Jordan Mechner is an author, screenwriter and video game designer.
Mechner's first game to be published was Karateka in 1984, released under Brøderbund Software. It was created on an Apple II while Mechner was attending Yale University and submitted to Brøderbund on a floppy disk. This proved to Mechner that working in the video game industry was a viable career.
Mechner followed Karateka with Prince of Persia. The original took Mechner three years to make on an Apple II. It was published by Brøderbund in 1989. It was considered a huge leap in animation quality in video games. Its sequel, Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow & The Flame, was released in 1994.
Mechner founded Smoking Car Productions in 1993. The company created The Last Express with about sixty employees. It was closed shortly after the game's release in 1997.
Mechner was brought on initially as a consultant for Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time joining the rest of the team later as writer, writing the script and directing the voice recording sessions, and as game designer.
I wanted to bring the silent-film techniques I was learning about in my history-of-cinema classes — rotoscoping, cross-cutting, tracking shots — to the Apple II. My goal was to create a game that was visually sophisticated, yet so easy to play that even a non-gamer could immediately grasp the story, pick up the joystick and and become addicted.
About the Sands of Time:
Film and games, though they have similarities, have important differences as well. There’s no button on the controller for sit down with someone and have a nice conversation… the game story was just an excuse for getting the player to get from point A to point B and kill everybody he meets. This epic, romantic action movie that [the film version of] Prince of Persia was setting out to be.
About stories in games:
These days, when I go to the movies (or the Xbox), be it Star Trek, Bioshock or whatever, what holds my interest most are the small, quirky, human moments that somehow transcend the familiar epic framework, make it come alive one more time. They’re getting harder to find.