Nearly 30 years ago, Jordan Mechner – the man who went on to create Prince of Persia – received a fan letter in response to his earlier work, one-on-one fighter Karateka. The author praised Mechner’s graphics (particularly the scrolling background), and mentioned that he was a budding programmer who wanted to grow up to create games.
The young letter writer was John Romero, who did indeed grow up and create games, helping to popularise the FPS genre while he was at it.
The letter, printed in full by Kotaku, is printed on what can only be a classic dot matrix printer (with a stunning letterhead).
“You did a tremendous job,” gushes Romero. “…and have, I think, defined the state-of-the-art for future Apple games. The technology has been in the Apple all along to do those graphics, it just needed a programmer like you to use it.”
The letter – dated March 25th, 1985 – provides an interesting context to a presentation scheduled for next week’s GDC: Romero and Mechner will share a stage, along with Canabalt creator Adam Saltsman, Epic Games head honcho Tim Sweeney and Minecraft icon Marcus ‘Notch’ Persson, to chat about “The Return of Indie Development”.