The Beginnings of the Legend of Jordan Mechner

(Note: PC-S has had a gratis review copy of The Making of Karateka for a week. This did not influence this review in anyway.)

The Making of Karateka encompasses a lot, a documentary, a collection of historical digital ephemera and designs, a short podcast, a remaking of a classic game going back to its original inception (unlike the version made in 2012 with Liquid, referenced with in THE program that is Making of) and new and original playable versions of prototype games.

In many ways it is unlike anything on the market, at least for a video game. Imagine your favorite movie from long ago, with the original version, but also a remastered edition, but also commentary, new documentaries, the old epks, but also the entire screenplay, every letter between the studio and the filmmakers, a deep dive into the score, home movies by the director, the screen tests and then maybe even say the dalies with all the various takes plus development about the never made sequel.

That is what Digital Eclipse has done with this project. Made the Ultimate Anniversary Collector’s Collector Edition of a treasured video game, telling its origins and then hidden secrets and further deep dives, it is a book, a movie and full fledged video game all in one. The best part is Karateka is just the first game planned in this series. I don’t know who or what games are planned but if they could do this same treatment with the likes of Will Wright, Sid Meier, or if sticking to Brøderbund, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

If they had even had half of what they stuffed in to this Making Of Karateka it’d still incredible. The heartfelt sitdown between Jordan and his father Francis, the sitdowns with various Broderbund, the look at the never finished Karateka II which eventually turned into a truly major franchise in Prince of Persia and the the ability to actually PLAY early versions of Karateka, a remastered version and even a remaster of a previously unpublished game?

One of the more fun things personally for me was to see some of images from the English edition Mechner’s autobiographical family memoir historical graphic novel, Replay: Memoir of an Uprooted Family being published by First Second through Macmillan. The use of these images added to the legacy of the game, as much as having established other game developers also talk about how much the game meant to them.

The Making of Karateka is available NOW on Steam, GOG, Epic Games, Playstation and XBox for $20. It’s a game, a movie, a book, an education and a treasury… a not miss for any video game lover, fans of video game history, fans of Prince of Persia, or just people who love good stuff made well.

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