Level One: Prince of Persia

List Item: Play 100 of the greatest computer games
Progress: 63/100prince-of-persia-ss1Title: Prince of Persia
Developer: Brøderbund
Platform: Apple II
Year: 1989
Position: #67

In the endless line of discussion of whether or not video games have become over the years one of the many games held up as an example is the original Prince of Persia where the biggest constraint is not the time limit of an hour but just how cruel the levels can be.

The story in Prince of Persia is pretty much your standard fare; princess is kidnapped by the big bad so you go off to rescue her. The 60 minute time limit comes from how long you have before your princess is married off against her will and… nuptials commence. However, before you get to her you have to pass through a number of rickety levels (the number of sharp edges and ledges that collapse the moment you step on them makes you wonder who the Grand Vizier used as a contractor), fight numerous enemies and even combat an evil mirror-version of yourself.

Like all addictive games the joy lies in the fact that this is by no means an impossible game. A lot of the level completion relies on rote learning where the traps are and just when you need to stop pressing the ‘run button’ before you skid off of the edge onto some random spikes (it’s that contractor again). There is also quite a bit of level mapping that needs to be done so you need to know which switch opens which door and which potion left on the floor will kill you.

The thing that is really impressive in this game is the animation. If you ever played The Last Express you will know just how much rotoscoped animation can add to the game. In 1989 this was the most human-like animation you would have been able to find in a platformer… which is thanks to the developer’s brother who acted as a model for all the movements of the main character. It just makes the actions feel a little bit more believable and engaging since the, at some times clumsy, movements are ones you are able to relate to.

On the whole it is an addictive platform game that is very much possible to complete… just take a long time.

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