Featured Freeware: Dark Room

Dark Room looks like the classic text-adventure game Zork, but it's actually a word processor that aims to eliminate all other distractions as it illuminates your manuscript.

Based on the Mac software WriteRoom, Dark Room for Windows looks a heck of a lot like the classic text-adventure game Zork. It's a black background with a CRT-style green foreground color for your text that aims to offer a distraction-free application for writing. There are few bells and no whistles: this lightweight text editor is without buttons, menus, or anything else that might disturb your concentration. You can either accept the default preferences and start typing into a new document, or hit Ctrl+, to open up the Preferences.

Because Dark Room starts in full-screen mode by default, you won't be able to see the menus at the top of the application. To access the Preferences from the "View" menu, exit full-screen mode by hitting the F11 button, then select "View." From the Preferences dialog, you can change the color and size of your font, the color and size of the Dark Room "page" (the writable area of the screen), and the color and opacity of the background (behind the page), as well as a variety of advanced settings, such as the ability to open documents in Dark Room from the Windows context menu, multiple monitor support, neutral highlighting, and autosaving.

Basic text-editing features like "Copy," "Paste," and "Find," help you do slightly more advanced tasks, but that's about it. Users can't make global replacements, for example. Most people will probably find its lack of tools frustrating, but if you need a nice, dark room in which to write, this app could be your best friend.