May 9, 1989

Spent the day hard-wiring the shadow man into the level I built yesterday. It’s kind of a letdown. For over a year now, the shadow man has been this awesome idea that everyone gets all excited about when they hear it. Now, it’s just… what it is. The unlimited potential has been replaced by the concrete reality of what I programmed today.

This time, there’ll be no time for me to tear it all down and reprogram it five more times, to try to more fully realize the dream. The hundreds of thousands of kids who I hope will play this game will encounter the shadow man just as I programmed him today. I hope he blows them away. I’m too close to it to be able to tell. If not, well, I blew it.

Apple II Mirror from jordan mechner on Vimeo.

Posted on May 9, 1989 in Old Journals | 4 comments

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  1. 2-17-2009

    In all of the videos so far, I notice these delicate creme colored pillars supporting the stone walkways above, which seem like they would be more appropriate in the “palace” levels, instead of the the stone columns that I’m used to seeing from the IBM version. You may cover it later in the journals that haven’t been posted yet, but I’m looking forward to hearing about the history behind the change to the stone columns.

    As far as the shadow-man goes, it worked for me. POP was one of the first games I seriously played on my first 16mhz 386 computer, when I was 10 years old, and the shadow was impressive. When you say you programmed him “today” do you refer to all of his appearances — the mirror, the ledge, and the fight — or only to the first?

  2. 4-5-2009

    I remember playing this level when I was about 12 years old. It was a real startle to see a part of the hero separate from him and leave, when I’ve finally managed to find a way to cross the obstacle. I started wondering what I (the hero) had lost. The “shadow man”, or “reflection” – as I called it at the time – stayed a troubling mysterious figure, and a lurking threat – or conscious mistake – until a couple of levels later, when I’ve discovered his real purpose, his evil side, and had to face him. I was afraid of having to fight him, I didn’t know how I would be able to kill a magical reflection. And all the while I had wondered ‘whether I had done the right thing crossing that enchanted mirror… but it’s not like I had a choice’.

  3. 9-4-2011

    Yeah this part was weird to me as a teenager/kid. Too bad you couldn’t fix it. Do you have a video clip of what it would be like if you could? :(

  4. 10-30-2011

    The shadow man blew me and my buddies away the first time we got here. We were freshmen in college, playing shortly after the game came out. We thought it was brilliant.

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