Initial D Typing Trainer CD-ROM: Edutainment Intensifies!

Initial D Typing Trainer CD-ROM: Edutainment Intensifies!


As far as typing games go there have
been some odd tie-ins over the years to say the least. But today’s is one of the
more obscure that I’ve been lucky enough to discover: Initial D – Ryosuke Takahashi’s
Fastest Typing-theory, developed by e-Frontier and published by SunSoft in the
year 2000 for Windows and Macintosh computers. As you might expect this was
released exclusively in Japan, as was the PlayStation 2 release from 2001 which
seems to be a little more familiar to fans of the series. Either way though as
soon as I saw Initial D Teaches Typing existed for the PC I felt the only
responsible thing to do would be to import a copy and show the world. Just
look at this loud overcrowded box art! “Don’t miss it! Post your time attack scores
online, enjoy non-stop eurobeat background music, ahh!” And in case you somehow
haven’t picked up on it, this is based on the Initial D series of manga and anime
featuring characters, cars, and scenes from late 90s episodes of said anime. Like
that iconic panda white and black Toyota AE86. Nice. While I’ve seen precious
little of the shows themselves I’ve seen more than a few PC boxes and this
one has a rather decent interior. Packed in here are several items, starting with
this sheet providing the product license agreement, a totally unnecessary but
appreciated monochrome manual that simply tells you to click on stuff and
enjoy it, and the game itself on a classy looking highly reflective CD-ROM. I
always enjoy when companies don’t go with a full label like this, mmm. Once you
have some Japanese language settings enabled on your operating system Initial
D Teaches Typing can be run directly from the CD. As far as I can tell from
the readme this is the intention as there’s no proper installation and it
only saves some basic settings and high scores on your hard drive. The main thing
to make sure of is that a compatible version of Macromedia Shockwave and
Apple QuickTime are installed and you’ll be good to go. It also comes with these
HTML files on the CD showing what the e-Frontier and online leaderboards would
have looked like at the time for whatever reason. I guess as a teaser of
sorts in case you didn’t have ability to get on the internet. I don’t
know, it’s kind of neat in retrospect though, seeing as the original pages are
long gone from the server these days and you’d have to look for other archives if
you wanted to see these. So, Mavis Beacon’s Initial D begins with a wall of warnings
saying how it’s a work of fiction and you should always drive safely in real
life and be sure to maintain proper keyboarding posture and that your
keyboard’s Japanese character mode should be turned off while playing and ahh! Whatever
man, it’s time to BREAK IN 2 THE NITE. Yep, this is the menu of an Initial D
game all right. And the options option is a good place to start seeing is it lets
you change between keyboard input types and customize certain aspects of your
Japanese keyboard, should you have one. Although I’m playing this on a U.S.
QWERTY keyboard so I was able to just leave things on the default settings and
didn’t have any problems. There are also three difficulty modes to choose from
with the hardest on top and easiest on the bottom. And lastly you can adjust the
audio options in the event that you somehow tire of the “eurobeat non-stop
BGM… and everything else because it’s all or nothing when it comes to audio.
Beginning a new game lets you choose between two gameplay types with the
first mode being a time attack battle and the second being a
[PRACTICE MOOOOODE] Practice mode is a mode that allows for practicing, practically speaking. There’s
a left hand practice, right hand practice, and both hands practice allowing you to
focus your abilities on certain parts of the keyboard simultaneously or
separately. But either way, this is what you get here.
[Japanese narrator explains things] [practice mode commences, rather blandly] Yeah all the practice mode provides is a
static background and an array of paired letters and numbers to press as quickly
as possible. Considering the actual game has you doing far more in terms of
frantic fingertip floundering I didn’t find practicing here to be very helpful.
So I’d recommend simply skipping that and jumping right into the battle mode
which is divided up into five stages, the fifth of which is locked until you win
against the others. So let’s start with the first battle against the FD3S, aka
the third-generation Mazda RX-7. Yep, this is the entirety of the rest of the
game right here. The formula stays the same no matter what you do: first anime happens,
then it pauses and you have to type some stuff. If you type quickly and accurately enough,
more anime happens, rinse and repeat until the race is over. Yay high score. However straightforward the gameplay may be
though, that’s not to say it’s entirely without merit or effortless either. The fact
