In the olden times, according to a history book I once skimmed on my way to the anime section, people would communicate by grunting at each other, or by hitting each other with rocks and sticks. Now, in the so-called “modern world,” we don’t have it so easy. With the proliferation of such complex concepts as words and sentences, a whole new set of skills has to be learned. Talking is one, as is writing. But the most important skill, vis a vis modern challenges like getting a middle-management job or searching for stuff on Google, is learning to type.
There are lots of ways to learn to improve your typing skills, but almost none of them are any fun. Fortunately, back in 2002, PopCap decided to do something about this, in the form of a nifty little game called Typer Shark! (The exclamation point is actually part of the title. Not that I wasn’t excited to tell you.) In Typer Shark! you must help defend a poor deep sea diver from increasingly difficult waves of sharks and other types of creatures by typing to eliminate the threat. Each creature has a letter or word on it, which you must type to kill the creature. Now, in terms of realism, this admittedly was not PopCap’s finest hour. I mean, it’s not like bringing a typewriter underwater with you would help you with much of anything, especially if it was electric. And how typing is supposed to defeat these creatures does not hold up to close scrutiny. My suspicion is that once you started typing the shark would probably just eat you too, thus rendering your rescue attempt a dismal failure. Even if you did survive, I’m sure the authorities, when they arrived, would have some pretty serious questions for you as they fished out the diver’s mangled corpse. Like, “Why didn’t you use a harpoon or gun instead of a typewriter?” Or, “Is that a Smith-Corona?”
So, unfortunately, we’ll subtract 1/2 star for believability problems. If you can let that go, however, what you’re left with is a pretty fun little game. There is a certain satisfaction that comes with being able to win by typing fast, especially if you are an English major with no other marketable skills. Beating the hardest levels of this game is like a total in-your-face moment to your parents or other know-it-alls who told you that you were wasting your time and would amount to nothing if you pursued a liberal arts degree. The first time I beat the game, I took a screen capture of the final level and sent it to my mom with the message, “Who’s a loser NOW, Mom?” The fact that she never wrote back and changed her phone number just proves how much the truth hurts.
Typer Shark! is totally empowering that way, and thus is practically guaranteed to change your life, especially if you’re good at typing. And if you’re not good at typing, well, here’s your chance! What are you waiting for? An invitation to typing school? Guess what — they don’t have those, so you’d basically be waiting forever, like Linus in the pumpkin patch. I can just see it. “Oh, come on Sally! Let’s go check my mail again to see if I’ve received an invitation to typing school! Oh no! Nothing again!” Meanwhile, all your smarter friends are already expert typists because, unlike you, they went out and played Typer Shark! instead of waiting around for some mythical invitation that is never going to come, like ever.
That’s about all I have to say on the subject of Typer Shark! Truly one of the shining gems of PopCap’s back catalog. And if you don’t play it, and end up flunking out of school or getting a really terrible job or generally just living in the dim shadow of your parents’ disappointment, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Typer Shark! is available to play on your PC (sorry Mac fans–you’ll never learn to type fast, I guess!) right here.