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The Making of Prince of Persia [Kindle Edition]

Jordan Mechner
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.99
Kindle Price: $7.99
You Save: $9.00 (53%)

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Book Description

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.

Editorial Reviews


"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 a weirdly familiar 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

"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."
-- John August, screenwriter of Go, Big Fish and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

About the Author

Jordan Mechner is a game designer, screenwriter, filmmaker, and graphic novelist. He created Prince of Persia, Karateka, and The Last Express.

His graphic novel Solomon's Thieves is also featured on Amazon.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1085 KB
  • Print Length: 330 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1468093657
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005WUE6Q2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #104,228 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Memoir October 18, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
When I was 11 years old and wasting hours playing KARATEKA on my friend's Apple IIe, I had no idea that a video game could have an author. Movies? Sure. Books? Of course. George Lucas made movies, Stephen King wrote novels, and, well... video games just sort of happened, right? How wrong I was. Jordan Mechner's new book, drawn from his personal journals from the late '80s/early '90s, chronicles the development of his classic PRINCE OF PERSIA, a landmark in the world of video games. Starting with his initial spark of an idea in the wake of KARATEKA's success, Mechner depicts POP's slow birthing process as well as his clashes with the corporate culture of software development and his dalliances with Hollywood as he attempted to simultaneously jumpstart his career as a screenwriter. The book is a fascinating look back at the realm of personal computing and gaming in the Reagan era; anybody who grew up in that time will probably get a warm fuzzy feeling at the mere mention of the original Mac, the Commodore Amiga, the Atari, the NES. But this isn't a nostalgia piece: along the way, we also get Mechner's intriguing theories on story as they apply to video games, and the journal entries provide an illuminating look at his solutions to problems that popped up as he crafted the narrative and game mechanics of PRINCE OF PERSIA. All in all, this is a must-read for old school video game aficionados, current game developers and anybody in a creative profession who's looking for a little inspiration.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring November 5, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a great book. If you are in the least interested in how video games are made you should buy this. This book relates the journey of the creator from the initial conception of Prince of Persia all the way to the sequel (PoP 2). You can see the self-doubts that the author has and the frustration when things don't go right. You can also share his joy when the game is a success.

Something that really amazed me was realizing that Prince of Persia was the work of one person! Just one person with a vision and a lot of work. Very motivating for indy game developers.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is great enough for me to write a review, after not reviewing anything in Amazon in years.

It tells a story. A real story behind A Greatest Game of All Time. This is not a 'success story' as we can easily find in a lot of creation/innovation myth. It's not a story of Prince of Persia creation, but a story of Jordan's life as he was creating Prince of Persia. It reveals everything, struggles, supports, wresting, workarounds, conflicts, dilemmas.

I had long for a book like this, a "real" story behind a mega-successful project. Read it cover-to-cover in practically one sit. Can't put it down. A good reading day spent and it brought back a will to work on my next software project.

Highly recommended, without any reservation.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the read October 24, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
For those of us who have had the great privilege of working with Mr. Mechner, this was well worth the read. And for those who have had no interface whatsoever with Mr. Mechner's life but want to understand more about the machinations of creative genius and the birth and nurturing of successful ideas -- ideas that play out on a world scale -- this is well worth the read. The success of any product does not come easy. There are trials and tribulations for every award winner. The climb comes with wavering determination, a myriad of decisions, and a constant shedding of self-doubt. This book is about a young man's journey fresh out of Yale and into a professional world with a gift for inventing electronic games. He enters the uncertain and mercurial world of Hollywood screenwriting going right to the top, getting shuffled about, going back to games, traveling, filmmaking, games, and finally, success and a giant Disney movie of his game! Anyone who could hang on to that deserves a standing ovation. Bravo!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great and inspirational journey October 25, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've been working in videogames for close to 6 years now, and have been a videogame fanatic for 25 years. playing Prince of Persia on my brothers Amiga computer is my one of my first game memories and as an artist I think it greatly inspired my development as an artist.

This book was a revelation, it brought back memories of a time almost forgotten and helped me place them in context. Jordan explains himself in simple terms, is charming and instantly relatable. Seeing his drive, his good nature and willingness to work hard, chase your dreams and catalog your thoughts has given me great inspiration about how I approach my own ventures.

Looking forward to more stories from Mechner!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Insider's Look at the Game Industry 25 Years Ago October 27, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A fun and fast read that is both an exciting look at the fragile creation of a video game classic as well as a voyeuristic glimpse at a young man trying to figure out where he wants to make his mark in the world.

This book begins a month before Jordan's 21st birthday and graduation from college. It ends when he is 28 years old, three months before I met him and would spend the next four years working round-the-clock on The Last Express. So for me, these journals feel like a prologue to my adult life. But I think they will be equally fascinating to anyone interested in games, movies, writing, programming, or just the fun and anxiety that goes into any creative endeavor.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great book!
Published 20 days ago by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars All very cool. But where's the story
It's just this dude who wrote the coolest game and has lot of friends and access and travels. All very cool. But where's the story? How did Prince of Persia break out? Read more
Published 24 days ago by Sumeet Parmar
5.0 out of 5 stars Even better than the Karateka journals
This book will not disappoint you if you're a creator of any kind, digital, physical or otherwise. Checki it out.
Published 1 month ago by Sean McKenzie
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Journey Into the Mind of a Great Creative
If you are the least bit interested in knowing what goes on in the mind of a you creative setting out to make an even bigger hit than his first game, this is a must read. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Henrik
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story of the early days of game coding where ...
Great story of the early days of game coding where a talented single person could write a complete game and literally change the fledgling video game market. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Harry Perkins
4.0 out of 5 stars Remember, he was young at the time.
A major example of imposter syndrome. He's highly skilled, ambitious, and has terrible fits of hubris and depression. Good story about how games were made.
Published 3 months ago by Tess
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 4 months ago by Joseph Rogg
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good book about the building of iconic early-90s games
I enjoy 'documentary-style' books on old software applications and development teams (for example, Masters of Doom by David Kushner), but was a little hesitant at purchasing this... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Jeff Geerling
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating diary full of great observations
I remember very well those countless hours I spent playing Prince & Prince 2. I played it on various PCs I had access to back then, 20 years ago. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Andrew
5.0 out of 5 stars Great window into the mind of one of the defining game developers
Growing up Prince of Persia was one of the first games I could get a hold of. I was delighted to discover this developer diary existed.... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Emmanuel Oga
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More About the Author

New York Times best-selling author, screenwriter, and video game designer Jordan Mechner has created games including Prince of Persia, Karateka, and The Last Express. He became the first game-creator-turned-screenwriter to adapt his own work as a major motion picture with "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" (2010).

Mechner's original graphic novel Templar is published by First Second. He has also published two volumes of his game development journals from the 1980s, The Making of Karateka and Prince of Persia. His film "Chavez Ravine: A Los Angeles Story" won the 2003 IDA award for Best Short Documentary.

Mechner was born in New York and received his B.A. from Yale University.

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