Mastertype, by Bruce Zweig (Atari version by Aric Wilmunder), makes learning touch-typing fun.
As an educational program, Mastertype is impressive. It is menu-driven and the lesson plan begins with basic keyboard and finger placement presentations. In the manual supplied with Mastertype are illustrations and diagrams which clearly show proper finger placement. Your skill builds from this point. You begin to practice typing single letters or simple three- to four-letter words. Once you are comfortable with these, you move on to longer words, numbers, and symbols.
Each lesson can run in either of two modes. The Beginner mode displays single letters only, and the Normal mode asks you to type the complete word and press the space bar.
You can even create your own word lists to practice with words that are related to your occupation. After first booting Mastertype, you will see this option offered, and you respond by typing an "M" (make your own lesson). Each word list consists of 40 words ranging from one to nine characters. You must enter 40 words – there's no way around it. If you make any errors when entering the words, you may edit them after you complete the 40th word. Once satisfied with your customized lesson, you can name it and save it on your disk.
In each lesson you control the mode, the speed, and any upper- and lowercase variations.
Battle Of Words
But what makes this a truly effective, pleasant learning experience is the game it becomes. You, the Command Ship, are hovering out in space. Look out! Four enemy words have just appeared in the corners of your computer screen. They're sending satellites, missiles, and atomic meteors to destroy you. You are not helpless, though. If you can type the enemy words correctly, you can eliminate them. You won't destroy the enemy word unless you fire your laser before or just as the enemy word releases its weapon.
Even when you need not be particularly concerned with the exact path of your laser, you must type the word correctly before the laser is released.
As soon as you successfully defend your ship by destroying all enemy words, you can see your game score and typing speed. You may get so involved in playing the game that you won't even realize you're acquiring a very useful skill.
Mastertype is available on disk for a 32K Atari or 48K Apple.
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