Mario comes to the PC, in the form of a typing tutor.
In this product you get to play one of four games, of progressing difficulty (as either Mario, Luigi or the Princess):
Mario's Smash & Dash: Assist your character run past a series of boxes and turtles, each labelled with a letter that must be typed to avoid the obstacle.
Mario's Wet World Challenge: Help your characters swim across the screen whilst being chased by hungry sea creatures - only typing the words that scroll across the bottom of the screen will let you escape.
Mario's Tunnel Of Doom: Help your character run through a tunnel filled with traps, avoiding falling blocks and the like, by correctly typing the sentences which scroll across the top of the screen.
Mario's Expert Express: Essentially a practice typing lesson where you copy and type pre-defined paragraphs with the assistance of Mario's supervision.
In today's computer age one of the most important skills a child has to learn is how to type; it has become almost as important as learning how to hold a pencil and write with it, and its importance might even grow beyond it (I mean, honestly, compare the number of words you type daily to the number you write by hand).
But you can't simply expect everybody to be able to type. Some people are quite slow at it and most people (regardless of speed) are self-taught. Here's a lovely little computer program (that's right, I don't dare call this a game) that can certainly help improve on your typing skills and keyboard orientation. It's an actual typing tool disguised as a game featuring everybody's favorite arcade duo - Mario and Luigi. So what do you need to do? You need to type accurately for a long enough time period in order to get through to the next level.
You start simply, by hitting single characters only (letters and symbols), but you'll progress to typing whole sets of words and numbers! It doesn't only help you learn how to type, it also works on your reading and memorising and even your spelling skills. Every session is time-limited, so you need to be somewhat fast to complete it successfully. It won't represent a real challenge to a normal grown up typist, but if you're one of those people who still use CAPS LOCK every time they want to make a capital letter - then you don't stand a chance.
The graphics itself are colorful and the animation is smooth, so no problem there. It's eye-catching enough for little kids, but not too bright and eye-burning for a grown-up to give it a try.
One of the nice features is an option to print out a certificate showing how well you did during each session. This may seem silly, but don't forget the target group for this game is children under the age of 8 - and they would feel quite proud to have their top score printed out, proving they graduated from Mario's Typing School, where Mario Teaches Typing.
A great typing tutorial that is best described as Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing for kids, Mario Teaches Typing is a full-featured typing program that has something for everyone, although kids with no typing experience will get the most from the program-- while enjoying cute antics of Nintendo's popular Mario brothers.
After you sign in, you can choose from many activities that suit your level of typing proficiency. If you are a beginner, the game will teach you from the ground up, letter by letter. The interface is one of the best I've seen in this type of program: you will see two cartoony hands at the bottom third the screen, which will flash the finger you should use to press keys when the letter shows up in in the top screen. The top two-thirds of the screen is taken up by attractive graphics, showing Mario (or Luigi or the Princess, whomever you choose) doing his cutesy Mario-things (e.g. knocking blocks, jumping on turtles, etc.) when you press the correct key. Do it right, and you will see Mario advance to the next level, just like in the Super Nintendo version.
In addition to many difficulty levels you can choose from, one of the program's best features is the Report Card, which not only displays your accuracy in percentage and your WPM (words per minute) count, but also "problem keys," i.e. keys you have most trouble with. And as if that is not enough, many sentences you will be typing are taken from famous plays, novels, or historical documents, with the source always given at the end. This adds extra educational value to the package, and make you want to come back to it even after you have mastered typing. Overall, Mario Teaches Typing is a very enjoyable typing tutor that no house should be without.
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Oregon Trail Deluxe, Mario is Missing, Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing, Where in The USA is Carmen Sandiego? Deluxe Edition, Mario's Early Years! Preschool Fun, Mario's Time Machine, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? CD-ROM, Super Mario Pac
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