Type Racer - a game about typing fast

App review by
Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Media
Type Racer - a game about typing fast App Poster Image
Iffy quotes, frequent ads ruin what could've been a fun app.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn to type quickly and accurately on a touchscreen device such as an iPad or Android tablet. Though keyboarding skills are still important, the ubiquitousness of touchscreens means kids need to develop speed and accuracy with them as well. Kids won't learn hand formation or the placement of the keys, but they will practice typing short pieces -- witty and informative sentences and short paragraphs -- with perfect accuracy and then see their WPM score. Though the frequent ads disrupt the process, kids will have fun practicing with Type Racer and will get motivation from seeing their speeds improve.

Ease of Play

App does not work with a Bluetooth keyboard, so players must use the app's unique touchscreen keyboard, which doesn't match up exactly with the normal touchscreen (the delete key is in a different place), making it more difficult to type quickly without mistakes.

Violence

Some quotes include violent undertones. One jokes that if you give a man a match, he'll be warm for a short period, but if you set him on fire, he'll be warm for years. An uncredited quote from Hannibal Lector of Silence of the Lambs mentions eating a man's liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.

Sex

Humorous quotes used for typing practice contain some sexual innuendo. Quotes from comedians such as George Carlin and Bill Maher are a bit racy. One quote from Bill Maher insinuates that Madonna has more than 10 people in her bed in a week, and one from Paris Hilton mentions a "money shot" and taking her top off.

Language

Some quotes include insults, such "crazy" and "stupid," as well as several misogynistic sentences: "If a man is standing in the middle of the forest speaking, and there is no woman around to hear him, is he still wrong?" Words such as "hell" also appear in some quotes.

Consumerism

Kids will have to watch full-screen ads for other apps every few quotes. Many of the ads are virtually impossible not to click through by accident.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Many quotes mention drinking and smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Type Racer - a game about typing fast is more a game about advertising other apps and less a game about typing fast. Objectionable content within the quotes make it inappropriate for younger kids, and typing without the shift key (no uppercase/lowercase or colon/semicolon differentiation) may not transfer well to real-world touchscreen typing. The app is not compatible with external keyboards.

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What's it about?

TYPE RACER - A GAME ABOUT TYPING FAST gives kids short, witty (but often inappropriate) quotes to practice touchscreen typing to build speed. Errors aren't accepted, so kids will have to use the delete key to fix mistakes before finishing a quote. They'll then see their WPM (words per minute) average and best WPM. To see the leaderboard, kids have to link to their Facebook accounts.

Is it any good?

The more kids practice typing, the faster they'll get, and Type Racer - a game about typing fast can help with that. Kids need to know the QWERTY layout of a touchscreen keyboard already as there is no instruction offered in-app. Kids won't get to practice with the shift key, as it's not included. The quotes are sometimes funny and make practicing fun, but the content is not appropriate for young kids. Frequent ads interrupt the game, and there doesn't appear to be a way to remove them (via in-app purchase, for example). For tips to improve touchscreen typing as well as practicing it, TapTyping - typing trainer may be a better choice.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the quotes teens encounter in the app. Some of them present women in a negative light. Is that OK to do in the name of humor, or does the app go too far?

  • Touchscreen typing is different from what most parents grew up doing. Understand that keyboarding skills are still important, but encourage kids to practice the increasingly important touchscreen typing, too.

  • Encourage kids to learn the QWERTY layout using other apps or typing websites.

App details

For kids who love fast-paced apps

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