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Jordan Mechner

Jordan Mechner
Jordan Mechner at WonderCon 2010
Born (1964-06-04) June 4, 1964
New York City
Nationality American
Occupation Video game designer, screenwriter, author, filmmaker
Known for Creator of Prince of Persia
Spouse(s) Whitney Hills (m. 2014)[1]

Jordan Mechner (born June 4, 1964)[2] is an American video game designer, author, screenwriter, and filmmaker, best known for creating the Prince of Persia video game franchise and the 8-bit game Karateka.


  • Life and early career 1
  • Prince of Persia revival 2
  • Writing and directing 3
  • Published games 4
  • Published books 5
  • Movies 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Life and early career

Mechner was born in New York City. He is of Jewish descent.[3][4] He attended Yale University in the 1980s.[5][6][7]

While at Yale, Mechner wrote several Apple II games that he submitted for publication, but which were rejected. Asteroid Blaster, an Asteroids clone, was submitted to Hayden Software and Deathbounce, an abstract arcade game, to Brøderbund. He then spent two years at Yale writing his first published game, Karateka (1984), which went to number one on the Billboard software chart.

His second game, Prince of Persia, was released in 1989 after over four years of work. He wrote both games in 6502 assembly language for the Apple II, though that system was in decline through the late 1980s and little new software was released by 1989. Initially Prince of Persia sold poorly, but as it was ported to other systems sales increased. Eventually it was adapted for nearly every computer and console platform.

Mechner designed and directed the first sequel, Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame , released in 1993. By then, he was focused on game design and story mechanics and was no longer programming.

Mechner founded independent developer Smoking Car Productions in 1993, where he led the production of the CD-ROM adventure game The Last Express. Smoking Car grew to sixty people,[8] a huge game development team for the mid-1990s, and the game took longer to finish than anticipated. When finally released in 1997, it was positively reviewed but sold poorly. The Last Express was re-released in 2012 by French publisher DotEmu for mobile and other platforms.

Mechner's first four games were all published by Brøderbund.

Prince of Persia revival

In 2001, Mechner worked with Ubisoft to reboot Prince of Persia. Developed at Ubisoft Montreal with Mechner as game designer, writer and creative consultant, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time was released in 2003. It received 12 nominations and 8 awards at the Interactive Achievement Awards (D.I.C.E.).[9] Ubisoft has since published four more Prince of Persia sequels and several spinoffs.

Mechner became one of the few video game creators to adapt his own creation as a feature film with Disney's Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, directed by Mike Newell, and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley, and Alfred Molina. Disney released Prince of Persia movie on May 28, 2010. Mechner wrote the first drafts of the screenplay and is an executive producer of the film.

Writing and directing

In 2003, Mechner wrote and directed the documentary film, Chavez Ravine: A Los Angeles Story. It won the 2003 IDA award for Best Short Documentary, was short-listed for an Academy Award nomination, and received its broadcast premiere on PBS Independent Lens in 2005.[10]

Mechner's original graphic novel Templar, illustrated by LeUyen Pham & Alex Puvilland, was published by First Second Books in July 2013.[11] (Book One, Solomon's Thieves, was published in paperback in May 2010.)[12] Templar became a New York Times best-selling book and was nominated for an Eisner award.[13] Mechner previously collaborated with First Second, Pham & Puvilland on the 2008 Prince of Persia graphic novel written by A.B. Sina. Mechner also wrote the graphic novel, Prince of Persia: Before the Sandstorm, to tie in with the release of the film in 2010.

Mechner has written a screenplay for a film adaptation of Michael Turner's Fathom for Fox Studios with actress Megan Fox.[14]

Mechner has published his game development journals from the 1980s, describing the making of the first Prince of Persia game and its predecessor, Karateka, on his website,[15] where he also posts sketches and current information about his projects.[16] Mechner was able to recover the source code of the Prince of Persia game from recently found 23-year-old 3.5″ Apple ProDOS floppy disks[17] and posted it online.[18]

Published games

Title Year Platform Publisher
Karateka 1984 Apple II Brøderbund Software
Prince of Persia 1989 Apple II Brøderbund Software
Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame 1993 DOS Brøderbund Software
The Last Express 1997 Windows, DOS, Mac OS Brøderbund Software
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time 2003 PlayStation 2, Xbox Ubisoft
Karateka 2012 Xbox 360 D3 Publisher

Published books

Title Year Publisher Collaborators
Templar 2013 First Second Books LeUyen Pham & Alex Puvilland (illus.)
The Making of Karateka: Journals 1982-1985 2012 Amazon
The Making of Prince of Persia: Journals 1985-1993 2010 Amazon
Prince of Persia: Before the Sandstorm 2010 Disney Todd McFarlane, Bernard Chang, Cameron Stewart, et al. (illus.)
Solomon's Thieves (Templar: Book One) 2010 First Second Books LeUyen Pham & Alex Puvilland (illus.)
Prince of Persia: The Graphic Novel 2008 First Second Books A.B. Sina (writer), LeUyen Pham & Alex Puvilland (illus.)



  1. ^ Mechner, Jordan (7 April 2014). "Jordan Mechner on Twitter".  
  2. ^ Mechner, J.: "Blog 4 June 1989", Jordan Mechner's website
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Steve Fulton (September 29, 2014). """What Indie Game Developers Can Learn From Jordan Mechner's Book "The Making Of Karateka.  
  6. ^
  7. ^ Charles McGrath (May 21, 2010). "A Gamer’s World, but a Dramatist’s Sensibility".  
  8. ^
  9. ^ award pagePrince of Persia from Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences website
  10. ^ PBS Independent Lens
  11. ^ [4]
  12. ^ From Games to Comics
  13. ^ [5]
  14. ^ "Megan Fox to star in 'Fathom'" from Variety
  15. ^ [6]
  16. ^ Jordan Mechner's Official Bio
  17. ^ Raiders of the Lost Archives page on Mechner's personal site
  18. ^ jmechner/Prince-of-Persia-Apple-II page at GitHub

External links

  • Official website
  • Jordan Mechner at MobyGames
  • Jordan Mechner at the Internet Movie Database
  • Profile in Yale Scientific Magazine, Winter 2005
  • Chavez Ravine: A Los Angeles Story
  • Article written by Mechner for MIT Press
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