Mechner releases Prince Of Persia source code

Jordan Mechner has released the source code from his 1989 Apple II platformer Prince Of Persia after successfully extracting the data from three 3.5" floppy disks.

Mechner thought the source code was lost forever until, last month, his father sent over a box of disks he had found in the back of a cupboard. Mechner's next task was to somehow extract the code from the archaic format on which it was stored; in a post on his blog he explains it was done with the help of dozens of people.

He compares source code to sheet music for a piano sonata: it's not necessary for the work to be enjoyed, but to a pianist, or composer arranging the piece for multiple instruments, it has value.

"It's possible, up to a point, to reverse engeineer new source code from a published videogame, much as a capable musician can transcribe a musical score from listening to a performance," he writes. "But in both cases, there's no substitute for the original document as a direct line to the creator's intentions and work process.

"As such, it has both practical and historical value, to the small subset of the game-playing/music-listening community that cares. This is why I was so sorry to have lost the Prince Of Persia source code, and happy to find it again."

Those interested can download the source code from Github. Mechner is currently working on a remake of another Apple II classic, Karateka, for XBLA and PSN.