The Prince of Persia ebook

For readers who’ve gamely clicked their way through all seven years of my “Making of Prince of Persia” journals online — and those who haven’t — I’m happy to announce that the complete saga is now available as a PDF and Amazon Kindle ebook.

The book isn’t free — we’ve priced it at US$7.99 — but at 300-plus pages, I hope it’s good value. We’re publishing it without any copy protection or DRM, so pirates shouldn’t have much of a challenge. Book sales will help defray the costs of this project and of maintaining the website.

The ebook contains the original Old Journals, plus never-before-published entries leading up to the beginning of The Last Express. You can download a free sample PDF of the first 40 pages, or the full ebook, here.

Thanks to Danica Novgorodoff for designing the book (Danica is the multitalented author of the excellent graphic novel Refresh, Refresh, and designer of many First Second books, including Solomon’s Thieves), and to David Anaxagoras, Ryan Nelson, and Aaron Simonoff for their hard work putting it together. It’s safe to say it turned out to be a lot more work than any of us expected.

How Prince of Persia got made — and almost didn’t

In the ebook, you’ll read what I wrote in my journal on the day I videotaped my kid brother running and jumping to model the prince’s moves; the day I gave up on the project; and the day I decided to finish it after all.

In the seven years from May 1985 to January 1993, Prince of Persia went from a few scribbles on yellow-lined paper to a published, best-selling video game franchise, and I changed from a callow kid into (I thought) a seasoned software entrepreneur. If you’ve read the journals, you know that it was a bumpy ride, and that the game’s eventual success was anything but a foregone conclusion.

Whether you’re a game designer or in another creative field, whether you had an Apple II in the 1980s or weren’t born yet, I hope you’ll find inspiration (or something else of use to you) in this story of how one game got made.

Check out the ebook here.

A request

This ebook is an experiment in many ways. I have no idea how many people will be interested, or how well the non-DRM “honor system” will work. Either way, I’ll post once the dust has settled, and let you know how it went.

If you’ve enjoyed the Old Journals on the site, but don’t feel the urge to own the ebook, you can still support this project by helping us spread the word. Readers like you who take the time to post or tweet about the Old Journals ebook, review it on Amazon, or just tell a friend, will make a big difference in the experiment.

Many thanks!

Posted on Oct 19, 2011 in Blog, Film, Games, Making Games, Old School, Prince of Persia | 37 comments

37 Comments

  1. 10-19-2011

    I can’t be sure, but I think it’s safe to say your brother (and you) kind of invented Parkour :)

    I read your old journals but I’m still buying the ebook. I think it’s nice to have sources of inspiration as close as possible.

  2. 10-19-2011

    This looks amazing. I have to buy it! Can’t wait to explore the old journals and be inspired by your inspirations. Thanks!

  3. 10-19-2011

    That video is awesome! Are you gonna make a POP Documentary??

  4. 10-19-2011

    You need to advertise the book more on the old journal pages. I got through the whole journal online without knowing about the book until now going to the front page of your site and clicking around.

    • 10-19-2011

      Just bought it anyway. :) Good to have a copy of it locally.

  5. 10-20-2011

    Does your ebook contain links to youtube videos,your original video contained.

  6. 10-20-2011

    No ePub format? They’re fairly easy to create and one of the most popular eBook formats, so I’m wondering why. 8-(

  7. 10-20-2011

    Looks great! Now, about that Apple II source code… :-)

    • 10-20-2011

      Peter, check out my web page. To port PoP to the Commodore 64, I had to reverse-engineer the Apple II code. You might find that interesting.

  8. 10-20-2011

    Can I have printed copy? 330 pages seems quite a lot to read from screen.

  9. 10-20-2011

    How about an epub version for those of us not using kindles?

  10. 10-20-2011

    If you’re going to release and sell an epub version, you could try Wizard’s Tower Books (http://www.wizardstowerbooks.com). I’m from a place that doesn’t sell the Kindle, and I really dislike DRM-ed PDFs.

    • 10-21-2011

      From the article above: “or how well the non-DRM “honor system” will work”.

