‘Arcade Game Typography’ by Toshi Omagari

Read-Only Memory, video game book publishers extraordinaire:

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.

I bought and devoured this book back in October 2019, but somehow never recommended it here on Daring Fireball. I should be arrested for dereliction of duty. But I was reminded of it today by this toot from Antony Johnston.

A book about classic arcade game fonts is so obviously up my alley that I’d probably enjoy a bad book about them. But Arcade Game Typography is an exquisitely good book: deeply researched, beautifully illustrated with copious screenshots and close-up pixel-by-pixel details, and engagingly written by Omagari. I’m linking here to the limited edition hardcover, which costs $46, but there’s also a high-quality paperback edition for $28. (Buy through that Amazon link and you’ll make me rich with a cut of the dough.) If you don’t want this book you’re either too young or you’re not hooked up right.

See also: Estelle Caswell interviewed Omagari in 2020 in a video for Vox, focusing specifically on the 8x8 pixel Quiz Show font, a.k.a. the arcade font.

Thursday, 20 April 2023