Typography Games To Procrastinate By

I have the Slate Culture Gabfest podcast to thank for this blog post. And to blame for helping me procrastinate well beyond the point of it being ok. Without it, I wouldn’t have discovered that Mashable has scoured the interwebs to collate the best typography slash font games around.

Yep, typography slash font games. As someone wholly, utterly, unequivocally obsessed with typography, 18 games about it is enough to see me lose days if not weeks devoted to going through them.

There’s a reason why the headline reads ’18 of the most insanely addictive typography games’, because the games defy logic to suck you in wholly and solely.

The Font Game, for example, asks you to identify fonts from 34 samples. You select from one of four multiple-choice answers for each sample. It is both addictive and infuriating. Mostly infuriating.

TypeWar is along the same lines, offering you a simpler two options each time. With a 50/50 chance of selecting the correct answer, I did much better.

I love Type Connection, which involves pairing up compatible fonts (something I attempt to do in my work daily, but struggle surprisingly with—designers make this stuff look so easy!). You learn lots about the fonts’ compatibility and can—don’t laugh—actually send them on a date.

I lost hours to Kern Type (which I call Kem Type—a nod to the issue of when someone gets a bit heavy-handed with the kerning). You move letters around to get the best spacing. It’s seriously addictive for the OCD among us. And frustrating. I can never seem to get the kerning—kemming—just right.

I’ve blogged previously about I Shot The Serif, which requires you to shoot the serif fonts that appear on screen and the spare san-serif ones—a typography version of a shooting gallery (and it’s trickier than it sounds). It’s fun the second time round and transports you back to old-school fairs while offering a modern-era twist.

Kill Comic Sans is the game every designer and editor worth their salt plays in real life every day. Like I Shot The Serif, it’s essentially a first-person shooter game where you are racing the clock to shoot the Comic Sans that keep popping up on your screen. Extremely cathartic stuff, especially after you’ve just had a client suggest you should incorporate the font into their project.

In Helvetica vs Arial you get to be Helvetica and hop on Arial, the go-to font by the non-design-inclined, to squish it out. As a distinct Arial non-fan, I found this game strangely satisfying.

The Fontastic Quiz contains such question gems as:

  • The fallback font for lazy movie marketers?
  • I hate ____. It is so blah.
  • ____ has spread like a virus through the typographic landscape and illustrates the pervasiveness of Microsoft’s influence in the world.
  • ____ is like professional wrestling. You used to like it, but will only admit that around certain people.

Memory used to be one of my favourite games as a kid, and The Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over The Lazy Dog and Fontspotting are typography versions of it. Having seen images of them on screen only, I suspect they’ll be harder than they look. Suffice to say, they’re on my list for Christmas and will transport me back to those halcyon Memory-occupied childhood days.

In fact, all of these games will be, and I’m looking forward to that quiet week between Christmas and New Year’s when I can hunker down and devote hours I couldn’t otherwise afford to them.

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Fiona Crawford

Fiona Crawford is a freelance writer, editor, blogger, proofreader, and voracious reader. She regularly appears as a book reviewer in Australian BOOKSELLER+PUBLISHER magazine. Fiona is also (unfairly) known as the Book Burglar due to her penchant for buying family members—then permanently borrowing—books she wants to read herself.