Arcade Game Typography

I have nothing but praise for those who study niche topics like these. Toshi Omagari of MonoType, studied typography at Musashino Art University in Tokyo. He’s worked alongside big brands like H&M, and he’s previously contributed to Google Noto, and more notably introduced Tibetan Script support to Google Noto which is spectacular work. He helped resurrect Metro Nova from the dead.

Omagari has a limited-release book coming out (sufficed to say, it’s already sold-out but you can buy the paperback version here on Amazon). He has meticulously researched the wonderfully niche topic of video game typography and it’s freaking awesome:

The first book of its kind – a definitive and beautifully designed survey of ’70s, ’80s and early ’90s arcade game pixel typography. Exhaustively researched by author Toshi Omagari (a celebrated typeface designer at Monotype UK) Arcade Game Typography gathers together 250 pixel typefaces, all carefully chosen, extracted, redrawn and categorised by style, and each with an accompanying commentary by Omagari. The title also features 4 illustrated essays on videogame typography theory and practice, documenting the unique advantages and challenges presented to designers of these bold, playful and often quirky alphabets.

A beautifully produced celebration of the eclectic typography featured in hit games such as Super Sprint, Pac-Man, After Burner, Marble Madness, Shinobi, as well as countless lesser-known gems. Unlike print typefaces, pixel type often has colour ‘baked in’ to its characters, so Arcade Game Typography looks unlike any other typography book, fizzing with life and colour.

Love this bit about the original 1978 Space Invaders typography (image below):

The original game, and most of the clones, featured the above typeface, copied from Tank 8 with a minor modification to M.

Photos via Read-Only Memory
Left page: RoboCop 2 (Data East/1991), Captain America and the Avengers (Data East/1991)
Right page: Spider-man: the Video Game (Sega/1991), Xexex (Konami/1991), X-men (Konami/1992)

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