Atari Coding Fonts
Fun Fonts for that Retro Feel
I am certain that many Goto 10 readers are software developers, engineers and programmers. A common topic among us coders is their choice of code editor font.
It never occurred to me until recently to see if there were any Atari-themed fonts out there. But it turns out (of course), that it’s a thing!
So if you’re looking to get your retro going with some Atari coding fonts, read on!
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Atari 8-bit Font
After a brief amount of searching I came across an Atari 8-bit font that works on modern computers at font.download.
Called the Atari Classic Int Font Family, it looks remarkably like the 8-bit Atari font (and thus also like the Goto 10 logo font).
From the web site:
Based on the Atari 8-bit character set, this is a TrueType font for modern Macs and PCs. The font includes the full standard ATASCII 256-character set, including graphics characters and inverse characters, arranged in exactly the same order as the original. In addition, it includes the ATASCII European character set that was introduced in the 1200XL.
In normal use, Atari Classic mimics the appearance of the Atari character set in your favorite word processor or graphics program. It includes the standard Mac Roman and Windows 1252 (Western) character set, modeled after the classic Atari characters.
The original Atari characters are located in the Unicode "private use area", starting at location $E000. This way, they do not conflict with standard Unicode locations. To use them, you can enter the corresponding character codes directly (when possible), or choose and insert them into your document using the Character Map (Windows), Character Viewer (Mac) utility, or similar.
Programmers may access the Atari characters via Unicode. The character code for any ATASCII character may be found by starting taking the ATASCII code and adding $E000 for the normal set; $E080 for the inverse set; $E100 for the international set; and $E180 for the inverse international set.
And here’s some of the font samples:
I don’t care for the smooth variants as they just look weird to me, not really like a classic font, but with an odd layout for a modern font. But that Chunky font is 100% Atari 8-bit!
After downloading the font, I quickly installed it on my Mac (you just have to double-click the appropriate rtf file) and checked it out in Font Book.
I then switched over to a few of the development IDEs I used and started switching the font. It certainly brings back the feels!
And if you want to go all in, try changing the background and font color. Here is the Xojo IDE running with the standard Atari 8-bit blueish colors:
To be honest, I don’t think this will be a permanent change1 as it is just too strange. But it is certainly large and easy to read!
Atari ST Font
Of course there are also Atari ST fonts out there. In this case I found a version of the 8x16 high-resolution font, which is definitely the one I know the best as I primarily used the high-resolution monochrome SM124 with my Atari ST back in the day.
I actually used this font with some tools for a few days before switching back to my preferred font2. I find that it is actually quite readable, although perhaps a bit too narrow for my tastes.
Here’s how this font looks in some code editors:
I hope these fonts brought back some memories for you!
I used it for about a day. I think my eyes still hurt. There’s not much contrast there!
I normally use JetBrains Mono NL.