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The Original Prince of Persia Movie

Jordan Mechner offers a very inside look into the development of the original Prince of Persia.

Knowing as much as I do about the lifestyle that goes with making video games, I know better than to romanticize it, but the story behind the creation of the original Prince of Persia has remained some of the most evocative game-development lore in my mind for a long time now. Considering the relatively crude state that video-game animation was at in 1985, it was mind-blowing to imagine Jordan Mechner video-taping his younger brother hopping around, then using some kind of arcane silicon alchemy hoodoo to turn that movement into the naturalistic animation you saw in the game.

It was an ingenious shortcut around the costly, time-consuming, and painstaking task of animating everything by hand. It was basically the birth of motion-capture in video games. It was also something that I always figured I'd only get to see in my mind's eye, but Mechner himself has gone ahead and unearthed some of those reference tapes for the world to see.


While I would've loved to have seen some of the raw footage of Jordan directing his brother in between takes, this is still a pretty thrilling little piece of game-development history. It just strikes me as incredible how much of this early tape can be clearly seen in the finished product.