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 Post subject: NES manual font
PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2016 1:18 pm 
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Does anybody know which font is used in 1985-era NES manuals by Nintendo (like the one in the "Super Mario Bros." manual)? Is it a custom one or a commonly available one?

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 Post subject: Re: NES manual font
PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2016 1:36 pm 
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Looks like plain old Helvetica to me.


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 Post subject: Re: NES manual font
PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2016 1:42 pm 
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Going through the Identifont quiz implies it's Helvetica or some variant. (They say Helvetica Condensed, but the manual is clearly not condensed)


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 Post subject: Re: NES manual font
PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2016 5:54 am 
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Thanks.
Unfortunately, Helvetica is a font that you have to buy. So, I'll just take the next best thing for my manual, I guess.

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 Post subject: Re: NES manual font
PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2016 6:14 am 
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DRW wrote:
Unfortunately, Helvetica is a font that you have to buy.

NES haves are also things you have to buy, and yet lots of people have complete ROM sets sitting in their hard drives. Macs come with Helvetica, can't you just "borrow a friend's Mac" to make your manual?


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 Post subject: Re: NES manual font
PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2016 7:01 am 
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The difference is that ROM sets are files that are on your own computer while my manual is something that I want to sell to others. And I don't know the legal situation here, so I'd rather play it safe.

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 Post subject: Re: NES manual font
PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2016 7:16 am 
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I don't know much about the legal issues regarding fonts, but I assume it's OK for you to use the Arial font that comes with Windows for anything you'd like, and it's also OK for you to do the same with Helvetica on a Mac. I might be wrong, but it sounds to me like you could create the manual and have a friend who owns a Mac replace the font and generate the final file for printing, of you don't want to pirate the font.

EDIT: Just wanted to make it clear that I'm not arguing or telling you how to proceed, I'm just thinking out loud about possible ways to handle this problem.


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 Post subject: Re: NES manual font
PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2016 8:55 am 
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If your font budget is zero, the free Nimbus Sans L is probably closer to Helvetica than Arial is.


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 Post subject: Re: NES manual font
PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2016 10:03 am 
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Google's Roboto is a Helvetica "clone" with a free license. It's deliberately very similar to Helvetica (with some minor differences that distinguish it, e.g. capital R.)

Arial was intended as a Helvetica substitute, but not trying to look exactly like it but rather having similar shapes and spacing to make it a compatible fit for rendering where Helvetica is not available.

If you own Windows or a Mac you have paid for a license to use those fonts that come with it to make print or images with. If you want to distribute the font itself you'll need to use something with a free license instead (Google has a good collection of these), but it's legal to use the rendered output of the font for any purpose.

There's a bit of a grey area when it comes to embedding fonts into PDFs, because that's "sort of" redistribution, but most Windows and Mac fonts are explicitly permitted for embedding in PDFs.


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 Post subject: Re: NES manual font
PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2016 11:26 am 
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As someone who strangely cares about typefaces, DON'T even consider Arial. It's a horrible abomination of a font :P
The other substitutes are good suggestions though.


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 Post subject: Re: NES manual font
PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2016 11:32 am 
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Just pointing out that I never suggested Arial - I was merely pointing out that Arial comes with Windows, Windows users can use Arial on their stuff, Helvetica comes with Mac OS, Mac OS users can use Helvetica in their stuff.


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 Post subject: Re: NES manual font
PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2016 4:10 pm 
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Sumez wrote:
As someone who strangely cares about typefaces, DON'T even consider Arial. It's a horrible abomination of a font.

LOL, I care about typefaces too, but I think Arial is quite good for many purposes.

Usually when people complain about Arial, the argument is along the lines that they love Helvetica, and it's not quite Helvetica? I'm not particularly enamoured with Helvetica, myself.


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 Post subject: Re: NES manual font
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2016 3:15 pm 
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I love choosing nice, good fonts. Arial is alright. But Liberation is better. There's a lot of really good fonts out there. IMO the worst thing about a font is only when it has terrible unicode support. But I remember using Helvetica for a manual replica I've made.


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 Post subject: Re: NES manual font
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2016 4:28 pm 
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I usually use Computer Modern fonts; they are the default font in Plain TeX and the fonts work well.

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 Post subject: Re: NES manual font
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2016 7:38 pm 
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You're making an instruction booklet for you game? :)

I like to use Alte Haas Grotesk as a Helvetica replacement:
http://www.dafont.com/alte-haas-grotesk.font

But Helvetica doesn't quite match Nintendo's manual font.

Edit: Kid Icarus seems to have a different typeface than ExciteBike. :?

Edit: I think Metroid and Kid Icarus use the same one.

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