Back in the mid-1990s, I had an office job that involved scanning lots of barcodes and entering the details from thousands of "assets" into a database. The database front end was nothing more than a simple DOS script, and I spent many hours, days, and weeks tapping away and getting nowhere. As a distraction that might also teach me how to touch type, I wrote a small game in the QBASIC version that came bundled with the PC. This game simply timed how long it took me to type all the letters on the keyboard in a specific random order. The best thing about this game was that while I was playing it, I appeared to be working amazingly productively! All my co-workers were in awe of the rapid keyboard sounds that came from my cubicle, thinking I was rattling through the asset database at an unrivaled rate. In reality, I was trying to beat my high score.

VimDDR reminds me very much of that early QBASIC game I wrote because you can't really get a simpler game. Its 118 lines of Python wouldn't even look out of place printed in a 1980s computer magazine, ready for game-starved readers to type in the themselves. Run the script and a line appears showing a single unicode arrow and three hearts. The hearts are your lives, and the arrow indicates which vim direction key you need to press. This is real vim, which means you're not allowed to use the cursor keys! It's a classic finger trainer for h, j, k, and l – the gateway keys to vim's heady greatness. Master these instead of those cheap arrow keys, and you'll position yourself for vim's many and varied editing shortcuts. And it works!

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118 lines of Python can be surprisingly useful and addictive.

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