Aspect Ratios

One thing that comes up when designing games these days is picking a proper aspect ratio. If you’re not familiar with the term, aspect ratio refers to the shape of the screen (how wide verses how tall). For example, older TVs and computer monitors that are almost square use a 4:3 ratio. HD TV and monitors, on the other hand, have popularized the 16:9 ratio.
In general, what type of aspect ratio you use for you games depends on the platform it’s being released on. A game for current generation consoles is best in 16:9 since most people have HD TVs these days. Or if you’re making a game for the 3DS or Vita, they’ve only got one type of screen, so it’s even easier. In general, 16:9 has taken over though a 4:3 ratio can have its advantages at times. Especially if you plan to port your game to a lot of different platforms, since it’s easy to fit a 4:3 image onto a 16:9 screen with a bit of letter boxing or decorative border art. On the other hand, squashing a 16:9 image down to something smaller is tough since you have to cut off parts of the image.
I did originally consider doing Aurora’s Nightmare in 4:3 (which is what most Japanese visual novels used until recently), but in the end I decided to go with 16:9. It’s the most suitable ratio for my target platforms and allows more room to show off the backgrounds (which, you may have noticed, are in 16:9) and fit more characters on the screen.