Karateka is Back!

I’m excited to announce that my new remake of Karateka — the game I’ve been working on with a small, independent team for the past 18+ months — is now available on Xbox Live Arcade for the Xbox 360. (Versions for PlayStation 3, Steam, and Apple iOS are coming soon.)

Here’s our official launch trailer — written and directed by Adam Lisagor, who infused the trailer with his nostalgic memories of playing Karateka at age six on an Apple II:

I’ll post more in coming weeks about the process of making Karateka, then and now: in 1982-84 as a college student on a 48K Apple II, and in 2011-12, as creative director of a bigger (but still small) team using modern game development tools. It’s a great excuse to dig into my archives and uncover old-school souvenirs like this one.

My goal in remaking Karateka was to recapture the simplicity of the original in a compact, reasonably priced (under US$10) downloadable game, with gameplay so straightforward that players of all ages could immediately grasp it and start having fun right away — while enjoying a dramatic human story.

I hope readers will give the new game a try. I’d love to hear your reactions, whether you played the original Karateka in the 1980s or are encountering it now for the first time. Send me a tweet (@jmechner on twitter), post your comment below, or (if you have a question of general interest that you’d like to see answered on the site) email me.

The Karateka website has up-to-date information on game availability on the various platforms. And don’t forget to punch the hawk!

Posted on Nov 7, 2012 in Blog, Games, Karateka, Making Games, Old School | 9 comments


  1. 11-7-2012

    Looking forward to buying this for iOS!

    Loved your karateka book too,

  2. 11-7-2012

    I loved the original Apple //e game. I’ll have to purchase this, because I’m afraid that as 14 years old I might not have actually acquired a legal copy of the game.

    What happens if I turn my ipod upside down? Probably not as fun as with the original.

  3. 11-7-2012

    Gotta wait for the PSN version to drop, but I’m seriously excited to see your work being updated for current devices. With Karateka, the Last Express and the Prince of Persia Classic all available for today’s audience, I believe we’re discovering a new form of curation.

  4. 11-8-2012

    I loved Karateka on the ][e (and on the c64), so this is really exciting. Since you’re doing an iOs version, are there any plans for Android as well or are there technical obstacles?

  5. 11-9-2012

    Karateka is not available on XBLA in Australia, just wondering if it will get a release?

    • 11-11-2012

      I was wondering that too. Why did we miss out?

  6. 11-27-2012

    Oh, thanks a lot for a planned Steam version! Can’t wait to play my favourite (renewed) game again :-) Please keep us posted.

  7. 12-13-2012

    I loved the original Karateka. Any chance this will be released separately as a Retro version on iOS?

  8. 5-22-2013

    Played it on the C64 as a kid and was really looking forward to playing it on the PC but it’s been more than 6 months after its release now and it’s still so buggy. I like what I am able to play of it but I cannot even finish the game because of a gamebreaking bug with the hawk in front of the palace. I’ve visited a couple of forums and have noticed that other people have been disappointed about this lack of support as well. Is there still a patch in the workings that will address this and other bugs? It’s too bad a game this much fun didn’t get a more polished release.

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