Super Mario tried to teach me how to type correctly when I was a kid, as did a required semester of typing at my high school, yet I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit that I continue to always look at the keyboard and only use about half my fingers (unevenly favoring my right hand). So when I found out there’s a new typing game taught by a pixelated version of filmmaker David Lynch, I thought this might finally be my chance to learn.
Available as a free download for both Mac OS and Windows, David Lynch Teaches Typing is the brainchild of Los Angeles-based filmmaker Luke Palmer — “no relation to Laura,” he clarified in a phone interview, ensuring me that Palmer is, in fact, his real last name. Palmer and his collaborator, developer Hyacinth Nil, used to work at an after-school program together, where they came across a ridiculous game called Cooldog Teaches Typing. Later, when Palmer spotted a video game where one of the levels took place inside the Red Room from Twin Peaks, he had an “aha” moment. Palmer and Nil worked on the game for about five months before releasing it earlier this month.
My aspirations of learning to type from David Lynch were shattered only about a minute into the Mavis Beacon-like game, when I was instructed to “Place your ‘Left Ring Finger’ in the undulating bug next to your keyboard.” It just gets more Lynchian from there. (You’ll have to play it yourself to find out exactly how and why, but I will say that like Lynch’s films, it’s all about the timing.) Throughout the game, Lynch stays in the upper lefthand corner, offering extremely enthusiastic encouragement, never even reacting when you make a mistake, and continually calling you “kiddo.”
“I’m a film director, so I know communicating with actors can be complicated,” Palmer said. “I was watching behind the scenes with Inland Empire, and when David Lynch was talking to Laura Dern, he was so encouraging!” Palmer read a Vanity Fair article last year that revealed Lynch’s cute nicknames for his leading ladies (Dern is “Tidbit,” Naomi Watts is “Buttercup,” Patricia Arquette is “Solid Gold”), and he thought he’d bring that personal touch into the game. “I felt ‘kiddo’ was a very Lynchian term of encouragement,” Palmer said.
As it turns out, Palmer is a former typing teacher himself. “I was a typing tutor, and it’s hellish motivating kids to type,” he said. “It has a macabre and mundane element, perfect for David Lynch.” David Lynch Teaches Typing is “less a game of skill and more an interactive experience,” he added.
Alas, David Lynch joins the increasingly long list of people who attempted and failed to teach me to type with the correct fingering. I truly enjoyed the game, though. And, thanks for the coffee and smoke break, Mr. Lynch! (I really needed it about three minutes in.) Maybe I’ll give Cooldog a try next.