Mario Teaches Typing
Mario Teaches Typing is a educational video game released in 1992 for MS-DOS, and later for Microsoft Windows and Macintosh in 1994. It was developed and published by Interplay Productions.
It is the seventh Mario edutainment game, being released after the Japan-only I Am a Teacher: Super Mario Sweater and the five Mario's Early Years (also known as Mario Discovery internationally) games.
Note: Only on the CD-ROM version.
One day, while Mario and Luigi are walking by Bowser's castle, they encountered a Magical Typewriter in which Mario curiously attempts to type on it, however, he turns out to be a terrible typist as a result. The Magical Typewriter later explodes, leaving the scroll in its place, in which it has the pictures of three pieces of the Magical Typewriter and the words, "FIND ME". In order to improve Mario's typing skills, Mario and Luigi must recover all the pieces in order to accomplish this goal.
Just as the title replies, the game is a educational tool that revolves around teaching players on how to type using the keyboard by making the them type the sequence of keys to what the screen displays. The player can choose between three playable characters, such as: Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach. There are five modes, such as: Outdoors World (Beginner), Underwater World (Intermediate), Underground World (Advanced), Practice, and Report Card.
- To start off with this list, the gameplay itself is rather unappealing and extremely easy, while it's understandable that it's a educational game, all you have to do is to type the correct keys the screen displays you and nothing else, which can get a bit boring after playing too long.
- Mario's infamous head in the CD-ROM version has a creepy and nightmarish appearance, and some of his dialogue tends to be annoying and sometimes unfunny, as he would interrupt after clicking any columns or modes for the first time, or sometimes appears out of nowhere.
- False advertising: Toad on the title screen is seen running away from Mario along with Luigi and Princess Peach giving an impression that he's playable, however, he's not one of the playable characters in the game itself, as only Mario, Luigi, and Peach are playable.
- Speaking of that, even Princess Peach (or just Princess) doesn't appear in the cutscenes with Mario and Luigi despite being playable.
- Very flat level designs with no obstacles in every level, as the only enemies that appear are Koopa Troopas, Thwomps, a Boss Bass, a Blooper, and Bowser himself.
- Speaking of the Blooper, it has a rather strange design that's way too off with it looking more like a octopus than a squid, and the front of it looks more like a mouth with two eyes distanced from it rather than having the well-known design of two eyes in front with black surrounding it.
- Depending on one person's view of the Boss Bass's design, while its design looks more accurate and faithful to the main series itself, the eyes here can be a bit unnerving for some people to look at, even at first glance when playing the Intermediate mode for the first time.
- While this is the very first game to have Mario speaking, his voice in the original MS-DOS version provided by Ronald B. Ruben sounds terrible and way too off for his character despite still retaining his Italian accent, however, he would later be replaced by the now-familiar Charles Martinet in the CD-ROM version (as mentioned at GQ #1).
- While the CD-ROM version added the plot, which is something the MS-DOS version lacked, the plot itself, despite its originality, is rather ridiculous, especially of the fact that the Magical Typewriter exploded due to Mario being a terrible typist, and Mario and Luigi must try to recover all the pieces of the Typewriter.
- Even though some parts of the gameplay are fast-paced, some are just slow-paced, such as in Outdoors World (Beginner), in which after hitting the key of the autoscrolling block, it shows the cutscene of your character collecting coins in the clouds, however, your character moves slower there than the main gameplay itself.
- Speaking of that, even the cutscenes of the plot seen in the CD-ROM version are a bit slow, such as the movements and animations of the characters.
- Despite most of the game's soundtracks being good, Practice Makes Perfect by Legacy X, the rap song included in the CD-ROM version of this game, is a pretty mediocre song with the lyrics having nothing to do with Mario or the game itself except for its Practice mode.
- The physics of the game are also strange, for example: in the Outdoors World (Beginner mode), after typing in the correct keys, your character kills enemies by dashing through them rather than jumping on them, or sometimes, breaking bricks before hitting them.
- Even though there are plenty of sentences to type, all ranging from sports, stories, movies, pop culture, natural disasters, to histories, some are just outright bizarre, such as the one where you have to type out a full sentence about a tutorial on where you should lay your fingers on the home row keys, while some are just too mature for its target audience.