that this is a game that mixes downhill drift racing and a typing tutor is thoroughly unique
inside of my own library of edutainment. Although I suppose it’s not entirely unprecedented,
seeing as the grandmother of typing tutors, Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing, featured a driving
minigame in various releases ever since the 80s. But still, typing along to high-stakes
downhill drift racing goes a step beyond. Mario teaching typing is one thing, zombies teaching typing is another, but
JDM street racers teaching typing? That is a whole ‘nother level of awesome
juxtaposition right there. And yes as disparate as racing and typing are in
reality, it works surprisingly well in Initial D Keyboard Kapers™. There is a
frenetic energy to both activities with the speed and skill of driving a sports
car matching the speed and skill of accurately typing *just* loosely enough
that it kind of works. Although the illusion that your typing
is actually directly affecting the race is broken pretty quickly once you
realize the background videos don’t actually change at all, even if you mess
up horrendously and plaster the keyboard in faulty presses. You can mess up a
crapload, so long as you make it through the race with at least a sliver of
health left in your HP bar at the top left of the screen, you’ll succeed over
your opponent. The replayability factor here comes from your own self-imposed
urge to attain a higher score by typing quicker and more accurately. Otherwise
you’re stuck seeing the same exact footage over and over with the only
change occurring when you screw up so much that you run out of health and get
a vague crash scene. [vague crash sound effects with echoey anime reverb] Still, it remains a novel enough
experience that I can certainly recommend this, even if only for a single
playthrough. And admittedly a part of that appeal comes from the fact that I’m
an English speaker who can’t read a lick of Japanese. So the mere word and
character structure here trips me up something fierce. Yeah these are Roman
characters but they’re not English, and typically when I’m playing a typing game
I’m reading English words. And many of those I’m used to typing out in everyday typing
scenarios, so when I see an English word I see it as a shape and I
can rapidly translate that to my fingers due to muscle memory. But when it comes to
these words and strings of grammatical elements, man. My brain ain’t
used to this so it presents quite an enjoyable but tricky challenge.
Especially in the later levels where it starts tossing you ridiculously long
lines of text, numbers, and punctuation with rapidly diminishing room for error.
The final stage in particular was brutally difficult even on the default
difficulty setting. Part of this is, again, due to the unique mix of characters that
I’m not used to typing in this quick succession. Another part of it is due to
the small amount of screen real estate leading to word wrap. And this means your
eyes are constantly shifting around the screen a bit to determine the next
characters to type. I wish it had an option to change around the graphical
settings to run at a higher resolution than 640×480 so maybe these stacked
lines of text could be avoided. But seeing as it was made in Macromedia
Director it doesn’t surprise me that it’s limited in this way. Regardless of
potential resolution challenges though, Initial D Fastest Typing-theory is still
a darn fascinating game, even if the actual gameplay is a bit… I mean you
know, it’s a typing tutor, it is what it is. You don’t even get much for beating
the game, just some credits and the chance to try again for a higher score
to brag about online. At least it *has* an ending, more than I can say for *some*
edutainment games. And hey, the fact that it exists in any form at all cracks me
up, and how it later got a sequel under the subtitle Second Stage cracks me up
even more. As far as edutainment goes Initial D Typing earns top marks from me.
The premise is absurd, the eurobeat is non-stop, and the
gameplay is simple but effective in its goals. I felt my skills in typing these
particular phrases genuinely improving the more I played. By the end, going back
to the first couple stages felt like an absolute
breeze. So yeah while it might not be the most commonplace game in the world of
edutainment or even the most enjoyable to replay repeatedly, it is one of the
more amusingly silly ones that unexpectedly ended up being one of the
more effective in what it set out to do. And in doing so actually ended up
being a better game than the actual Initial D racing game we got on the PC
in North America back then. How did that happen? So for that reason alone I say,
“Initial D Typing: don’t miss it!” [NOT EUROBEAT MUSIC. DISLIKED, UNSUBSCRIBED] And yeah my apologies for the reupload here,
that was out of my hands and was thoroughly annoying to deal with. But if you enjoyed
the episode anyway then thank you very much. I do edutainment episodes every April and
other stuff every Monday and Friday right here on LGR. And as always, 見てくれてありがとう!

