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Gaming pioneer Jordan Mechner said he is publishing a book on the making of The Prince of Persia, based on journals that he kept while making the game 30 years ago.

Stripe Press is publishing the book, The Making of Prince of Persia, which should be out next year, Mechner said in a fireside chat at the Gamelab game conference in Barcelona today.

Mechner said when he pulled the journals out a decade ago, he laughed at some of the material. Every few months, he said, he was predicting in his journals that his big game would be done in three months. That went on for a long time. Broderbund published the original game in 1989.

The game went on to sell tens of millions of copies, and it had eight sequels across 10 platforms. Mechner, who left the U.S. to live in France a few years ago, said he donated a lot of the work-in-progress materials, including floppy disks and rotoscoping film footage, to the Strong Museum of Play in Rochester, New York.


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About a decade ago, Mechner dusted off the journals and self-published them on the web. Internet archivists helped spread the word about the journals, and eventually Stripe came calling, Mechner said.

Asked if he has a new game coming, he said, “I don’t have anything to announce today, but the book.” But he said he would like to replay those old games again.

Mechner said he and Stripe hope to finish the work of assembling the visuals with the edited journals by September, and the book will hopefully come out next spring. That would be in time for the 30th anniversary of the release of the IBM PC version of the Prince of Persia.

The documentation work was easier in part because he found some early Prince of Persia source code disks in his father’s closet in 2012. He found at that time that “an incredible retro-gaming fan and archivist community has been keeping the flame of early game development knowledge alive.”

The Internet Archive and Strong Museum of Play (which houses work materials and artifacts from Mechner’s past projects) are helping to make the collector’s edition of “The Making of Prince of Persia” as feature-rich as possible.


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