Steno Hero

by Open Steno Project

An open-source software game for practicing stenography. Learn to type 200+ words per minute.

$8,440 raised

of $7,500 goal

112% Funded!
Not Available
May 15 2016
funded on

Product Choices


Well-dressed Hero

Backers will receive their choice of either a Steno Arcade or Steno Hero t-shirt, a set of Steno Arcade and Steno Hero stickers, and get their name included in the Credits.


Lyrical Hero

Backers will receive a Steno Arcade t-shirt, Steno Hero t-shirt, a set of Steno Arcade and Steno Hero stickers, get their name included in the lyrics of a playable Steno Hero song level, and get their name included in the Credits.


Pixelated Hero

Backers will be digitally inserted into Steno Hero as pixelated crowd members, get their name included in the lyrics of a playable Steno Hero song level, receive a Steno Arcade t-shirt, Steno Hero t-shirt, a set of Steno Arcade and Steno Hero stickers, and get their name included in the Credits.


Learned Hero

Backers will receive a (transferable) private online steno lesson and/or Plover training session from Mirabai Knight, get digitally inserted into Steno Hero as pixelated crowd members, get their name included in the lyrics of a playable Steno Hero song level, receive a Steno Arcade t-shirt, Steno Hero t-shirt, a set of Steno Arcade and Steno Hero stickers, and get their name included in the Credits. Great for working court reporters who want to get younger relatives into steno!


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"It’s free to play, meaning free to download and play, not the modern sense of it being full of microtransactions. It’s also open source, meaning if you’ve got the know-how you’re free to edit the game to your heart’s content."

Why Are We Doing This?

Realtime stenography is powerful data-entry technology, allowing you to enter text at speeds of up to 260 words per minute with incredible accuracy. Unfortunately, the high cost of proprietary steno hardware, software, and training has has driven a decline in the number of professional stenographers and the complete absence of an amateur or hobbyist steno scene.

Launched in 2010, the Open Steno Project (OSP) has worked to reverse that trend. Since then, the OSP’s open source software, low-cost hardware, and free online textbook have helped hundreds of people discover the ease, speed, and accuracy of stenography.

With Steno Arcade, the OSP hopes to make the learning process even easier. Instead of teaching yourself from a textbook, Steno Arcade will help you learn steno by playing video games. Before you know it, you’ll be able to output text two or even three times more efficiently than before!

What is Steno Arcade?

Steno Arcade is a suite of four arcade games designed to teach and drill steno and keyboarding fundamentals in an immersive, addictive, responsive, and interactive way. Steno Arcade is 100% free and open source and works with any steno machine or keyboard.

What is Steno Hero?

Steno Hero is the first arcade game being developed for the Steno Arcade suite. Imagine your favorite rhythm games, but instead of pressing buttons that vaguely emulate the original instruments, you’re hitting steno chords or keyboard keys to precisely and accurately produce the lyrics to your favorite music! It’s like singing karaoke with your fingers! Upon completion, Steno Hero will include a total of 12 playable songs, with the potential for more to be added post-release. And if the crowdfunding campaign hits the $10,500 stretch goal, we’ll be able to develop an editor to let you play with your own songs! The Steno Hero game is primarily for advanced users of steno, with the other three arcade games planned for the Steno Arcade suite intended for beginners and intermediate users.

The first 12 songs in Steno Hero:

  • “Antarctic Moon” by Dan O’Connor
  • “Cherubs” by Josh Woodward
  • “Code Monkey” by Jonathan Coulton
  • “Let It In” by Josh Woodward
  • “I Feel Fantastic” by Jonathan Coulton
  • “I’m Your Moon” by Jonathan Coulton
  • “I Think I Started a Trend” by Brad Sucks
  • “Learn to Fly” by Josh Woodward
  • “Mandelbrot Set” by Jonathan Coulton
  • “My Favorite Regret” by Josh Woodward
  • “On Brevity” by Josh Woodward
  • “Sunday Smiled” by Hungry Lucy
  • “That Spells DNA” by Jonathan Coulton
  • "The Most" by Ancient Free Gardeners
  • “The Standing Ones” by Hungry Lucy

If Steno Arcade Is Free, Why Are You Crowdfunding?

