Thoughts on reading “The Making of Prince of Persia”



So I had this book lying on my book shelf for a few years. I had a peak at the contents when I got it (ordered from Amazon), but it wasn’t immediately engaging, and I thought it was going to be a bit more technical in nature (the title misled me), so I was disappointed and left it on the shelf as a “TODO” item.

Fast forward to Wednesday night. I had milk tea in the afternoon, which usually meant sleepness nights. I wasn’t exactly in a great mood either (as you can tell from the tone of my posts on Facebook), was a bit existential, wondering what’s the point of everything and all that.

Somehow I picked this up from the shelf and started reading (gotta find something to do when you’re not sleepy yet at 2am, right?) In the end I slept at 9am. Yay.

In retrospect I’m still a bit surprised that this book actually got published *and* has a significant readership. One had to be both well aware of computing history *and* have some entrepreneurish experience to understand the story — which wasn’t written for any audience in mind in the first place (I had to Google for a bunch of context — I’m a bit too young to appreciate it fully. The early journals predate my existence).

But once we got beyond that, it was an interesting narrative (from multiple perspectives). It resonated in multiple ways. Twenty something struggling between career paths and wondering what to do with life. Product design. Obsessions with perfection. Convincing others to take your baby project seriously. Success. Failure. That kind of shit.

Mechner, who pretty much singlehandedly designed and programmed one of the best computer games of the era, almost gave up the project and opted for a (probably mediocre at best) career in the film industry. Wonders whether the computer game industry will dry up. Heh.

In the end it was so engaging that I didn’t sleep until 9am~ish, after finishing the book (in one go). Maybe I shouldn’t tease other ppl about staying up all night and becoming sleepy the next day because she’s absorbed into a story, because I’m doing the same thing.



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