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The Famicom restore dilemma

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The Famicom restore dilemma

Message par Martwansito » 05 Juin 2018, 18:19

Hi, this is my first topic here. :)
I plan to do some big tutorial about this complex topic in the future, but I just need to get some advice about it at the moment, in order to finish some projects. If you prefer me to write my posts in french, I can try out, as I actually know the language, but don't feel very confident because I don't use it very often.

I've already made a restoration for this site: the game Ninja JaJaMaru-kun, so check it out if you are interested in it! But, unfortunately, there's a big problem with Famicom games: a perfect restoration is IMPOSSIBLE. Let me explain this:

1. Most of their illustrations are hand-made drawings, watercolours, or just photos taken from real objects (such is the case of Ganbare Goemon).
This means that a vectorization isn't viable at all.

2.They often use texturized backgrounds: sometimes it will be easy to recreate them, sometimes it will be impossible.

3.There's few HQ resources out there: logos and others have to be made from scratch. That means extra work!

4.The last and most important point: they used a crazy number of different fonts in a same box. Japanese fonts are hard to identify, and a lot of them don't exist as digital fonts. Yes, that means that you will never be able to find the original font thas was used in the box :lol:

That said, we can get into the dilemma: Restoration and conservationism or recreation and not exact matches?
I think that this has to be discussed here in order to establish a route for future restorations.

Let's see an example, so we all can see what I mean:
SYSTEM: Famicom
GAME TITLE: Galaxian
YEAR: 1984
I'd love to restore all of the Namcot small box games that were launched between 1984 and 1986, but I just have 5 of them right now. If someone can provide some scans, let me know. That apart, let's examine one of the texts written in the front.

It says ギャラクシアン (Galaxian). Well, I made a post at WhaTheFont forums asking for some help, and a experienced user called Akira1975 identified it as 石井太ゴシック体 (Ishii Futo Gothic-tai) by 写研 (Shaken).
As I previously said, this is a pre-digital font whose font family dates back to 1932, and that means that no font file exists. Back in the day, they used specialized machines that came with certain fonts integrated, like this one, and nowadays, we don't have access to those fonts. The digital successors to these fonts are Yu Gothic and Kobari no Gothic, that are pretty similar but not the same. (Source:

Thanks to, I discovered the font 等线 (DengXian)Bold, wich gave me the best results, resulting as follows.

Let's compare the differences...
Blue: Original font.
Red: Deng Xian Font.

As it's impossible to get the original font, the question is:
Should I use Deng Xian, that matches in 91'2%, or should I just clean the original image?
The first option has the best results, and it's easier, faster and more proffessional. The second one, respects 100% the original shapes, but takes more time, and has lower quality.

In my opinion, I would go for the first one, as it's better for the restoration process, and it pretty much maintains the same appearance, with really nice results. Tell me your thoughts, please! :|
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Re: The Famicom restore dilemma

Message par tachikoma33 » 06 Juin 2018, 08:37

I think you have choosen the best font for retyping the text. The differences are very minimal. As you said, it will be impossible for a japanese box to be fully restored. Keep in mind that a scan do not reproduce exactly the original printing, so do the best you can for retyping all the box.

I comptely agree with the first choice ;)
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Re: The Famicom restore dilemma

Message par Sjaaks » 06 Juin 2018, 15:39

Yeah, this is quite a troublesome topic. In my opinion, the font is excellent and matches the original really nicely. Also, as Tachikoma already mentioned, don't forget that with scans, a small amount of distortion on images is possible as well as very minor folds and dents in boxes which could ultimately lead to differences in fonts as you see here. There's really no way to be sure 100% if the font is off or if the differences have other causes. I'd say go for it, in my opinion, this is a very clear example of a font that matches well within the boundaries of acceptance.

As for the illustrations and artwork, feel free to go to the extent of doing such restorations, but honestly, apart from cleaning dust, scratches, tape etc. it's really impossible and inhuman to do such work. I also think you should take the demand of restored Famicom boxes into account. I'm guessing they're not as popular as American or European boxes within this community. So going through that effort, i wonder how viable it is.

Good luck and thank you for contributing to NintAndBox, we really do appreciate it! :!:
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Re: The Famicom restore dilemma

Message par Martwansito » 06 Juin 2018, 17:52

Thank your for your responses :) I will go for that, it makes sense to use that font, as long as it obtains a good result.

Sjaaks, I know that japanese boxes aren't very popular, because it's hard and sometimes expensive to collect them, but I'm in love with them.
Two years ago, I managed to get some famicom cartridges on the cheap. I really liked the box art of one of them, so I went online searching for some site that hosted japanese covers, but that doesn't exist at all.
So, then I thought that if nobody cared about japanese art, I would be the first person to do it, and maybe more people would get interested in it. NA and EU boxes have enough people worried about them. This also helps me to pick up some japanese, as I'm trying to learn the language.
But don't worry, I will also try to help out with other systems, and contribute in other ways to NintAndBox!
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Re: The Famicom restore dilemma

Message par y(oYo) » 07 Juin 2018, 09:46

As was previoulsy being said, thanks a lot for your interest in NintAndBox, and particularly in Famicom boxes.
Even if the community here care less Famicom, for me it is as much important than other versions.
NintAndBox aims to be the place to find Famicom scans and restored boxes as well.

Regarding the language, please write in your favorite tongue!
Google translate is here to help, and english is best translated.

I agree to choose the first method for Famicom restoration.
What I plan (one day if I find some time), is to publish scan side by side with restoration.
Scans for the legacy part, and restoration for the personal reproduction part ;)

Again, many thank for your contribution to the project, we are also here to help if needed !
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