The iOS port of classic fighting game Karateka stays true to the 1980s original in terms of the size of the game and the simplicity of the platform, creator Jordan Mechner told Touch Arcade.
Mechner discusses the differences between developing titles thirty years ago compared to the present day. While the original Karateka was released on a 143K floppy disk and designed for the Apple II, a platform with 48K and a 1MHz processor, the iOS release is roughly 1GB in size. According to Mechner: "I wanted to be true to the original Karateka in the size of the game.
"We talked about, before, how there's now a gigabyte of data but, as a playing experience, the original Karateka was a game where you could experience a story from beginning to end in a single play session. Today there are games that give you a story that you can play through in a week. And, especially on mobile, there are a lot of games that are an addiction you can pick up and play anytime, and they just loop forever. I really wanted to try to create a game for the iPhone that, if you had half an hour or 40 mins, you could play through a story — get to the tragic ending or happy ending, and that's a complete experience. And yet, even after you've finished the story and rescued Mariko, you might still want to pick it up later that day and just play it again to try and reach a happier ending."
Mechner calls iOS devices "the right platform" for Karateka. The simplicity of iOS devices makes them accessible to children, a reminder of the roots of Karateka as a game played by kids in the '80s, he explains.
"We were kids when we were playing Apple II games," says Mechner. "I wanted Karateka to be simple enough that former Apple II gamers could enjoy it and also share it with their kids."
Check out our interview with Mechner on the re-imagining of this classic game.