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Prince of Persia author releases 1980s source code

Lucky find a glimpse into game history

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Retro games fans will be heading over to Github, where Jordan Mechner has posted the source code to his original classic, Prince of Persia.

The posting follows the discovery in March of the original software in “a carton at the back of a closet”, as Mechner explains in this blog post. To recover the data, Mechner called on the assistance of archivist Jason Scott, who among other things is an adjunct archivist for the Internet Archive.

Mechner says the task of extracting the source code from 3.5-inch floppies 22 years old “took most of a long day and night”. The Github archive contains the original 6502 assembly language source code, with some supporting documentation written back in 1989 to help port the game to platforms like Amiga, Sega and the PC.

While interested parties are encouraged to look at – and play with – the code, Mechner emphasizes that Prince of Persia is an ongoing Ubisoft franchise: “Ubisoft alone has the right to make and distribute Prince of Persia games”, he writes.

The archival challenge is described in detail by Jason Scott here. ®

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