Well, it's over. It's all over. The aliens have been monitoring our chat rooms and our text messages, and they know our weakness; proper spelling. Or at least, proper typing capabilities. If you want to survive in Dominic Szablewski's arcade shooter game Z-Type, you'll have to leave the 1337 speak at home if you don't want the aliens to pwn your ship. (People still pwn, right? Kids these days.) The menu screen tells you all you really need to know; type to shoot. Enemies fly in from the top of the screen with a word in front of them; type that word as fast as you can to blow them to smithereens. Don't let them reach you or all the contrived movie plot devices in the world won't save you from the Game Over screen. (Where's Jeff Goldblum when you really need him?)
If Z-Type appears to be a fairly simple game, well... that's 'cause it is. You'll encounter more enemy types as the game progresses, but the method of dealing with them always stays the same. There is some strategy involved; certain types of enemies will need to be dealt with first unless you feel like frantically trying to deal with dozens of tiny spawned ships making a beeline straight for you. While it does take a while for the difficulty to really ramp up, the longer you last the more the game starts to resemble a good ol' fashioned bullet-hell shoot-em-up.
While there's no denying it needs a bit more variety to its gameplay to really elevate it beyond a simple diversion, what exists is still a remarkably pretty and well designed example of HTML 5—developed with Dominic's own custom HTML5 game engine, Impact—put to good use and has loads of potential. I'd love to see an expansion on this in the future; maybe something where different words corresponded to different power-ups, or at least had some sort of affect on the action, or maybe even told a story. (Am I optimistic or what?) At the end of the game (which is basically however long your fingers hold out) you'll be presented with a screen that tells you how well you did. If you're a halfway decent typist you'll probably last a good long while, especially since there's no real penalty for typos. Addicting and cleanly designed, Z-Type is the perfect little time waster if you want to pretend you're being productive, too. Hey, you're not just playing games, you're practicing your typing skills! That's totally like work and stuff. Go on, have a cookie. You earned it.