The Making of Karateka is a documentary about the Jordan Mechner's 1984 Apple II game, famed for the fluid animation and cinematic approach later refined in his own Prince of Persia. It's based on his own diaries, published under the same name (and availble for $6 as eBook or PDF)—and is playable.
Created on an Apple II by Jordan Mechner in his Yale dorm room in 1984, Karateka became a #1 bestseller and influenced a generation of gamers with its groundbreaking rotoscoped animation and cinematic storytelling.
Now you can play the original Karateka, and explore and share Jordan's journey creating it, in Digital Eclipse's The Making of Karateka — a playable interactive documentary packed with rare design documents, audio and video interviews, and faithfully emulated and remastered versions of Jordan's early games.
At first I was eager to play the several different versions of Karateka itself included in the package, but over time I found myself drawn to other elements. Karateka is a funny beast. It's cinematic but it actually has the starkness of theatre. Except, unlike theatre, it uses cross-cuts to create tension. You're the hero running left-to-right, defeating enemies to get to the goal, but after each enemy, you cut to the extreme right where the big baddy is reacting to the things you're doing over on the left. It's beautifully controlled and direct, and puts me in mind of that episode of Every Frame a Painting about Snowpiercer and its left/right dynamic.
It also comes with a beautiful and faithful remastered edition of the game (compare to the poorly-received 2012 remake)
Below, the trailer ↓