Before Prince of Persia was a best-selling video game franchise and a Jerry Bruckheimer movie, it was an Apple II computer game created and programmed by one person, Jordan Mechner. Mechner's candid and revealing journals from the time capture his journey from his parents' basement to the forefront of the fast-growing 1980s video game industry... and the creative, technical and personal struggles that brought the prince into being and ultimately into the homes of millions of people worldwide. Now, Stripe Press celebrates Prince of Persia's 30th anniversary and enduring legacy with a hardcover collector's edition, annotated and lavishly illustrated with archival visuals illustrating stages of the game's creation.
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" Mechner's journals are a unique record from the birth of an industry, in the words of one of its pioneers — and if that's all they were, they would be invaluable. But The Making of Prince of Persia is also an unvarnished window into the creative process, with all its excitement, toil, setbacks, doubts and triumphs. A fantastic read. "
— D.B. Weiss
Writer, co-creator of HBO's Game of Thrones
" When an industry is brand-new, its innovators are generally so busy creating the future that they rarely have time to document the present. Luckily, Jordan Mechner did. With these journals, we can track the development of Prince of Persia from a few penciled squiggles to a global franchise. For anyone aspiring to create a game — or any endeavor that takes months and man-hours — Jordan's journal is sobering and inspiring. "
Screenwriter, author, host of Scriptnotes podcast
" Probably my favorite book on game development. "
Writer and Director of The Last of Us and Uncharted 4
" Prince of Persia was the first computer game I ever fell in love with. Thirty years on, we are very lucky to have this window into its creative process. Mechner's journey is a universal one for anyone creating something brand new, and it brought me back to the early, crazy days of building Instagram. The engineer in me loved his description of the technical challenges and solutions, and the entrepreneur in me loved the honest chronicle of his emotional adventure. I'm excited to get to revisit these journals in newly illustrated form. "
co-founder of Instagram
I started keeping a journal in college, and kept it up for many years afterward. During those years I created my first games, Karateka and Prince of Persia , on an Apple II computer.
Rereading these notebooks years later, it occurred to me that others might find them of interest — even if the meant-to-be-private musings of my 17-to-28-year-old self can occasionally make me wince.
These journals are a raw, present-tense record of my journey making those games in the 1980s.
The prequel, The Making of Karateka , covers the years 1982-1985, and The Making of Prince of Persia covers the years 1985-1993.
Download a free PDF sample of the first 53 pages of the new hardcover edition of The Making of Prince of Persia.
Download a free sample of the first 41 pages of the paperback/e-book edition of The Making of Prince of Persia (PDF).
For readers interested in the nuts and bolts of game development, Jordan has posted archival materials to supplement his "Making Of" journals. Links to these resources are provided below.
The Apple II Prince of Persia source code is on github. Jordan has also posted an explanatory technical document (PDF) to help those wishing to study the code.