This page talks about Jordan's 1980 journals, published as books. For the playable and interactive, Digital Eclipse documentary feature, see the Karateka game page.

The Making of Karateka

Jordan's 1980s journal of his life and progress creating Karateka.

In 1982 — the era of Apple II and Commodore 64 — 17-year-old college freshman and aspiring game designer Jordan Mechner began keeping a private journal. This first volume is a candid account of the personal, creative and technical struggles that led to his breakthrough success with Karateka, which topped bestseller charts in 1985, and planted the seeds of his next game, Prince of Persia.

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"Jordan's journals are remarkable. I so wish I had kept a similar record.

Reading them transports me back to that place and time. We all knew this was an exciting new industry, but I don't think we had any clue what it was going to turn into during our careers. There were no schools, no books, no theories covering what we were doing. Everyone was just figuring it out on their own.

Following Jordan's creative path is a great example of how to go with your own gut instinct. It's also a great inspiration, showing how persistence and determination can lead to unexpected and wonderful results."

— Will Wright, game designer, creator of The Sims

"Mechner's journals are a time machine that takes us back to an era when ambitious young creators were making strange new video games all by themselves and making up the rules as they went.

It is not a retrospective; instead, it is a present-tense diary written by the creator throughout the creation of his most influential work.

It is a humbling and inspiring record of what it was like to make one of the best video games of all time.

I love these journals."

— Adam "Atomic" Saltsman, game designer, creator of Canabalt

"An essential narrative for indie game developers... Jordan Mechner's struggle to bring Karateka to life is at once both inspirational and cathartic. It should be required reading for any developer currently toiling in the modern game industry."

— Steve Fulton,