Jordan Mechner at WonderCon 2010
June 4, 1964 |
New York City
|Occupation||video game designer, screenwriter, author, and filmmaker|
|Known for||Creator of Prince of Persia|
|Spouse(s)||Whitney Hills (m. 2014)|
Jordan Mechner (born 4 June 1964) 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
Mechner was born in New York City. He is a graduate of Yale University where he received a BA in psychology in 1985.
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 Broderbund. 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, 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.). 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.
Mechner's original graphic novel Templar, illustrated by LeUyen Pham & Alex Puvilland, was published by First Second Books in July 2013. (Book One, Solomon's Thieves, was published in paperback in May 2010.) Templar became a New York Times best-selling book and was nominated for an Eisner award. 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 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, where he also posts sketches and current information about his projects. 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 and posted it online.
|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|
|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.)|
- Waiting for Dark (1993)
- Chavez Ravine: A Los Angeles Story (2003)
- Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010) (screenwriter)
- Mechner, Jordan (7 April 2014). "Jordan Mechner on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
- Mechner, J.: "Blog 4 June 1989", Jordan Mechner's website
- Prince of Persia award page from Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences website
- PBS Independent Lens
- From Games to Comics
- "Megan Fox to star in 'Fathom'" from Variety
- Jordan Mechner's Official Bio
- Raiders of the Lost Archives page on Mechner's personal site
- jmechner/Prince-of-Persia-Apple-II page at GitHub
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jordan Mechner.|
- 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