Jordan Mechner papers
The Jordan Mechner papers have been arranged into seven series, two of which have been further divided into subseries. The physical materials are housed in 36 archival document boxes. There is also a series of digital-only files, which can be accessed via the internal network of The Strong.
Boxes 12, 13, and 14 have been restricted by the donor and cannot be accessed until the year 2044. Eleven additional folders have been designated as “restricted” and have been separated from the rest of the “open” materials in the collection. Researchers are free to request use of Boxes 1-11 and 15-36 until the donor restrictions have expired.
- 1913 - 2016
- Majority of material found within 1984 - 1999
- Mechner, Jordan (Author, Person)
Conditions Governing Access
At this time, audiovisual and digital files in this collection are limited to on-site researchers only. It is possible that certain formats may be inaccessible or restricted.
Please see The Strong's Digital Games Files Access Policy
Conditions Governing Use
32 Linear Feet (24 boxes)
922 Gigabytes (Digital files) : Accessible on-site at The Strong.
Jordan Mechner grew up in New York with a strong interest in both filmmaking and computers. He learned how to code on an Apple II computer and subsequently wrote several short programs and informative articles for the magazine Creative Computing. Mechner enrolled at Yale University, supplementing his major studies in Psychology with courses in film and computer science.
In 1982, Mechner submitted a game called Deathbounce to Doug Carlston at Brøderbund Software; though the game was never released, Mechner and Brøderbund established a good rapport. Two years later, Brøderbund published Mechner’s game Karateka, a side-scrolling fighting game set in feudal Japan, which eventually sold more than half a million copies worldwide. Mechner utilized his film background to develop realistic animation for the game Prince of Persia, released by Brøderbund in 1989. The popular game spawned several successful sequels, a reboot, and ultimately a major motion picture.
Mechner founded independent developer Smoking Car Productions in 1993. Their primary project, The Last Express, featured a complex real-time mystery aboard an art nouveau rendering of an Orient Express train. The Last Express, released by Brøderbund in 1997, received positive reviews but suffered commercially. As a result, Smoking Car Productions dissolved.
Though no longer programming games, Mechner is involved with the Prince of Persia franchise reboot, as well as the adaptation of his other game titles for mobile platforms. He has written several books, graphic novels, and screenplays.
System of Arrangement
Series I: Early game designs, 1978–1991
Series II: Brøderbund games, 1982–2002
Subseries A: Karateka game production
Subseries B: Prince of Persia game production
Subseries C: Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame game production
Subseries D: Financial documentation
Series III: Smoking Car Productions and The Last Express, 1913–2010
Subseries A: Personnel information
Subseries B: Financial documentation
Subseries C: Agreements and contracts
Subseries D: The Last Express game production
Subseries E: Publicity and marketing materials
Subseries F: Audiovisual and data materials
Series IV: Other games in Prince of Persia franchise, 1993–2007
Series V: Publicity and other projects, 1997–2006
Series VI: Source code and project disks, c. 1984–1997
Series VII: Digital files, 2014-2016
- Brøderbund Software, Inc
- Computer adventure games
- Computer games
- Computer games industry
- Electronic games industry
- Game design and development
- Games -- software
- Karateka (Game)
- Last Express (Game)
- Prince of Persia (Game)
- Prince of Persia II (Game)
- Prince of Persia: Sands of Time (Game)
- Smoking Car Productions, Inc
- Smoking Car Productions, Inc.
- Finding Aid to the Jordan Mechner Papers, 1913-2016
- Julia Novakovic
- 20 October 2016
- Description rules
- Language of description
- 21 October 2014: Added restrictions based on Jordan Mechner signed deed of gift.
- 20 October 2016: Added additional videos accessioned under Object ID 116.6054.
Part of the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play at The Strong Repository
One Manhattan Square
Rochester NY 14607 USA