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Tips for Buying EarthBound

July 15th, 2009 | Hacking, MOTHER 1+2

I’ve been slowly making progress with the text editing/translation-checking stage of my MOTHER 1 translation. I’ll give a progress update sometime soon-ish, but I wanted to make this post separate.

Basically, I find the default font in EarthBound Zero/MOTHER 1 very ugly and harder to read than it should be. For short bits of text it’s fine, but when reading lots of dialog and such, it’s not very conducive for easy-reading. I know I’m not alone, because it’s one of the things people most liked about my old, old hack that changed the font to EarthBound’s font. The problem with EarthBound’s font though is that it was meant for text that uses variable width letters, not fixed width, so it doesn’t work well in this situation.

Anyway, for this translation, I’d like to have a better-looking font that’s also more readable. The game uses an 8×8 font, which is simple enough. Is there anyone here with good graphical skills to try to create a nice-looking font? I suck at drawing and graphical stuff, so I’m hoping someone will be able to assist.

If not, then how about this: since almost all NES games (and early SNES games) use 8×8 fixed width fonts, what fonts from old NES/SNES games do you think would look good in this situation? I could always snatch a font from another game.

My hope is that a good font + bigger text windows + better/smoother translations will make the game a little more palatable.


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70 Comments to MOTHER 1+2 Font Help

Digitalized said on Jul. 15, 2009

It was always confusing to me.

Ice Sage said on Jul. 15, 2009

Um…was EB0’s font really that bad? I didn’t think so. *Ducks from onslaught of thrown vegetables*

Really lame joking aside, if you are going to change it, don’t change it too much. I’m not trying to troll or anything, that’s just my opinion on it.

Wil said on Jul. 15, 2009

How about a Metroid / Kid Icarus font.. didn’t alot of the same people from Ape work on those games?

..or I always loved the megaman font.

vivify93 said on Jul. 15, 2009

I think EarthBound Zero would look nice with either the GBC Dragon Warrior (Monsters I, Monsters II: Cobi, Monsters II: Tara, DWI&I, DWIII) font or the Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals font.

santiagoff said on Jul. 15, 2009

@Ice Sage: yeah, it’s really that bad AND hard to read xD

I dunno of a any cool fonts mato, and I suck at graphics so, sorry :/

Trevor said on Jul. 15, 2009

I don’t know if this is the best font, but it’s something to add to your list of things to consider:


Trevor said on Jul. 15, 2009

Here are some more fonts to consider. Some of these are ripped from various games:


Rathe coolguy said on Jul. 15, 2009

I’d like to think I’m decent with pixels. If you give me a basic idea and maybe a tilemap I could most likely help you out. You can reach me at ratheethransu@yahoo.com if you do indeed consider.

Although I must admit I’ve not worked with fonts before.

Here’s an example of my work that is clearly not font.

The Great Morgil said on Jul. 15, 2009

Well, i am going to school for graphic communication, so this would be something i’d be doing once i get my degree. Unfortunately, I only just started the program and I don’t take the Typography class until the next spring semmester. Bummer.

LakituAl said on Jul. 15, 2009

Attack a Hal Labs. game with another Hal Labs. game!
What I mean is that the font of Kirby’s Adventure and the one in Kirby Super Star are both readable and decent.

zelgreywards said on Jul. 15, 2009

I was just browsing the 8×8 font archive on Zophar.net and I think that the fonts for Final Fantasy VIII and Legend of Dragoon both look pretty good. They are simple, thick letters but they are very easy on the eyes.

Covarr said on Jul. 15, 2009

Pokemon Red and Super Mario Bros. 2 both had good fonts.

HAK2 said on Jul. 15, 2009

I was fine with the EB0 font, i just didn’t like the start-and-stop text

Triverske said on Jul. 15, 2009

I can do fonts pretty well, Ive been hacking Earthbound and SMW for about 4 years

EBrent said on Jul. 15, 2009

Typography is actually a hobby of mine. A while ago, I designed an 8×8 pixel font with the intention of maximizing readability. You’re free to use it:


There are no numbers or punctuation, but if you like it, I could easily be convinced to whip some up.

