Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 40 / SEPTEMBER 1983 / PAGE 189

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.

The Game
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 reduced.
    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.

The Lessons
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 speed settings.
    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.
    Type Attack is a well-balanced game and learning program. The challenge is certainly there and as a result, players will surely develop better typing skills.

Type Attack
Sirius Software, Inc.
10364 Rockingham Drive
Sacramento, CA 95827