The Open Steno Project has teamed up with independent game development studio For All To Play to make Steno Arcade a reality. By donating to our fundraising campaign, you’ll help us to focus all our effort on development of Steno Arcade and Steno Hero, which means we can complete the game in months, rather than years. If our crowdfunding campaign fails, we will continue development on Steno Arcade in our free time, but it will mean another long wait before any progress is made and the game is completed, as we will have to take on other paid projects to keep our studio afloat. Steno Arcade has been a dream of the Open Steno community for over five years. Let’s make that dream a reality.

Play Now in Early Access!

The Steno Arcade alpha is now available for download on Steam Early Access. The Early Access build includes Steno Hero with seven songs:

  • "Sunday Smiled" by Hungry Lucy
  • "The Standing Ones" by Hungry Lucy
  • "I Think I Started a Trend" by Brad Sucks
  • “I’m Your Moon” by Jonathan Coulton
  • “Mandelbrot Set” by Jonathan Coulton
  • “That Spells DNA” by Jonathan Coulton
  • “I Feel Fantastic” by Jonathan Coulton

Don’t have Steam? The alpha (for Mac, Windows, Linux) can be downloaded directly from:

How to Play

While Steno Arcade is designed to be played with a steno machine, it can also be played with any standard keyboard, like any other typing game. For example, the slower, easier songs in Steno Hero are perfectly playable by ordinary typists using a standard keyboard.

However, with the faster, harder songs, it will be hard to keep up with a standard keyboard. You’ll need to use steno if you want to complete the songs with a high level of accuracy and precision. For that you’ll need either a steno keyboard or you’ll need to simulate a steno keyboard with a standard (e.g., QWERTY) keyboard and Plover, an application developed by the OSP for steno simulation. Steno simulation requires a keyboard with N-key rollover (NKRO). The OSP wiki has a handy list of compatible keyboards.


I Feel Fantastic - Jonathan Coulton

Mandelbrot Set - Jonathan Coulton

QWERTY-keyboard vs Steno-machine

I’m Your Moon - Jonathan Coulton

That Spells DNA - Jonathan Coulton

Coding with steno

Yet another reason to practice steno with Steno Hero! Programmers rejoice:

The T-shirts

T-shirts are unisex and 100% cotton! Rough sizing chart below:

SizeWidthHeightSleeve Length to Center
Small18" (45.72cm)28" (71.12cm)15.63" (39.7cm)
Medium20" (50.8cm)29" (73.66cm)17" (43.18cm)
Large22" (55.88m)30" (76.2cm)18.5" (46.99cm)
XL24" (60.96cm)31" (78.74cm)20" (50.8cm)

##Stretch Goals

####$10,500 (Steno Hero - In-Game Song Editor) We can afford to add an in-game song editor that will make it easy to import your own music into the game. That way you can practice building your typing skills with any song in your music library!

####$17,000 (Stenogger) We can afford to develop Stenogger (Steno Arcade Volume I: Beginner). Hop your way around the steno keyboard and learn what steno is all about!

####$23,000 (Stenobolt) We can afford to develop Stenobolt (Steno Arcade Volume II: Intermediate). Leap over obstacles in a single bound while learning to write the 6,000 most common English words in a single stroke!

####$30,000 (Stenografius) We can afford to develop Stenografius (Steno Arcade Volume III: Advanced). Crunch multisyllabic foes into briefs and build your dictionary while learning how to write any word, name, symbol, emoji, or multiword phrase in the galaxy!

Our Team

Steno Arcade is a collaboration between the Open Steno Project and For All to Play.

####The Open Steno Project (The Visionaries) The Open Steno Project seeks to bring free software, low-cost hardware, and interactive learning tools to everyone who wants to use steno for personal or professional pursuits. For more information about The Open Steno Project, visit

####For All To Play (The Developers) For All To Play is an independent game studio that designs and develops casual and accessible games, or games that are playable by people with visual, hearing, physical, and cognitive disabilities. For more information about For All To Play, visit

Risks and challenges

The risks and challenges involved with this project are low. We’ve already developed a demo of Steno Arcade that includes Steno Hero with four playable tracks. This demo will serve as the foundation for the final game. With your financial support, we can cover the development costs associated with adding additional tracks to Steno Hero, polishing the visuals and menus, and adding screen reader support. We are fully committed to this project and will ensure that it is completed on time and within budget.


Open Steno Project

The Open Steno Project is an umbrella project for open source stenography tools, including hardware, software, educational resources, and community.

Mirabai Knight

Elias Aoude

Anthony Russo

Eric Anumba

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