Introducing Karateka Classic

Update: Karateka Classic is now live in the App Store and on Google Play.

I’ve heard from a lot of people who’ve expressed the desire to replay a certain 1984 side-scrolling, bird-punching game that traumatized them in childhood, exactly the way they remember it — on their mobile devices.

ktc-iphoneSo, by popular demand, I’m happy to announce that Karateka Classic is coming to the App Store and Google Play this Thursday. It’s not a remake, not a port, but a faithful pixel-perfect emulation of the original Apple II game, with Olivier Goguel’s ActiveGS emulator running my 6502 assembly language code, graphics, and my dad’s music.

In engineering the app, Olivier has added a number of nifty touches, including the ability to choose between color CRT, amber, or green screen, as well as a few touchscreen-friendly updates, and a certain peculiarity of the 5.25″ floppy disk version which I won’t spoil here.

I’ll be curious to hear your thoughts. Does Karateka Classic match your memories? How does it compare to the Karateka remake? And is it better to kick, or always punch the hawk?

Download links will be posted here late Wednesday night. Oh, and the price will be 99 cents.

Posted on May 14, 2013 in Blog, Games, Karateka, Old School | 14 comments


  1. 5-14-2013

    Fantastic game, one of my favorites.

  2. 5-14-2013

    Oh, that’s a nice surprise! I have such great memories of Karateka on my old Apple II!

    So.. I’m guessing we will be able to choose disk side B? :D

    Looking forward to tomorrow!

    P.S.: I always preferred kicking the hawk :)

  3. 5-14-2013

    Thanks for this, Jordan!

  4. 5-14-2013

    Looking forward to it!

  5. 5-14-2013

    Thank you, Mr. Mechner!! I have been waiting years and years to finally be able to play the classic KARATEKA again!! It was my first real favorite video game growing up, and I can’t wait until Thursday to rescue the princess again!!

  6. 5-15-2013

    Thanks a lot! I was looking forward to have the classic version for the iPhone, my favorite Apple II game of all time!

  7. 5-15-2013

    I was deeply frustrated and disappointed by the new Karateka, it’s unbelievable that everything that makes the original so nice was removed – the original game has a serious tone, realistic animation and sophisticated concept art, while the new Karateka is just some childish cartoon with terrible movements, really bad voice acting and uninspiring gameplay.
    Prince of Persia: Sands of Time translated the atmosphere and the subtle but efficient storytelling of the original in a perfect way; that game is a modern masterpiece (it’s a shame that the sequels abandon everything nice on it to become a cheap God of War rip-off). Why Karateka didn’t follow the same path of Sands of Time?

  8. 5-15-2013

    Looks promising. We’ll be featuring it on PGR tomorrow, good luck with the launch!

  9. 5-16-2013

    Great news, although I would have preferred the Commodore 64-graphics and SID-sound!

    Jordan – will the Android-version sport the new leaderboards- and achievement-API announced by Google yesterday at Google I/O?

  10. 5-16-2013

    Great game! But you should have updated the ending animation, as an extra reward to the (old time) player. Hero and Mariko leaving the room holding hands or something :)

  11. 5-17-2013

    I was looking for exactly this!

    Now, if we could get a POP on Android like this! I think it’s the DOS version that sticks in my head…

  12. 5-19-2013

    I’m really looking for an update with the C64 version as a bonus (way better sound effects and soundtrack).

  13. 6-13-2013

    For me couldn’t be better. Thank you Jordan Mechner for this awesome game, and for the memories. It’s perfect. The modern version is awesome too.

  14. 9-15-2014

    I was wondering if you ever thought of changing
    the layout of your website? Its very well written; I
    love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the
    way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only
    having one or 2 pictures. Maybe you could space it out better?

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