Prince of Persia Creator Working On New Karateka Game

While the majority of Jordan Mechner's talk at Comic-Con earlier today focused on all things Prince of Persia, some fans veered slightly off-topic, picking the programmer's brain on his other titles — Karateka and The Last Express. The former, Mechner's first commercial game, an early 2D fighter published by Brøderbund and known for its fluid animation, is planned to get an update (of sorts). Details on the Karateka project weren't provided, but Mechner teased the crowd by saying "I can safely say it's not going to be the way that you expect." He did, however, say he would be directly "involved," a claim he didn't make about Ubisoft's recent Prince of Persia releases. Mechner also let the crowd in on the particulars of a hilarious Easter egg in the original Karateka.Asked by a fan about two of the game's quirks — that Karateka could be played with the screen flipped upside down if the floppy was inserted the wrong way and if the "volcano" in the background erupted randomly, killing both fighters instantly — Mechner cleared up both. No, the one-in-a-million eruption was just a rumor, he said, but the inverted floppy trick was certainly by design. One of the Karateka programmers handling copy protection discovered a way to flip the screen with a simple change to the bit table. The was still playable, but "really hard." "We thought it would be hilarious if we burned the flipped version of the game to the other side of the disk," he recounted, thinking that Brøderbund execs wouldn't go for it "because it would require an assembly line change to actually burn the game onto both sides of the disk, which adds however many cents." In the end, they did go for it. Mechner said he envisioned that someone would put the disk in upside down, then call tech support and get the explanation "Well, sir, you put the disk in upside-down." "That person would think, for the rest of their life, that that's how software works."



Hah! That's awesome. Karateka was an awesome game, and it's cool to get to hear little facts about games like that even now. Actually, I didn't know about that easter egg, except for that Princess kicks your brains in if you mess up at the end deal...