The 8-bit arcade font, deconstructed - jadeusgames.com

The 8-bit arcade font, deconstructed

Vox
Views: 652031
Like: 25403
In his book Arcade Game Typography, type designer Toshi Omagari breaks down the evolution, design, and history of arcade game fonts.
Thanks to our sponsor, Ting Mobile. Visit for a $25 service credit with no contracts and no commitments.

In the video above, he guides us through this delightful 8-bit world and breaks it down pixel by pixel.

Subscribe to our channel!

Let’s talk about sources!
Archive.org has a wonderful collection of vintage arcade games that you can play online. This is where many of the videos of arcade games came from.

In addition to that, Barcade allowed us to film their collection of arcades.

Toshi’s book served as a blueprint for all the fonts you see in the video. You can purchase it here:

Finally, a few great places on the internet I discovered while researching the video:
This arcade font writer created by @photonstorm

Archive.org’s magazine and manuals collection:

This list of websites compiled by Atarimania:

By Design is a Vox video series about the intersection of design and technology. Watch all episodes in this series right here on YouTube:

Vox.com is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what’s really driving the events in the headlines. Check out .

Watch our full video catalog:
Follow Vox on Facebook:
Or Twitter:

55 Comments

  1. who were the group of developers that created the original font?

  2. It is a pity that it was not mentioned that sometimes there were fonts saved on an even smaller grid. Where the capital letter "E" was written to a height of 4 pixels 🙂 How? The center line is do by grey color not white in the lower positon 🙂

  3. 2:02 That doesn't make any sense. How would 8 bits hold enough information to control 64 pixels independently? You sure you don't mean each cell is 8 bytes not 1?

  4. Lead architect at Sony PlayStation, Mark Cerny, made marble madness at a young age. I wonder if he made that font too

  5. Politicians: Video games causes violence

    Game developers making fonts for their game

  6. i don't understand how you can make a video about arcade typography without talking about the computer typography that preceded it

  7. Every day is a school day watching and learning so much from Vox videos. Thank you for educating me on those little things we probably would never had known if it wasn't for your videos. As always excellent narration and videography.

  8. 0:10 When a graphic designer is commissioned to create a meme image: uses widescreen source image, properly kerned Impact with slender drop shadows. 🙂

  9. I sort of understand the “Legends of Zelda.” Technically, it was used in many legends about Zelda.

  10. vox: makes a really interesting video on 8 bit font
    everyone else: LeGeND "S" oF ZelDa ??!

  11. The Shirai Ryu are without honour. It is known.

  12. Thanks (M)ao . You always were good with the people management. Match them with their talents and skills. Proactive and not reactive

  13. I like that they used Blue Monday mentioned in the 12" records video

  14. It should have been possible to create the 8-bit fonts because the alphabet is simple.
    I think that we cannot create 8-bit kanji fonts.

  15. so how this font (pacman/donkey kong) is called? i want to enable it in my notepad

  16. That was an amazing video. Love the way it was animated and the narrative was super fun

  17. I love this 😀 I would never have thought that such a book exists, it's awesome to hear about it. My husband and I are currently in the process of building our own DYI arcade, and I will definitely use an 8-bit font for the marquee after watching this 😀

  18. ⬜⬜⬛⬛⬛⬜⬜⬛
    ⬜⬜⬛⬛⬜⬜⬛⬛
    ⬜⬜⬛⬜⬜⬛⬛⬛
    ⬜⬜⬜⬜⬛⬛⬛⬛
    ⬜⬜⬜⬜⬜⬛⬛⬛
    ⬜⬜⬛⬜⬜⬜⬛⬛
    ⬜⬜⬛⬛⬜⬜⬜⬛
    ⬛⬛⬛⬛⬛⬛⬛⬛

  19. Joysitx, the 8-bit arcade font, deconstructed.

  20. Tatiana jajajajajiliaio Ramos nonooononon! says:

    今天又来了就不买衣服不穿啊呜素素锕撬墙角去去去去看去,全球,去,q m q m

  21. 7:10 – Did you put an S on the end of that? If so, that's incorrect.

  22. Amazing video. I have one request to make. If you can start making videos covering other domains of design. To name a few, product design, transportation design, ux/ui design, speculative design, food design, interior design to name a few. This could possibly fetch you years worth of content. :p

  23. I bought the book. It's brilliant.

    I'm amazed that this font still doesn't officially have a name, and also amazed that it isn't called "Game Over".

  24. Fixed-width low resolution fonts were also used in computers, from the earliest glass TTYs, 8-bit micros on TVs, through the VGA era. We still use fixed width fonts for terminals and source code, and it's only comparatively recently that the overall resolution has increased and even more recent that they use anti-aliasing.
    A 640 by 480 display showing 80 characters per line and 25 lines gives a cell of 8 by 16 tall. The extra height makes it much more readable and offers legible lower-case, but it still has the issue where the 8 wide has to include the gap between characters.
    With 720×480, used for monochrome, not only does the solid-green (or amber, or later white) screen without individual dots give a crisper image, but now you have 8 pixel wide cells that can be completely used, as a 9th is added between cells.
    As displays became available in higher resolutions, I would fit more text onto it, rather than making the chars higher resolution. So the 8×16 grid was the standard for decades.

  25. So, MY favorite 8-Bit Arcade FONT is still the Minecraft FONT.

  26. how is an 8×8 grid of pixels stored in a single byte? i know about tiles and such (only needing to reference a tile id) but am confused how 64 bits can be put into 8… does it use some sort of compression?

  27. !! that's rly rly amazing awesome !!

  28. I've been gaming all my life, but can't say I gave much thought to video game fonts.
    It would be very interesting to read that book.

  29. 7:24 Hmm, actually, the possibilities are not endless. If you assume only 1 bit per pixel, the possibilities are quite literally 2^64, which turns out to be 18 million million million combinations. Well if you assume n bits of color depth, then you need to raise than number to the log(n) {base 2}. Sorry, couldn't keep myself. Awesome video btw

  30. awesome video but I died a little when the line "legends of zelda" was said. there's no "s"!

  31. My favourite retro game font is Pokémon Red's font

  32. Listening to:this video
    01:43 ━━━━●───── 8:12
    ⇆ㅤ ㅤ◁ㅤ ❚❚ ㅤ▷ ㅤㅤ↻
    ılıılıılıılıılıılı
    ᴠᴏʟᴜᴍᴇ : ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮

  33. Thanks so much for watching the video! I’ve listed quite a few fun things to check out in the description, including a link to archive.org’s internet arcade, which allows you to play hundreds of vintage arcade games for free online, and Toshi’s book, which will keep you occupied for hours if you’re bored at home right now! – Estelle

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.