Robert said on Jul. 15, 2009

Im working on one set now, will post when done.

Mato said on Jul. 15, 2009

EBrent: the image file doesn’t seem to work, at least not for me for some reason 🙁

John Smith said on Jul. 15, 2009

Weird, the image file showed up for me…

BlueLightning said on Jul. 15, 2009

I could probably make some simple font. But I haven’t worked with fonts before…

Robert said on Jul. 15, 2009

Here is the font, I’m actually rather proud of it(I may use it myself on other things too).
I did use a 8×8 limitation but in a way I used 7×8 so the letters aren’t mashed together. hope you like it.

Zaxtur said on Jul. 15, 2009

It’s not a NES or SNES game, but Pokemon Red, Blue, and Yellow all use the same fixed width font that I think seems pretty easy to read.

Triverske said on Jul. 15, 2009

I think I can spend some time working on a font pretty quickly.

sammy said on Jul. 16, 2009

ebrent’s font is nice

KingDarian said on Jul. 16, 2009

I tried my hand at translating the EarthBound font to fit the restraints of the MOTHER font. I couldn’t find a full font set for MOTHER, so I’ve only been able to do the 52 letters and four punctuation symbols. Do you have a list of all the included characters and symbols?


Darkdata said on Jul. 16, 2009

Hey Mato, Steal the pokemon font. As Zaxtur said, it’s a nice fixed with font that game with the pokemon games.

KingDarian said on Jul. 16, 2009

I decided to be unlazy and look at the characters in the ROM file directly. After a little playing around, I modified the font some more and a few other things, like the menu border. Here’s what I came up with.

Name your characters
Battle Menu
Battle Text
Talking to Mom
The font block of the ROM

I tried two different things with the menu border, just to see what did what. The first screen with the character naming shows what it looks like if the center is left black. The following screens in battle and talking to Mom show what it looks like when the third color is used. It picks up a background color and I’d assume it it will flash when a SMAAAASH!! attack is used in battle.

You probably don’t want any of that in the M1+2 hack, but I thought I’d note it in case you were wondering why there’s a difference between menu appearance in screens. Trimming it down makes it looks a lot nicer. Trimming down the font makes it look a hell of a lot nicer, too. It definitely makes the game a little easier on the eyes.

Carnivol said on Jul. 16, 2009

I’d probably look through some games by Intelligent Systems. Maybe there’s a good font to be found somewhere in their library of first party games. The skinny italic(?) font found in Link’s Awakening is pretty sweet (but maybe not the best for menu text and such… Anyway, at least I think it looks very nice when used for dialog. text.)

Spitball Sparky said on Jul. 16, 2009

I always thought the Earth Bound Zero font was fine…hmm…wish I could help.

Triverske said on Jul. 16, 2009

his might be what you’re wanting.

Mato said on Jul. 16, 2009

KingDarian: Like I mentioned, I already used the EB font in that really old EB0 hack of mine, so I know how it looks in the game already 😛 In fact, I think some versions of my M1+2 in-progress hacks still have that font in there, you can see it in some of the in-progress shots.

PKSTARMAN said on Jul. 16, 2009

This is serious… well, im thinking on a font but i cant get one. You really cant? “Something you will never lose is courage” By- The drugs tea of Saturn Valley.

KingDarian said on Jul. 16, 2009

I think it looks nice, although spacious. Just hack in VFW to make it work. 😛

Mato said on Jul. 16, 2009

I would if I could but it’d take another year, heh.

KingDarian said on Jul. 16, 2009

I’m still gonna play around with the EarthBound font, because I’m sure it can work somehow. I’ve tried widening each character by one pixel, and it makes it look a bit nicer, although some touch-ups are still needed, possibly even an extra widening of the lower case characters.
MOTHER with wider EarthBound font

Satsy said on Jul. 16, 2009


probably no good, but here it is anyway.

