Dragon Warrior (NES)

by Patrick Lauke (redux)

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Recreation of the pixel font from Enix's "Dragon Warrior" (1989) on the NES. Only the characters present in the game's tile set have been included.

Info: Created on 27th August 2016 . Last edited on 30th August 2016.
License Creative Commons
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Comment by Patrick Lauke (redux) 28th August 2016

So neat. The 'j' not descending below the baseline is an unusual idea?

Comment by Aeolien 28th August 2016

@Aeolien - It's not considered unusual; it's born out of necessity.  Most of the older video / arcade / computer game typefaces were limited to 8x8 pixels per character.

The characters themselves actually consist of 7x7 possible pixels that can be displayed (count them!), with:

(a.) one unused/"empty" row of pixels (either top or bottom) to separate the lines/rows of text from one another vertically, and

(b.) one unused/"empty" column of pixels to separate characters from one another horizontally.

With uppercase/capitals and numerals only -- for game scores / entry of gamer's initials / short passages of story text or gaming instructions -- it's not much of a design issue.  However, when it came to adding lowercase for easier legibility or longer passages of text, the designers were often stuck with those 8x8 / "7x7" limitations.  Thus, no descenders...

(Another limitation of early games is that these typefaces are also -- by default -- monospaced!)

Comment by Goatmeal 28th August 2016

Aaah, ok, I understand now. I hadn't seen the y descending either but somehow that hadn't registered, only the j struck me as unusual :|

Comment by Aeolien 30th August 2016

@Aeolien - After reviewing the lowercase, Enix (the game's creator) the DID do something odd: g/p/q are below the baseline, but j & y are not (?).  I think that g/p/q/ would appear to be too vertically compressed within the design constraints (whereas j & y look OK), so Enix simply 'shifted' that extra 'blank' row of pixels from the bottom of the glyph to the top for those three letters.

Of course, now the bottom of the g/p/q will touch most of the letters on the row of text that follows...  ;^)

Comment by Goatmeal 3rd September 2016

That sounds logical, I can understand that reasoing.

Comment by Aeolien 3rd September 2016

@Aeolien - Although, their x-height varies wildly for the lowercase in general: most are 6 pixels tall, some are 5 pixels, and i & j are only 4 pixels...  :^)

Comment by Goatmeal 3rd September 2016

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