Simulation Recreates the Frustration of Using a Typewriter

istock / istock

If you were born after 1980, there’s a good chance you’ve never experienced the unique joys and frustrations of using a typewriter. While plenty of the nostalgia for typewriters is well-deserved—the lovely sounds of keys clacking and bells ringing were lost when computers took their place—the device wasn’t always the easiest way to write a document: Pressing too many keys at once would cause your typewriter to jam, ink would run out unevenly, and characters would come out wobbly, or not at all.

Now, for anyone who has never used a typewriter—or folks feeling nostalgic for those bygone typewriter days—there’s a realistic typewriter simulation called OverType that not only mimics the look and sound of typewriter print, but recreates the device’s flaws. Created by programmer Ben Wheeler, the free web app faithfully mimics the manual typewriter experience, and even allows users to adjust features like ribbon ink and “brokenness.”

“It started because I was trying to tell my kids about how typewriters worked (because of course they’d never seen one),” Wheeler explains on the OverType website. “I looked for a typewriter simulator on the web, but all the existing ones that I could find get one very basic thing wrong—when you press backspace, they erase the character you just typed, like a computer.” The experience inspired Wheeler to create OverType, which captures both the typewriter’s advantages and flaws.

[h/t Boing Boing]