when sega's dreamcast machine
fades into extinction later this year, the games we'll be left with won't match the adventurousness of those created by Dreamcast.
At one end of the scale, they pioneered online gaming through their SegaNet Internet hookup. At the other, they created a full-sized, Dreamcast-friendly keyboard and gave us The Typing Of The Dead.
As with several Dreamcast games, I've never played anything like it.
The Typing Of The Dead is the most taxing game in memory. Horrifying-looking zombies stagger around streets and canals, throwing knives and generally drooling everywhere. You have to destroy them, but instead of using a joystick to control a gun, you have a keyboard.
Words and phrases appear on the screen, and you have a limited amount of time to type them out -- with proper punctuation and case -- to turn the zombies into mush. This is harder than it sounds.
I use a keyboard for a living, and I found it immensely frustrating. The phrases get longer and more complex as the game progresses, and you have to pay attention not only to the words but also to the increasing number of zombies with sharp things in their hands.
Fortunately, there's also a touch-typing tutorial that teaches you how to type with more than two or three fingers, as well as drills to increase your words-per-minute count.
Wasting time was never so educational.
THE TYPING OF THE DEAD for Sega Dreamcast, $70. Rating: NNNGRAPHICS: How can you go wrong with exploding zombies?
GRAPHICS: How can you go wrong with exploding zombies?
ADDICTIVENESS: High, if only to learn how to make your pinkie fingers part of your typing digits.
ANTI-SOCIAL FACTOR: Nothing says furious competition like head-to-head typing.
PROXIMITY TO THE REAL THING: Cops and crooks carry guns, not keyboards.