100 thoughts on “Initial D Typing Trainer CD-ROM: Edutainment Intensifies!

  1. The company that currently owns the rights to Initial D's music claimed all rights to my original upload and then slapped a copyright claim on it. I disputed it in every way I could, but they still refused to lift the claim, saying that it wasn't fair use.
    I would have dealt with it and left it up had they not proceeded to disable all embedding of the video, applied a bunch of restrictions on who could watch it around the world, and also added forms of advertising I am not okay with.
    So that's why I've reuploaded this with the gameplay's background music removed. I also took the opportunity to add in a small section comparing it to Mavis Beacon's driving minigame, because why not. Thanks for the understanding, copyright claims are annoying!

  2. At first I thought this is a new Initial D typing game. Then I quickly realised this is the same game then I read the description and your first comment to find that this is a re-upload due to copyright sh*t. I watched anyway to find which scene was altered because of the music and which scene was added. I was not disappointed and highly amused 🙂 Thanks, Clint!

  3. I know Edutainment month is over, but here's an idea. I didn't see it on your list of videos, but it's one I spent many hours on. Gizmos and Gadgets. I saw that Pushing up Roses did a video on it.

  4. Looks like the kind of game I'd find in the software section of my local Mitsuwa. They've got quite a good selection of things if you are a Japanese immigrant, or just a weeb…

  5. Too bad you were Content ID'd. I really liked watching the original video on endless loop to listen to the music instead of buying a CD of _just the music_. [Face palm intensifies]

  6. would you know if a soundblaster pci 128 would be compatible with dos? and if so, where could i get some drivers? i just got one but it does not register on anything i try with it

  7. Hey Clint! Please do a review on The Sims – Stories. I remember getting it cheap a few years ago and that it sucked really bad. Would love to hear your thoughts on it!

  8. I learned how to type with Mavis Bacon.
    Copyright claims are simply greed. They already made their money. Screw those asshats

  9. This video doesn't feature Euro Beat Nonstop BGM. I'm this close to disliking.

    EDIT: Reading the sticky first would have helped, wouldn't it -.-

  10. I think the game is called Second Stage is because at the time the Anime was on it's second season and they called it Initial D Second Stage

  11. I love that (despite your name) you didn't do the lazy thing that many game reviewers do when they are faced with a foreign game and just say "I have no idea what any of this says." Taking the time to understand what is written down gives so much better of a review experience, even for something so odd and out of nowhere as this. Really sets you apart!

  12. One nitpick that I noticed is that always renders ん as "nn." This signals to the Japanese input method that you definitely want ん and not some other syllable that starts with n, but it's often not necessary. For example, in the Japanese word for birthday, たんじょうび (tanjoubi), you can just type "nj" and the IME knows you obviously want an ん there. It's only really needed when the ん is followed directly by a vowel or by another syllable that starts with "n." So this game promotes slightly inefficient typing, and is therefore unacceptable.

  13. I can confirm, playing a racing game with a keyboard (especially if you're actually using every control a car would give you) is quite similar to typing out incredibly long sets of kana

  14. But can he keep the drift after *SHIFT*ing it up into 4th gear?

    GET IT??? SHIFT?? LIKE SHIFT KEY AHAHAHHAHAHAH

    ok i'll see myself out

  15. Makes sense the second game was called "Second Stage" cause that is also the name of the second season of the anime series.
    (Highly recommended anime BTW. The music is awesome and completely fit the action scenes. And the characters are quirky and they do all sort off weird special tricks during the races. I laughed my ass of watching the first season. (later seasons become more serious though) And I have absolutely nothing with cars. Don't even have a licence (age 46) )

  16. Don't let this distract you from the fact that Hector is gonna be running 3 Honda Civic's with spoon engines. On top of that he just came into Harry's and ordered 3 t66 turbo's with NOS and a Motec System Exhaust.

  17. I'd really love to see you do a review of Treasure Mountain. SpaceHamster is the only other big Youtuber I've seen cover it. It's the edutainment game that I remember playing the most in school.

  18. Amazing video brother. Much love and respect from Indiana. i have some strange pc games too. But I also have an Initial D type game that I absolutely HAVE to dig out now that I've seen this.

  19. Well Clint, I have never read a manga or watched an anime in my life (just never occurred to me to try….) but I got really curious about what Initial D is so I checked out the funimation channel and damn, I am well into watching the series and I admit that I am enoying it immensely. I think it also helps that I love the game Need for Speed Underground 2. I even went back and acquired the Corolla and I am doing it up to look like the fabled 86 (I know, I know but what the hell, I am really enjoying myself). Thank you for bringing it to my attention.

  20. The copyright was likely from Avex. They were very sensitive with their songs at the time this was uploaded and I saw a few channels that were affected as well. They have stopped now, but its weird nonetheless.

  21. Sucks that someone like you get manually claimed for copyrights…
    Ross from Accursed farms called you an historian and I completly agree with that statement.
    Still, smooth jazz at least.

  22. i really wanted to watch this video but its so boring you talk about the box forever i cant continue to watch it…….

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