Robert said on Jul. 16, 2009

after like a week or two we should have another topic that is a contest for all the fonts

Anonymous said on Jul. 16, 2009

use the font from the old pokemon games. my favorite font ever

Euphonium said on Jul. 16, 2009

I don’t think Mario 2 has any lowercase letters in it’s font, does it? Mario 3 does, though, and it seems to have a font that’s pretty bold in comparison to most of the others that have been mentioned.

I’m not sure if people consider bold text to be a good thing or a bad thing, but it’s different anyway — and it looks pretty readable to me (except for those rather obese exclamation points).

KingDarian said on Jul. 17, 2009

To everyone suggesting the Pokéfont, here it is in action!

Let’s Start!
Who Are You?
Prologue take three
This lamp is shady
Battle without quarter

I think it’s pretty neat.

Triverske said on Jul. 17, 2009

I finished my custom but I won’t be able to post it for about 5 hours.

Forgotten Man said on Jul. 17, 2009

I really, really like the look of the Pokemon font. Just throwing that out there.

MarioFan3 said on Jul. 17, 2009

I must admit, the Pokemon font does look nice in the game.
The only exception is the Prologue take three snapshot shows the text gets a mm too close, but that is the only case in the game soo….i say go for it!

Gotta catch the text!

MB2111(MB2T1) said on Jul. 17, 2009

I would agree,The font From the official
American translation of EarthBound 1(Mother 2),and the Fan Translation of EarthBound 2(Mother 3)is a better font.The unreleased EarthBound 0 (Mother 1)
font looks like an unused remake of the Times New Roman font.

Triverske said on Jul. 18, 2009

custom made by me, don’t have the tools to test or anything.

Jimmy said on Jul. 18, 2009

Lovin’ that Pokémon Font!
@Mato: if VWF for mother 2 works (if somebody is working on it, and if it doesn’t have it already) and if you decide to use this font, are you going to use the default Earthbound font in Mother 2, or use the VWF Pokéfont from the GBA/NDS Pokémon games?

Triverske said on Jul. 18, 2009

Jimmy Mother 2 has orange kid and asking for anything else is a sin.

Words of the wind said on Jul. 18, 2009

I choose you, Pokefont!
(crowd cheering)
“Pokefont Pokefont”

That looks really awesome KingDarian, seriously!
It just fits so perfectly, i think it’d be extremely difficult to turn this font down.

MOTHERMoondance-- said on Jul. 19, 2009

Maybe you could use the “Apple Kid” font used on MOTHER 1+2 (MOTHER2’s font), but I’m not sure that’d work…

Ratty said on Jul. 21, 2009

ugh. no pokefont please. I don’t wan’t to keep thinking I’m playing pokemon whilst playing Mother… that’d be kind of nightmarish really.

PKSTARMAN said on Jul. 21, 2009

hey Mato, the fangamer site is strange… I cant register. whats happening?

anonymous said on Jul. 22, 2009

hmm, maybe we should make a topic about this in the EBC forums….

Gaomon752 said on Jul. 26, 2009

when you finish the patch could you mske sure you begin from the part you last save on a japanese rom mother 2 is really hard to grind up on and im still in twoson T_T

Gaomon752 said on Jul. 26, 2009

i was working on a bunch of text font from earthbound zero together but vista paint butchers it up whenever you close it the entire thing messes the colors up the text is at the starmen.net EB0 walkthrough

Wolfman2 said on Jul. 27, 2009

Hey Mato, are you gonna expand the PSI text boxes in
battle? If you do, then could you fit Braincyclone and
Super Healing’s FULL names without the ugly abbriviations? If not, then you could put Healing Omega
(Lifeip has a pi and omega, why sholdn’t Healing?)
and Brainshock beta. Wait… are you gonna change the assist PSI’s “betas” into “omegas” like in M3?

