Re: [stella] Hiragana Font For The 2600

Subject: Re: [stella] Hiragana Font For The 2600
From: Nick S Bensema <nickb@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 16 Apr 1998 22:03:10 -0700 (MST)
> If you want to add an exotic touch to your Atari 2600 programmes I've made
> a font that includes all the hiragana characters (these are characters
> that are used to spell native japanese words, as opposed to katagana
> characters that are used to spell words borrowed from other languages).

First of all, you misspelled "katakana".. hope this helps.  And katakana
would be a good next step.

second, that's a good idea.... though you're certainly not the first
to put kana into 8x8 bitmaps.... loot at any Japanese Game Boy game,
or Japanese NES RPG's.  One could probably rip the fonts from one of
those, but the effort would probably be too great.,

If you're going for a Japanese Hangman or something like that,
this would be good.  For a demo, this would be a pretty cool touch.
If I ever focus long enough to make a 2600 demo, I might throw in
some of this just to mess with people's heads.

In practice, though, we're probably only going to use one or two
phrases anyway, so it might be more economical to just draw the
characters in manually, like we do for English text.  A word like
"kudasai", for example... "oshite kudasai" to press the button,
etc.  I can do that in 24 bytes.

.1......  of course, Japanese people will probably forgive the
1.......  2600's brevity if a word like this is left out (how many
.1......  English 2600 games have you seen say "please"?), but
..1.....  I'm just illustrating a point here.
.11.....  also, traditionally video games use horizontal text like
11..11..  we do, even in Japan.  Even, apparently, in Japanese-made
.1.1....  arcade games, which have an excuse to write vertically with
.1...1..  those vertical monitors.  In fact, a lot of Japanese arcade
.1.11...  games just use Roman letters.  I don't know why, or how the
........  Japanese people deal with another language intruding into
...1....  their society so much, but I have seen the Japanese versions
..111...  of enough games to get a feel for the trends.
.1......  I bring this up because if we were to make Japanese versions
..11....  of our games, we'd probably have to rewrite the kernel to
........  display text vertically down the screen instead of across
.1......  the bottom of the screen where it usually is.  In fact, 
.1..1...  we'd probably have to use a lot of cycles on the main 
.1..1...  scanning loop to display the text alongside a playfield.
.11.....  We'd also have to use up a player.  Titles are another
          story, but the way most Atari 2600 games stuff everything
into 4K is to use just one display kernel and leave it on no matter
what, replacing the score with an option number or a copyright notice
when no game is being played.

But then again, look at what Warren Robinett did.  I think the only
English phrases I've ever seen written vertically are "MOTEL"
and "Created by Warren Robinett".  Oh yeah, and thanks to the
emulator, "A-TEAM".  I didn't know the A-Team had a rocketship.  :)

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