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RuneScape Teaches Typing

My typing skills were forged in the crucible of MMO gaming—specifically, in RuneScape. Although I frequently used various desktop computers in our house for about 5 years prior to first playing RuneScape around October 2004, and although we also had Internet access in our house for roughly a year before then—during which time I browsed the Web pretty heavily—it was not until after I began playing RuneScape that I was forced by necessity to develop my typing abilities.

Up until I first started playing the game, I had never really needed quick typing skills: all other PC games I had played did not require heavy typing, all assignments and homework for school were completed by hand, and all other things I did on the computer (e.g. performing a Web search) very rarely involved typing more than a few words. My typing method back then was an unbearably slow hunt-and-peck, and I did not know the layout of the keyboard at all. Pretty soon after I began playing RuneScape, though, I realized that, unless you didn't care very much about communicating with other players, the ability to type quickly was very important for playing and enjoying the game.

I can recall once, in my early days in RuneScape, I was attempting to sell a small collection of various runes I had in my possession, and repeatedly typed my sale offer into the game's chat, but without identifying the particular types of runes or their specific quantities. When finally another player approached me and asked about what runes I had, I was delighted that someone was interested in buying, and so I carefully typed my response, listing each variety of rune and the quantity I had in my inventory. Unfortunately, at that time my typing speed was still quite slow; I can still remember glancing back and forth between my keyboard and my monitor to check my inventory, and the great effort I put into composing my reply, which must have taken around a minute to type. When I was nearly finished, and typing the last few characters of the message, the other player had grown impatient, and ran away just as I pressed the Enter key to broadcast it into the game's chat.

That experience was certainly one of many motivators back then for me to improve my typing abilities. Gradually my typing speed increased over the next year or so, no doubt due to the fact that I spent much time playing the game, until by March 2006 (when I took my first break from RuneScape) it was, at the very least, not embarrassingly slow, and perhaps even pretty impressive for a kid of my age at the time.

This is not to say that my typing speed has never increased since then. I am faster today—or, at least, not slower—than I was in 2015, definitely faster in 2015 than I was in 2010, and most certainly faster in 2010 than I was in 2006. Playing RuneScape almost daily back then certainly didn't provide me all my typing experience, nor did it suddenly increase my WPM from the single digits to well into the triple digits, but it was still nevertheless the most important single thing which motivated me as a kid all those years ago to seriously learn how to type.

I also remember that one day during (probably) 2005, I was in my school's computer class when the teacher announced that, for the next handful of class sessions, we would learn and practice typing by completing the lessons and activities of an educational children's typing game (I can still remember the title of that game, which was Type to Learn 3, as well as much of its gameplay). As I had been playing RuneScape nearly daily for at least some months by that point, my typing speed was far faster than that of any of my classmates, and I can recall very quickly breezing through each of the game's lessons; after a few more class sessions, I was the only one who had either finished all of the game's lessons or had even come close to doing so. Naturally my classmates were amazed; when they asked me how I had learned to type so quickly, I told them with pride that I had learned from RuneScape. Even the teacher, when informed by my classmates of my typing skills, was pretty surprised and impressed, though I also remember that she was a bit annoyed that I didn't follow the game's instructions to place my fingers in the home position (i.e. on the home row keys), but instead used my own peculiar typing method. Thanks, RuneScape!

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This page last modified on 18 February 2020.