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Game fonts: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Leona Lewis

Banned
May 22, 2010
17,149
0
335
Love the font from P3/P4. So readable - just pops off the screen for my old, busted eyes.


Final Fantasy Tactics' font has this subtle charming quality to it.


Love that ubiquitous CPS2 font (seen in the characters' names)

 

see5harp

Member
May 12, 2009
20,070
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I remember some guy who worked in translation posting about fonts and why so many JRPG translations end up being terrible. It was something about the native japanese text and how it was formatted.
 

Soma

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Jun 7, 2010
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Wow I'm sorry but the Class of Heroes 2 and Growlanser V examples look terrible.

Though on the flipside I don't really mind the type-face Persona 2: IS uses.
 

Aeana

Member
Jul 10, 2006
42,062
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I hope whoever chose the font for dialogue for FFXII was taken out behind Square Enix HQ and shot.



And I had no idea until I just did a google image search, but apparently someone heroically took it upon themselves to do the right thing and patched FFXII to replace it with the classic and far superior FFX font... (linking it because I don't remember how to resize images on this board):

http://imageshack.us/a/img51/5640/pcsx220121119062350201b.png

That's not the FF10 font, and the patch isn't a font replacement patch, it's the English FF12 International patch which just retains the font from the menu for dialog.
 

MrCunningham

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Jan 12, 2012
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gblues

Banned
Jun 8, 2004
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Portland, OR

(Class of Heroes 2)

Going to disagree with you here. Blackletter typefaces are really hard to read, although this one manages to not be completely atrocious, but it's no Helvetica.

(Growlanser II: The Sense of Justice)

A beautiful pixel typeface.


(Growlanser V)
This is what happens when you try to lay out a variable-width typeface like a fixed-width typeface. Kerning? Isn't that a frog or something? Horrible typesetting.
 

UncleSporky

Member
Sep 22, 2006
11,736
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I always loved how much font variety existed in NES games. Only 8x8 pixels, yet you could do quite a bit with them:

 

CTLance

Member
Jul 21, 2007
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Slightly OT: I feel sorry for those among us that have a proper "font education".

I mean, yes, I can spot kerning errors when I actively look for them. However, I am not bothered by any font atrocities unless they get in the way of readability. I subconsciously ignore them.

Must be horrible to go window shopping and break out in hives at the crimes against typesetting committed nearly everywhere.


With that in mind: I like the Zelda Links Awakening font. Here's the DX version.
(src)
So clean, yet elegant.
 

bernardobri

Steve, the dog with no powers that we let hang out with us all for some reason
Dec 5, 2008
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Speaking of fonts, anyone knows the name of this one featured on the Fire Emblem 12? It's the same one featured on Fire Emblem 11, but I'm missing the name...

 

Bear

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Nov 24, 2009
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I love the expressive font on the Paper Mario games.

Earthbound also did some cool stuff with that, especially in Saturn Valley. Combined with the music and visuals, it gave the place a really strange vibe that's pretty much unique to the Mother series.

 

DocSeuss

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Mar 26, 2012
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Well, I have quite a bit to say on this matter (surprise), but not enough time to make a post about it at the moment, so it'll have to wait.



That's Papyrus, one of the most improperly used fonts ever. Also used as Avatar's subtitle font, sadly.



That's not Comic Sans, it's Andy.

It boggles my mind that reaction to Papyrus from someone who apparently has never seen it before can be so positive towards it. It's so improperly used because so many people are like "woah, this is the best font ever" when they first see it, and then it gets annoying.

I did not know "Andy" was a font. That's awesome.

I always figured a font named Andy would look like this, though:

 

Lotto

Member
Feb 13, 2012
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Earthbound also did some cool stuff with that, especially in Saturn Valley. Combined with the music and visuals, it gave the place a really strange vibe that's pretty much unique to the Mother series.


Yep.

Love this font so much:



So distinctive to the series and just so good.
 

destrudo

Member
May 11, 2011
756
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It's not something I ever really think about, but oddly enough I really don't like the font in RE6. It seems like the wording should stand out or be stylized, but it just looks like Like Times New Roman except in capital letters. It's made even worse with the basic looking menus and the other font styles thrown in randomly.

 

PaulExcellent

Member
Aug 8, 2012
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Adventure Time for the 3DS has the most basic text boxes of all time, but I'll be damned if I can't stop loving them. Why?

I CAN READ IT.

I'm looking at you, Dead Space 2.
 

ebil

Member
May 19, 2009
2,010
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Paris, France
www.onionsreborn.com
I'm on my phone at the moment, but someone post a UI shot from FFXIV 2.0. It's beautiful.
Came here to post it. Minagawa did an excellent job on ARR in my opinion. Love the mix of fonts and bright colors. So much better than V1, even though that's not a huge achievement in itself.


(that's a shot from the PS3 version by the way)

Edit: I also really liked The Witcher 2's menu fonts (although I'm aware their small size made them hard to read at times).
 

Espada

Member
Feb 26, 2007
4,793
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FFXII's menu font is nice, and I love FFT's font. Persona 3 and 4 are up there as well, it just looks very neat and distinct (without popping out or being hard to read).

Worst? Probably the Gen 3 pokemon games. It's always jarring when I go back and replay them.
 

rohlfinator

Member
Sep 9, 2007
4,286
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I hate super-serif'd fantasy fonts so much. Say what you will about Skyrim's terrible UI, but at least they ditched the faux-handwritten Oblivion font.

I can't stand that stuff either. Overly skeuomorphic fantasy-themed UIs are just kinda gross in general. Skyrim's style was a breath of fresh air; it made nods to its fantasy theme but was totally readable and classy (usability on the other hand... ehh).

