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Classic action game Karateka is being turned into a playable documentary


Last year, Digital Eclipse released Atari 50, a sprawling, interactive tour through Atari’s long history. I described it as “a cross between an interactive documentary and a virtual museum exhibition,” and it really set a new bar for retro game collections. Now, the studio is tackling another project: Karateka, the game Jordan Mechner made before the iconic Prince of Persia.

Called The Making of Karateka, the new project sounds much like Atari 50, only focused on a specific game. It includes “pixel-perfect versions” of the original Karateka releases and early prototypes you can actually play, along with a host of design documents and documentary-style video features. There’s even a brand-new remastered version of the action game. “What they’ve built around my 1984 kicking-punching debut is so much more than a game remaster, I’m still trying to wrap my mind around it,” Mechner wrote on his personal blog.

The studio also says that the game is just the first in a new collection it’s calling the “Gold Master Series.” Basically, the idea is to give a number of influential games the Atari 50 treatment.

“The Gold Master Series is something we’ve been planning for a long time here at Digital Eclipse – independently-produced projects that celebrate key designers, studios, and games that changed the world,” Digital Eclipse’s Chris Kohler wrote in a post announcing the series. “Our mission is to elevate these games, presenting them in their best possible light while putting them in their proper historical context, an approach we’ve dubbed the ‘interactive documentary.’”

Given how impactful Karateka was for action games, it’s a great place to start. The Making of Karateka doesn’t currently have a release date, but it’s slated to launch this year on Xbox, PlayStation, PC, and the Nintendo Switch.


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