January, 20212 min readbook-notes

The Making of Prince of Persia

Some thoughts after reading the book.

Palace in Morocco
Photo by zoltantasi

I finished reading The Making of Prince of Persia this morning by Jordan Mechner. Could not put the book down, has not happened to me in a while.

It is not a book per se (which makes it even more interesting, IMO). It is the collection of entries from Jordan's journal leading up to and during the creation of POP 1 and 2. What a story, on many levels:

  • 80% of the work was done by Jordan alone: animations, level design, soundtrack, the storyline.
  • Game development is hard work. Game development in the 90s was insanely hard (digitising the game using Super 8, Moviola and video camera). Still, I guess it was possible (albeit very hard) to make 80% of the game yourself? I cannot see that happening now.
  • Everyone has doubts - even the creator of POP.
  • Creative work on POP happened in bursts during 3 years of development.
  • Jordan is definitely not a stereotypical "developer."

Here is a quote that put things in perspective for me. I was not even 1 year old at that time. Let alone wanted to be a part of the "computer" industry - bloody hell.

Roland came over for breakfast, and we installed an extra 1 MB in my Mac. Roland tested it out by creating an 8,000-page document in MS Word.

P.S. Prince of Persia was the first-ever game I saw. My Dad showed it to me on MS-DOS. What a beauty. Thanks, Jordan!