<Backspace< is, in essence, a typing game from Sean Chan (creator, among others, of Battleships Forever). It has some interesting visuals -- floating text in the background, a chartreuse-on-black scheme reminiscent of an old school monitor, circa 1982. You're presented with text to type, and the faster you do so (accurately), the more points you score.
The gimmick is that the text you type is an MSN chat log. The "load" option defaults to subfolder in your Documents folder where MSN stores chat logs, and you can load any one. You're typing both sides of the conversation.
Chan's pious hope is this:
- The point of this game is to use it on your chat logs with someone significant in your life. My objective with this game is to give players a renewed appreciation of how their relationship with someone developed. Hopefully, looking back on your shared history with someone helps you rediscover something about that relationship. Myself, I've already set off quite a few memories - some good, some bad, some just plain messed up - with this game. It's the end of the year, a good time to reflect on your past before looking ahead to the new year.
To which my ever-so-cynical mind goes: Oh, yeah. I'm imagining a whole lot of chat logs that start like this:
- Roughdude24: yo btich u horny? asl
Of course, if your goal is accuracy in typing, literary gems such as the above are excellent training, since the game won't let you progress until you spell "btich" correctly. Or rather, incorrectly. That is, render it correctly in the orthography provided by its illustrious author.
Indeed, <Backspace< offers up a whole lot of interesting possibilities, like typing madly and becoming increasingly steamed as you review the chats between your ex and the person s/he left you for, or re-typing the Harry/Draco slash roleplay of your daughter and some random Internet geek, or re-experiencing some skanky and embarrassing cybersex of your own from bygone years.
Of course, the fact that it depends on MSN logs means that its utility is limited, since, after all, who uses MSN? I mean, real geeks use IRC, normal people use AIM, then there's YIM and Skype, and probably a few folks still using ICQ. But MSN? Might be more universally useful if it loaded logs from other apps as well.
The installer provides a couple of "logs," basically text from other things (including the notorious Harry Potter "wang" version shown in the screenshot) to get you started.
So, you know... if you want to increase typing accuracy and speed, this is probably a good way to do it. But perhaps it's best for your blood pressure if you don't go looking in other peoples' Documents folders on your machine to see what they've been up to.