It's not something I ever really think about, but oddly enough I really don't like the font in RE6. It seems like the wording should stand out or be stylized, but it just looks like Like Times New Roman except in capital letters. It's made even worse with the basic looking menus and the other font styles thrown in randomly.

It seems like a lot of Japanese games use a similar serif font. I think it works strangely well in Dark Souls, but most of the time it comes across as lazy.
 
Dec 16, 2006
388
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Irvine, CA

(Class of Heroes 2)
I can see what the publisher was going for, but it's sacrificing readability for style. I have to stop and think about what I'm reading with that particular screenshot, and that's gonna suck over the coarse of the game. Hopefully that won't be the case on a real screen since I'm kinda looking forward to the game.

If anything, I'd go with some easy-to-read chalkboard-themed font if they wanted to go with something stylish. Something like this perhaps?:



It'd play well with the theme of the game and the color scheme of that dialogue window.

Personally, I loved the font in Tactics Ogre PSP. There were no letter-spacing issues, and it was a comfortable amount of text in a single line.
 

Aeana

Member
Jul 10, 2006
42,062
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Over the years, there have been a lot of really bad fonts in games, especially English translations of Japanese RPGs.

First, what many refer to as the Tales of Symphonia font. It's awful, and it's used in a fair number of games, including...

Tales of Symphonia




Shadow Hearts




Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song




Breath of Fire 4




Also mentioned is the DS devkit font, but without screenshots of it. So here's some:

Suikoden Tierkreis




Retro Game Challenge




Devil Survivor




999 uses the larger version of the font, so it's not as offensive, but still not good at all.





There are also some fairly crappy Japanese fonts, but one of them is particularly pervasive. Some examples:

Final Fantasy 12



Infinite Undiscovery




Ghost Trick - the English version actually uses the same font, which surprised me. The Roman letters don't look quite as bad, but it's still not very good at all.



As for examples of good typography, Square Enix actually had some great examples on the DS this past generation.

Final Fantasy Tactics A2



The World Ends With You



The IBM font that Atlus USA has been using recently is also quite nice.

Etrian Odyssey 3




Radiant Historia



In terms of Japanese fonts, there's actually a fair number of really good ones, but I think FF9 was the first time I ever saw a Japanese font in a game and thought it looked absolutely wonderful.

Final Fantasy 9





I feel like I could go on forever. I might make another post. I really want to give props to some other games like Ni no Kuni for its bold use of a slab serif (to great effect!) and a couple of other games.
 

Aeana

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Jul 10, 2006
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Personally, I loved the font in Tactics Ogre PSP. There were no letter-spacing issues, and it was a comfortable amount of text in a single line.
http://static.gamesradar.com/images/mb/GamesRadar/us/Games/T/Tactics%20Ogre%20Let%20Us%20Cling%20Together/Everything%20Else/Review/TacticsOgre_1--article_image.jpg[IMG][/QUOTE]

I would prefer it to be smallcaps, similar to Vagrant Story or FF12. I think all caps is way too difficult to read. Because of that, TO PSP's dialog font is something I'd list under bad. That said, the primary menu font is absolutely wonderfully implemented.

[quote][IMG]http://i.imgur.com/Vv6Kq3h.jpg
 

zoku88

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Dec 25, 2006
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Hmmm, I'm actually not liking that FF9 font. For some reason, some of the characters look a little "tall"

EDIT: Nvm. "tall" isn't the right word. Thin? Hard to describe. Definately a lot better than the GT one, though, lol.
 

Aeana

Member
Jul 10, 2006
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I love the Final Fantasy VI SNES font:
http://www.consoleclassix.com/info_img/Final_Fantasy_3_SNES_ScreenShot4.jpg[img]

I hate the Final Fantasy VI Advance font:
[img]http://gbamedia.gamespy.com/gba/image/article/764/764893/final-fantasy-vi-advance-20070214054234283-000.jpg[img][/QUOTE]

The former is Chicago, the Mac system font for many years. It's also used in Chrono Trigger!
The latter is SE's standard FF portable font, and I despise it as well. It's used in FF1-6 Advance as well as 4 Heroes of Light and Revenant Wings.

[quote="zoku88, post: 47407087"]Hmmm, I'm actually not liking that FF9 font. For some reason, some of the characters look a little "tall"[/QUOTE]

It's incredibly easy to read, I think. I really adore it.
 

Synth_floyd

Banned
Jun 12, 2005
6,217
0
0
I love the "adventure game" font that a lot of Japanese games use:







Actually on second though they're not the same at all. But somehow they produce the same feeling of intrigue and mystery.
 

zoku88

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Dec 25, 2006
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It's incredibly easy to read, I think. I really adore it.

Oh, it looks easy to read. I was just commenting on prettiness.


Also, it's hard for me to judge most of these fonts, because the aliasing really bothers me.
 

TheExodu5

Banned
Nov 27, 2007
38,093
3
0
Ottawa, Canada
The former is Chicago, the Mac system font for many years. It's also used in Chrono Trigger!
The latter is SE's standard FF portable font, and I despise it as well. It's used in FF1-6 Advance as well as 4 Heroes of Light and Revenant Wings.

Ahah, never realized that it was the Mac font.

Also, your font-fu never ceases to amaze me.
 

LuuKyK

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Mar 18, 2012
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Brazil
Dont know if it counts but, as much as I like the game, the uncharted font used in the logo is atrocious, like those fonts you find in stock images, etc... Of course it fits the theme of the game and everything, but still they could have done much better than that.

I hope whoever chose the font for dialogue for FFXII was taken out behind Square Enix HQ and shot.


Came here to mention this too. Oh god, is it awful.