Type Attack J. David Keller
Type Attack, a program from
Sirius Software, is a basic course in touch typing enlivened by the
challenge and addictive qualities of an arcade game. The program is
available in disk versions for the Apple, Atari, and Commodore 64, and
on cartridge for the VIC-20.
Each lesson in Type Attack
has two modes. In the first - Character Attack - characters march down
the screen in Space Invaders
fashion. By pressing the proper key on the keyboard, you wipe out the
bottom character. If the wrong key is pressed, reserve energy is
There are three waves of characters. In the first
two waves, the characters are in a set pattern; in the third, the
characters appear in a random pattern.
In the second mode - Word Attack - words travel
across the screen. One vulnerable word is indicated by a flashing
marker. When you correctly type the entire word and press the space
bar, the word is wiped out and you gain energy units.
If a word goes off the left side of the screen, it
reappears at the right side at the cost of energy units. If all the
words are correctly typed on the first pass, a set of bonus words come
marching by in double time. If you complete Word Attack without losing all your
energy, you advance to the next lesson.
Scoring is based on the number of characters and
words destroyed. Points are lost for pressing the wrong keys. Bonus
points are computed at the end of each lesson by multiplying the
average words per minute by the speed level at which you played.
Type Attack has 39 planned
lessons that follow typical keyboard manuals. Lesson 1 uses the home
Keys A S D F. Lesson 2 uses J K L ;. Subsequent lessons build skills by
using additional keys, usually two at a time. After the alphabet and
basic punctuation marks are studied, numbers are added, and eventually,
the symbols that utilize the shift key are introduced.
In Word Attack, early lessons have two to four
characters per word. Later, up to 12 character words are presented.
Many of the words in Word Attack are computer commands, such as GOTO
and 5 HOME.
After the 39 planned lessons, you can add programs
to practice specific skills. For example, a lesson which uses only two
keys could be designed for very young typists. Or, advanced lessons
could utilize a series of programming commands.
You can set the speed at which the letters and words
move. The variety of the settings is sufficient to make a beginner feel
confident and the pro feel inadequate. Higher score values are given
for higher speeds. However, I found I made my highest scores with lower
At the left edge of the screen, a bar graph shows
the speed at which you are typing the lesson.
The manual is well written and the directions are
clear, but more information on typing skill development and the content
of each lesson would have been helpful.
is a well-balanced game and learning program. The challenge is
certainly there and as a result, players will surely develop better
Sirius Software, Inc.
10364 Rockingham Drive
Sacramento, CA 95827