A beginner’s guide to designing typing games and exploring their niche market
A short article based on this genre study was published on gamedeveloper.com
If you already know some typing games, you probably have an opinion, good or bad. If you don’t know much about them, no worries, that’s what I expected. The genre is very niche, and for good reason: how odd to want to control a game with typing! It is indeed so odd that it brings unusual and pretty exciting design challenges. But the genre is so niche that there are few, if any, design resources available. That’s where I come in! I’ll try to give a good overview of typing games based on my personal experience as a game designer on Epistory and Nanotale, various typing games I’ve played, and interviews I’ve had with other typing game developers.
I plan to cover a bit of the history and background around popular typing games, then delve into the design considerations that typing poses and the solutions we can find. Finally we’ll look at where the genre is headed.
Spoiler alert—you’ll leave this reading with one of two takeaways: either you’ll be inspired by the novel constraint that a typing game can be and start thinking of new things to do with it. Or you will focus on the problems and reject the idea of ever approaching a typing game—which is fine! I still think it can be interesting to analyze the genre even if you don’t plan to make one, though.
To be honest, I’ve gone back and forth between these two positions over the years, and when I started working on this article, I was mostly on the “I’m done with this” side. That was part of the motivation behind this project: to put everything I’ve learned about typing games into writing so I could pass it on and put it all behind me. But talking with other designers and thinking about typing game design with a more open mind than when I was working on an actual project, with its own constraints, made me more optimistic about the future potential of the genre. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and start at the beginning. Perhaps you have never even heard of a typing game before.
- What is a typing game?
- Modern typing game design
- Finding gameplay depth
- The typing game market
- Bonus Bringing the game to a larger audience