Jordan Mechner is perhaps the epitome of that special generation of videogame designers that existed in the eighties at the dawn of the gaming age. Often young and working alone, they created many of the games that first hooked older games such as myself and turned us into gaming addicts for life. If they were lucky, these game designers made a fortune thanks to their work, but more often they found themselves falling victim to unscrupulous publishers who robbed them of both royalties and – all too often – the rights to the very games they created.
Prince of Persia, created by Mechner in 1989 for the Apple II and eventually ported to over 23 platforms, remains one of the greatest games ever produced. Mechner’s original game alone sold over two million copies and so much of a piece of gaming history has it become that when Mechner open-sourced the original source code in 2012 it was widely recognised as one of the most important acts so far in the quest to make sure the history of computer gaming is properly recorded.
That release, though, was not the first thing that Mechner has done to help provide an insight into that era of gaming. For he has also made his diaries, which he kept through-out his time developing Prince of Persia available to buy as an ebook. He has also done the same for Karateka, the game he made before Persia which first brought him to the attention of the gaming world.
Both books make for genuinely fascinating reads and are heartily recommended. You can buy both of them here.