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on 15 August 2014
There isn't much that's in-depth about this book. Most of it passes with Jordan talking about what's happening as the first Prince of Persia game makes its way into production and saying how he feels about it. There's little to nothing about the coding challenges that (one imagines?) must make up at least part of the development process - but maybe Jordan just never found it hard to do. That's just another aspect in which the book lacks substance though - you don't learn how it is that Jordan came to have his programming skills. Or how he came to decide what features he would put into each level of the game. Tantalisingly, there are some notepad sketches of graphic elements that, if you played early versions of PofP, you will recognise, but you don't ever get close to his thinking re the actual creative journey. So it's just not quite the book I wanted it to be and has little else as compensation.
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on 19 April 2012
I bought this book entirely on the basis that I played Prince of Persia on my Amiga back in the early 1990s, and figured that the book was worth a punt.

It certainly was. I got the nostalgia kick I was looking for, but the bonus is that Mechner is a good journal writer. The reader gets an insight into the tribulations of game development and there's a real sense of the sheer effort of will required to get things done. It's honest at times - often so honest that I wonder whether it's a good idea, legally speaking, for Mechner to write this stuff.

Overall, thoroughly recommended for fans of the game, or those just interested the auteur creative process.
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on 13 October 2012
(from my goodreads review)

If you picked up this book looking for pretty pictures of Jake Gyllenhal and co on location and amusing anecdotes from the cast and crew of the movie Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, you'd be sorely disappointed. This is not that book. This is a book about the original video game that spawned a host of original remakes, which later provided inspiration for the movie. Every story has a beginning, and this is the beginning for the Prince, in his earliest iteration.

For fans of the recent Ubisoft series of games, this might make an interesting read (provided you can put your console/computer controller down long enough to read) and is an excellent insight into how the original Prince of Persia was created. Although not exactly a detailed account into the mechanics or decisions that were made to create such a classic game, this book does provide a look into Jordan Mechner's thoughts on the process and how he struggled to balance his dreams and ambitions. In essence, isn't that a story we all personally know?

The more I read through this collection of journal entries, the more I wanted to root out my copy of the DOS PoP and play it (which I did about halfway through the book). Twenty three years on, and the game is still a thrill to play and I don't think I've played a game recently that has given me the same shivers I got whenever the pixelly Prince needed to make a particularly haring jump. This is lasting power, and hats off to Mechner for getting past all the politics he describes here to get this made and have it enter legendary status (in my books at least).

In the end it's a wonderful story of how, through hard work, perseverance and personal drive, you really can achieve all that you set out to achieve. I think this was quite an inspiration and highly recommend it for anyone who loves the Prince of Persia game(s) (new or old), or anyone who enjoys a good biographical look into the mind of a successful professional (although, at the time he wrote this section of his journal, Mechner wasn't an out-and-out success yet).
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on 29 July 2014
Fantastic little gem. One has to congratulate Mechner for having the foresight (or the massive ego) to keep a developmetn journal for Prince of Persia. The book is a fascinating view of the author's state of mind while developing the game. It helps to understand the process, his motivations and his creative ideas better. I did like that he kept his other personal (non game) entries as they definately had a baring in his state of mind and therefore on Prince of Persia. The only shame is that there aren't many more game developers that have kept a journal like Jordan Mechner has!
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on 1 February 2016
I started reading this book because of the potential game development lessons in it. Having played the game as a kid and being fascinated by its animation and soundtrack made the whole thing all the more interesting.

Those elements were all in the book. However, it offers so much more than that.

Jordan's life at the time was registered in such an interesting way that even if the book omitted most of the content about Prince of Persia it would still be worth reading.
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on 19 June 2017
A little time travel back to the days when games were still made in bedrooms with exceptional people who put everything they could into it.
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on 21 August 2013
I read this over a few days and found it very pleasing. I'm a child of that generation and remember the feeling of excitement during those years that something amazing was happening. Jordan's recollections resonate with that era. I don't think I'd read it again, but I might read his other mini-memoir as a result.
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on 23 February 2016
Excellent present for a web developer, he said it was a great read to understand what is needed to make a game such as the original Prince of Persia.
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on 14 April 2013
Fantastic read.May only apply to people who remember the game and played it originally but a thoroughly enjoyable read. The Making of Karateka (which came before Prince of Persia) is also an amazing read.
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on 11 September 2013
I was disappointed with the content. I thought it would provide some technical or creative depth. Instead it is a bit of a vague 'highlights' reel that had me skim reading to the end.
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