Prince of Persia Series Creator Donates Design and Business Records

The Strong News Release
NEWS RELEASE
One Manhattan Square Rochester, NY 14607 585-263-2700 museumofplay.org

October 29, 2014

For Immediate Release

Shane Rhinewald, 585-410-6365, srhinewald@museumofplay.org

Kim Della Porta, 585-410-6325, kdellaporta@museumofplay.org

Prince of Persia Series Creator
Donates Design and Business Records to
The Strong Museum

 

ROCHESTER, New York—Prominent game designer and writer Jordan Mechner, creator of the bestselling Prince of Persia franchise, has donated to The Strong in Rochester, New York, a collection of design notes, drawings, correspondence, business records, and software related to the development of his three best-known games—Karateka (1984), Prince of Persia (1989), and The Last Express (1997). The materials, acquired through The Strong’s International Center for the History of Electronic Games (ICHEG), will be made accessible to researchers in The Strong’s research library, as well as to the public through future displays.

Mechner pioneered the use of cinematographic techniques in video game design—such as rotoscoping—which helped him to develop smooth-scrolling, realistic animation for his first game, Karateka. He combined this realistic animation with cinematographic storytelling in his second title, Prince of Persia, and it spawned a franchise that includes an ongoing Ubisoft video game franchise, graphic novels, toys, LEGO sets, and a Walt Disney Pictures feature film, “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.” Mechner worked directly with Ubisoft on the 2003 game reboot, and with Disney as a screenwriter and executive producer of the 2010 film. 

“Jordan Mechner’s Prince of Persia combined cutting edge graphics, exciting action, and immersive storytelling in a way that had rarely been done before. It’s no wonder that the series continues to sell millions of games and inspire books and movies more than 25 years after its inception,” says Jon-Paul C. Dyson, director of The Strong’s International Center for the History of Electronic Games. “Thanks to the materials donated to The Strong by Jordan Mechner, scholars and researchers can now take a glimpse into the mind of one of gaming’s great innovators and one of its finest storytellers.”

The Jordan Mechner Collection (1913–2014) includes thousands of individual items, such as game design documents, notes, correspondence, development agreements, publicity materials, magazine articles, photographs, film and digital files, and other materials chronicling Jordan Mechner’s career (largely between 1984 and 1997). The collection also contains the business records for Mechner’s Smoking Car Productions Company, as well as more than a hundred copies of different versions of Karateka, Prince of Persia, and The Last Express.

“In my first three decades of making games, starting in high school on a 16K Apple II, I’ve accumulated a substantial ‘save’ pile of work-in-progress materials and souvenirs of my various projects,” says Jordan Mechner. “I’m delighted that The Strong museum is now taking charge of this archive and will make it available to scholars and the public. With the game industry growing and changing at such amazing speed, The Strong is doing great work preserving history that would otherwise be lost.”

The Jordan Mechner Papers sit alongside and complement The Strong’s vast collection of games, design documents, business records, and related materials that chronicle the history of the video game industry. These include the Brøderbund, Inc. Collection donated by company founder Doug Carlston earlier this year. Carlston and the Brøderbund team worked closely with Mechner to publish Karateka, Prince of Persia, and The Last Express.

About The Strong

The Strong is the only collections-based museum in the world devoted solely to the history and exploration of play. It is home to the International Center for the History of Electronic Games, the National Toy Hall of Fame, the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play, Woodbury School, and the American Journal of Play and houses the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of historical materials related to play. 

About the International Center for the History of Electronic Games

The Strong’s International Center for the History of Electronic Games (ICHEG) collects, studies, and interprets video games, other electronic games, and related materials and the ways in which electronic games are changing how people play, learn, and connect with each other, including across boundaries of culture and geography. As a result of ICHEG’s efforts, The Strong’s collection of video games, other electronic games, and game-related historical materials is the largest and most comprehensive public assemblage in the United States and one of the largest in the world.