True fans of the old-school will get a kick out of the original Prince of Persia animation reference video, now posted on

Today, developers have access to all kinds of high-tech animation tools, including full-blown motion-capture studios that help create fluid, lifelike movement in in-game characters. But such things were the stuff of dreams back in 1990 when Jordan Mechner was busy working on the original Prince of Persia, so he was forced to take a more creative approach to the problem.

Fortunately, some white pajamas, a camcorder and a little brother who was willing to knock himself around a bit in the name of entertainment gave Mechner enough to create the game’s ground-breaking animations through the process of “rotoscoping,” which involves drawing over each frame of a live-action video sequence in order to create realistic animated movement. It may not look like much now, but 18 years ago that kind of smooth, flowing animation was absolutely jaw-dropping.

Old-timers and retro fans who have played Prince of Persia will immediately recognize the Prince’s movements in the young Mechner’s, while those who haven’t will have to make do with a comparison to some video footage of the game’s first level on YouTube. The Prince of Persia “Animation Reference Video” from 1985 can be seen here.

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