Jimmy said on Jul. 28, 2009

On second thought, I sort of liked the Super Mario World font, I couldn’t find anything to dislike about it.

tapioca said on Jul. 28, 2009

i made a font for messing around making an earthbound-esque game on gba a while ago. it’s vwf but it looked decent when it was fixed width. you can have it if you wan’t i don’t use it anymore:


all 8×8 fonts look about the same tho lol, i say just pick something cute. the tail hooks probably are something not mother 2 ish, but maybe mother 1 i forget mother 1’s font.

curtmack said on Jul. 30, 2009

Well, I did my own, partly for giggles, partly because I used to do stuff like this all the time for ZZT title screens, and mostly because I am bored out of my skull.

The font itself… although there are two fonts in the NES version, and this is the one that isn’t used, but it’s easier to read up here.

I also changed the borders for fun
Naming screen
Confirmation screen
The Story Thus Far
That’s as many as eight tens, and that’s terrible.
Ninten is so pimp, he doesn’t have items, he has goods.

The dash through the zero isn’t necessary, but I always feel more comfortable with it there (it’s because deep in my mind I always feel like I have to write down the password to continue).

Chuggaaconroy said on Aug. 7, 2009

It’s been a while since i’ve heard of such a problem….i would recommend the font from Link’s Awakening but that’s just me. Whatever, you wanna use, use it!

ChaosMaster said on Aug. 7, 2009

I was just going to suggest the Link’s Awakening font as well. In fact, I’m pretty sure I have that particular font in an .gif file somewhere on my hard drive from my Zelda fangame-making days. Let me know if you want it.

Roido said on Aug. 7, 2009

your font is good but there is a problem
remember that many Mother Fans hate Pokemon and Many Pokemon fans hate Mother, im not saying that your font sucks, actually is one of the bests fonts that i have seen, but definitely some Mother fans won’t like a Pokemon Font in Earthbound.

to Mato here is my Zelda styled font:

hope you liek it.

MarioFan3 said on Aug. 8, 2009

Well, this IS for the fans….i personally like pokemon since i was a kid, and i like Mother as well, i can’t hate either of them (i’m more of a Nintendo fan than anything else eh?)… hmm maybe it should be put to a vote, poll or something?

I’m pretty sure Mato has a font in his mind by now anyway so it wouldn’t make much difference, so that’s all on the subject for me.

Roido said on Aug. 8, 2009

Mario i said Many
not all,
personally, i like pokemon too my favorite Pokemon is Lucario, i just said that many Mother Fans Won’t Like a Pokemon Font in the Traslation.

SmaMan said on Aug. 8, 2009

When I looked at the Poke’font screenshots I couldn’t really tell it was Poke’mon. It just looked natural.

If it doesn’t work though, wouldn’t it be possible to use the EB font and make it variable width in the game? Or would that be way too hard?

Phil L said on Aug. 8, 2009

Mato has already said that hacking in a variable width font would probably add about another year to the project (due to all of the hacking, testing, ruthless bugs, time, and searing pain involved in doing so).

I honestly liked the Pokemon font in the screenshots; I think it looks better in Mother than it did in Pokemon, actually (I think it has something to do with the text being white on a black background instead of black on a cream of mushroom soup original GB shade of white background.

oinkyescommander said on Aug. 9, 2009

I didn’t think it was that bad either. (Ducks from onslaught of thrown Mr. Saturns, PWAAAAAH!)

PSI Wolf said on Aug. 12, 2009

What’s there not to like about Pokemon?
The only thing I thought that stopped people from
playing the game was the incredibly gay anime.
Other than that, the game is actually OK.
The poke font looks ok but..

BTW i was playing zelda1 the other day and i noticed
the numbers looked alot like the ones in EB0.

PSI Wolf said on Aug. 12, 2009

Is there any way to erase my comments here?

MarioFan3 said on Aug. 22, 2009

Nah there isn’t Wolf.

Beanjavert said on Sep. 10, 2009

The Zelda: A Link to the Past font was really readable, and its available as a font on most zelda fansites. It’s called “Return of Ganon”


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