Motionographer Classics: Prince of Persia

We’ve been playing with classic quickies for a while, since not all inspiration has to be the latest and greatest. A couple months ago, Jordan Mechner released his game dev journals, videos, and even original Apple IIe source code from his 1989 gaming classic Prince of Persia. It was one of the first computer games to combine arcade action with realistic animation and cinematic storytelling. The characters were animated using rotoscoped references of Mechner’s brother climbing and leaping around a parking lot.

Watching these videos, there are two things I can’t get out of my head. The first is how visceral the animation still feels through just a few limited pixels. The second is the fun, hands-on nature of the old video tapes. They remind me a lot of my early days in motion graphics where we would often run to the roof to quickly shoot some silhouettes or sloppily shoot some splashes or ink splats with a miniDV camera. These days, most people are probably using a dSLR for run and gun shooting, but I think motion graphics still allows for that kind of tactile experimentation.

For more info, check out The Verge’s article on telling stories in 48 kilobytes or less.

Hat tip to futurestack.