- Without having the sound card inserted, the game's audio can get very distorted and loud through the PC's speakers, even though some of the software at that time shared the same problem, this game's distorted audio can sometimes easily hurt or damage your ears when wearing headphones.
- The sound effects in some parts of the game, especially Outdoors World (Beginner) after pressing the correct keys the screen displays, can get annoying to listen to (or painful without the sound card) after hearing it too much, although you can get used to it.
- For the very first time in the game series (but not the first time in the franchise itself, with the anime film and the first three DIC cartoons predating it), Mario speaks in this game, and despite being voiced by Ronald B. Ruben in the MS-DOS version, as mentioned at BQ #5, Charles Martinet would later replace his role of the character in the CD-ROM version, in which it's also his very first time voicing Mario and he would continue to voice him for future titles.
- Speaking of that, Charles Martinet would later reprise his role to be the only voice actor of Mario in the sequel, unlike this game with two voice actors for different versions.
- The graphics are pretty decent for a PC game released in 1992, with well-drawn sprites and backgrounds as well as the items. The CD-ROM also slightly improved the graphics, with the cutscenes of the plot being well done despite being slow-paced and constantly zooming in after ending.
- The CD-ROM version on the Macintosh has the best graphics out of all the versions, with the sprites looking less pixelated and more detailed.
- While the MS-DOS version lacked a plot, the CD-ROM version was finally given a proper plot probably as a way to keep the student entertained, despite some of the problems with it as seen at BQ #6.
- At least it does a good job on teaching students how to type using the keyboard while managing to entertain them at the same time despite what it says at BQ #1, and it also tends to give the sense of challenge by typing in full sentences along with punctuation in some modes such as Underwater (Intermediate) and Underground (Advanced).
- To be honest, even though Mario's head in the CD-ROM version has a creepy design and some of his dialogue can get annoying as mentioned at BQ #2, he can be funny and entertaining at times with the way how he interacts with the student and that some of his dialogue can be funny both ironically and unironically.
- The game's soundtrack is great, despite all of it being originally from Super Mario World, it still fits the tone of the game very well and still sound as good as Super Mario World's soundtrack, in fact, even the cutscenes themselves have good music.
- The rap song included in the CD-ROM version, Practice Makes Perfect by Legacy X, while mediocre, is a bit catchy to hear, despite the lyrics having nothing to do with the game or Mario himself as mentioned at BQ #8.
- While the sound effects can get very annoying, they can also be really exciting to hear during gameplay as a way to prevent the player from getting bored quickly, especially when typing the correct keys in the Outdoors World.
- Some of the cutscenes seen in the CD-ROM version can get pretty entertaining to watch, such as the ending where Mario destroys Bowser's castle by typing a sentence using the Magical Typewriter.
The game was met with mixed-to-negative reviews from critics and gamers upon release. On GameFAQs, it has the average rating of 2.82 (Fair) from 31 users.
On the Macintosh, the game sold around 500,000 copies for the system, it would also later gain a sequel called Mario Teaches Typing 2 in which it was also developed by Interplay Productions, and was released in October 31, 1996.
- Princess Peach (or Toadstool) is simply known as "Princess" in this game, as well as its sequel.
- Mario's head became a source of Internet memes due to his design as well as his quotes, as he has been constantly parodied through YouTube Poops or any other memes.
- This is the first licensed Mario game to be developed and published by Interplay Productions (now Interplay Entertainment), the same studio that created the popular Fallout (later sold to Bethesda Softworks in 2007) and Earthworm Jim franchises.
- The game's manual contains some stuff that was originally in the earlier version of the game, such as:
- Page 7: the main menu was unorganized, lacking numbers.
- Page 15: the Expert Express has a different layout, as the icons of Mario's hands are on top of the screen, the letters being in a different font, Mario's head having different eyes, with a large sclera and purple eyes, as well as the missing paper background.
- Page 18: the results screen has a different design, with the "Next" and "Menu" boxes that were colored blue being absent, as well as the chalkboard text being slightly spaced.
- Mario's head seen in the CD-ROM version actually originated in 1992 (the same year this game was released for MS-DOS) at the Summer CES in Winchester, Nevada as Real Time Mario. This was apart of a experiment for him to be introduced in real time through the usage of motion capture, being generated on a Silicon Graphics 420 VGX Workstation.