      So I guess it’s not DRMed.

      • 10-23-2011

        Thank you, of course you’re right. Actually I meant I dislike PDFs (preferring epubs), but it came out as DRM-ed PDFs (which is, of course, the spawn of hell). :)

  11. 10-21-2011

    I love your work, Jordan. I had been a fan since I was 10 years old and played the first game. I´m buying the ebook. You deserve all the best, you´re inspiring as a project manager and idealizer, thank you for the memories and fun I had.

  12. 10-22-2011

    I bought the ebook last Thursday and devoured it today, just after finishing Steven Levy’s “Hackers”.

    I enjoyed reading about your struggles and experiences and I’m glad that you could get to know all those places, people and occupations.

    Although I’ve yet to play “The Last Express” (bought a copy at gog.com a couple of months ago), I hope I can read about the story leading to its creation some day.

    *mr infinite*: There are no youtube links.
    *Donny*: There’s no DRM on the pdf version, but you can only download the file 5 times.

  13. 10-22-2011

    Awesome, Thank you! Any chance of continuing the journals into the Last Express years? Thank you for all you have done!

  14. 10-24-2011

    Amazing! We have all gone back in time with you. Thank you so much for providing such an insight into your brilliant mind and creative spirit! All of us who know you celebrate you!

  15. 10-25-2011

    Damn, I just read the free pdf version and seems I’ll have to buy your book, ’cause it’s awesome, which I wasn’t expecting from a book made of Old Journals :)
    This is a great experiment and I wish you all the luck in the world

  16. 10-27-2011

    I’d previously read the journals, and when I visited your site tonight (looking to see if there was any news about the chap who cracked Apple II Karateka from scratch) I didn’t hesitate to buy the PDF. I think it’s been my favourite account of creation of 8-bit software ‘from the day’ that I’ve read, so I didn’t think twice about getting my own, easier-to-access copy. I’ll just read the PDF on my dekstop.

  17. 10-30-2011

    Oh, the memories of this classic title! This book is jewel for game designers and POP fans alike! A hard copy is the only thing I’d prefer.

  18. 10-31-2011

    Update: By popular demand, we’re looking into making a paper book available through Amazon’s CreateSpace. Stay tuned.

    • 11-3-2011

      Awesome news!

      • 11-18-2011

        Any news here?
        Waiting anxiously for the paper version :)

  19. 11-3-2011

    Mr. Mechner, you definitely should do a movie for this.
    Like “Pirates of Silicon Valley”
    Not just documentary!

  20. 11-3-2011

    Just bought the ebook. Its a whole different thing reading it that way, and it was awesome ! Thanks Jordan !

  21. 11-6-2011

    Chalk me up as another “I’m interested but I would rather buy an ePub version” reader. :)

  22. 11-6-2011

    Bought it. It’s an awesome ebook. Would definitely be interested in a print.

  23. 11-8-2011

    Hi Jordan!

    You can publish your PDF on http://www.lulu.com to get a printed version on demand, it is a good service!!

  24. 12-2-2011

    Wow. That ebook was amazing, lots of interesting stuff. I almost read it completely from start to end. And now, I feed the urge to play the original game. Now would be the time to publish it (and its sequels) on online gaming sites like GOG.

  25. 12-4-2011

    Though I’ve read all of your PoP journals published on this site, I still felt compelled to get the kindle version – it’s an absolutely fascinating and inspiring read.

  26. 12-5-2011

    this is amazing, a making of about a game like prince of persia you don’t see it everyday.
    i would buy a printed copy right away

  27. 12-16-2011

    I like the spikes (if you fall) and swordplay. Cool to see your notes and how things developed. What games are you working on now?

  28. 1-29-2012
  29. 2-1-2012

    Alisson, you beat me to the punch! Yes, the book is finally out in both epub and paperback. Many thanks to everyone who asked. Details are in today’s blog post.

  30. 12-15-2012

    Great book. Thank you so much for sharing those invaluable experiences. By the way, do you have plans to have it translated to other languages? Russian, for example?

  31. 4-23-2014

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