Clickuorice Allsort: Writing systems in videogames

This reads: "lol ur mum"

This is three weeks old, but time is a construct. Philip Boyes is an expert on writing systems and cryptic alphabets, and he has looked at games that use fictional script over on Eurogamer. Zelda’s ancient Hylian is mentioned, and the rune-like alphabet of the Elder Scrolls gets a shout-out too. But also discussed is Sethian, a game about deciphering a dead alien language based on the responses of an old computer, covered with symbolic buttons to mash. I liked this game and it’s good to see both its failings and strengths discussed from the perspective of someone who understands how these magical squiggly lines are born. It’s an interesting read and not too long or hyper-detailed (except maybe when he talks about “deciphering Linear B based on internal correspondences”… buh?). Anyway, fans of silly-looking text, give it a read.


  1. Zorgulon says:

    Nice read, thanks for the link.

    That ancient Hylian looks really great. I guess it is just a substitution cypher for the Japanese hiragana characters, but it seems a shame that they switched to what is basically a weird font for the latin script in Breath of the Wild. The Wind Waker stuff looks really distinctive.

    • ChrisGWaine says:

      The earlier Hylian is basically same kind of treatment given to katakana as Breath of the Wild gave to the alphabet. It’s even a bit silly the way it has tenten and maru.

  2. Emeraude says:

    All I could think reading that pic is that Captain Blood is almost 30 years old, and I’m still waiting for someone to pick up the pieces and expand from where it left, on the language/culture front.

  3. Seafoam says:

    I’ve always liked Dwarf Fortress’ languages. Even though it uses the latin alphabet it is interesting to see the differences between different races, and how my adventurer’s name “Deathcracked the Angry Everlasting Egg-Carnage of Apples” translates to the hapless peasants about to murder.

  4. vahnn says:

    Bought Sethian, not disappointed.