Game Day #1

The Typing of the Dead on Sega Dreamcast

The Typing of the Dead (1999) is a modified version of Sega’s The House of the Dead 2, a popular arcade light-gun game. As the name implies, the player uses a keyboard to vanquish zombies instead of a light gun.

Believe it or not, The Typing of the Dead was first released in Japanese arcades before making it to the Sega Dreamcast. I would have loved to play this in the arcade.

A keyboard is an official Dreamcast accessory that plugs in to one of the four controller ports. There was also a mouse accessory, and both were niche products as they were really only used for the Dreamcast Web browser, in-game chat in the couple of MMOs available for the Dreamcast (e.g. Phantasy Star Online), and by die-hard FPS players who wanted a more desktop-like gaming experience.

I wondered how well Typing of the Dead sold on Dreamcast, and found one list that pegged it as the 231st most popular Dreamcast game (on a list of 250) with just over 14K copies sold. Ouch.

The easiest way to experience The Typing of the Dead today game today is to simply download the Windows PC version (2003), which is abandonware.

And I recommend you do! The words and phrases one has to type to kill zombies range in difficulty based on how well one is typing, making it fairly accessible. It’s also a very silly game and as a result way more fun than The House of the Dead 2.

The in-game protagonists wear a Dreamcast console and a giant battery as backpacks — looking a little bit like secret-agent Ghostbusters. The seriously campy in-game dialog from House is strangely augmented by the funny phrases one has to type, which include gems like:

  • Cows are watching how you drive

  • Sad sour shrimp

  • Sexy and smart bohemian dentist

  • Tristan and Isolde

  • Bright, large 1BR, ceil fan, tile bath

Those are pulled from Jonathan Soma’s excellent project, Every Single Weird Phrase from The Typing of the Dead, which he compiled by dissecting the game.

In the Game Day series the Smiling Savage will celebrate retro gaming.

Smiling Savage
Smiling Savage
Tom Wanat