘The Typing of the Dead’

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bill-swift - March 21, 2014

Yes indeed, gentlemen. It's The Typing of the Dead. Buckle up and hold on to your butts, because there's a whole lot of strange effin' strange coming your way. The most crazy-ass video game of all time, no less, as Game Informer dubbed it back in 2008 (well, they said ‘weirdest,' but let's not be pernickety).

Now, there are many ways to deal with an encroaching zombie horde. Some have badass weapons caches hidden underground --like the one that guy with the beard has by his trailer in Terminator 2-- for just such an occasion. Some will hide in grandma's closet, shit their pants and have their faces chewed on. Others will bust out their trusty keyboards, attempting to take out the incoming zombie apocalypse simply by typing 'daffodils' or 'precocious girl' or some other BS.

Sure, that last guy wouldn't last two seconds in The Walking Dead without meeting a squelchy, blood-leaky end, but perhaps he's on to something. It certainly works in The Typing of the Dead, after all.

This arcade ‘shooter' was released in Japan in 1999, and ported to the Dreamcast the following year. It follows the plot of The House of the Dead 2 as closely as a pervtastic stalker: AMS agents James and Gary are sent to investigate an undead outbreak. They discover that it's down to the malevolent machinations of evil bastard scientist Goldman, and must foil his plans for world domination by destroying his twisted creations.

Holy balls, watch out! These guys are armed with LITTLE RUBBER SQUEAKY MALLET THINGS. Oh, the humanity!

So everything's rather pedestrian and mutant-shooty and cliched. EXCEPT! As promised, the action is controlled solely by a keyboard. Everything is on-rails as always, but zombies spawn with a word attached (so to speak), beginning with a simple UK or apple or something. Your objective is simply to input each correctly. Whereupon, the undead concerned will re-die and melt into a horrible puddle of unexplained green stuff.

This, right here, is edutainment. Rather like Mario Teaches Typing, the purpose of the crazy premise is to teach the Japanese audience some rudimentary English. Meanwhile, speakers of the language get to enjoy a peculiar kind of mod of the original sequel. Those agents cruising around with keyboards in place of their usual butt-kicking weaponry is an unusual sight, to say the least.

We suppose it's also a handy test of your touch/speed typing skills. If it's motivation you need, there's nothing quite like a hulking death beast of death with a ax barreling towards your face. Boss battles complicate the formula a little, with utterly bizarre questions to which you must type the answer, or just increasingly strange and convoluted words to input (‘Colossus of Rhodes' being one memorable example of historical nerdery included).

The Typing of the Dead is the sort of thing you wouldn't believe existed, without seeing it for yourself. But it sure as hell does, and it's an hilarious niche novelty which --we're told-- actually serves some kind of educational purpose. So there's that. To prove it, here's a heaping helping of gameplay:

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