Fun & Serious, the largest video-game festival in Europe, which will be staging its seventh edition from 8 to 11 December, has announced another of the Honorary Awards it shall be presenting this year. Jordan Mechner, the American creator of one of the most famous sagas in the industry, “Prince of Persia,” will be recognized for his talent, narrative ability and innovative vision, all crucial aspects regarding the development of the gaming universe since the 1980’s.
Starting with the earliest titles he developed for Apple II while studying Psychology at Yale, ”Karateka”, and ”Prince of Persia”, Mechner radically transformed the narrative of the game by combining arcade action with realistic animation and storytelling typical of the cinema for the first time.
But Mechner was not only a key influence in the development of the action and adventure genre, but a hard-working technical innovator, responsible for the first rotoscope patent, for “The Last Express,” the most acclaimed video game in its adventure saga, which Mechner created as an independent developer with Smoking Car Productions, the production company that he founded in the 1990’s.
PRINCE OF PERSIA
Mechner’s name is inextricably linked with the success of “Prince of Persia.” With its five titles, ”Prince of Persia” is one of the most widely known and successful franchises in video-game history, a revolutionary platform game that, at its launch in 1989, offered the player a variety of fluid-action games that had never been seen before. The main character, who had to overcome the obstacles of his twelve levels in less than 60 minutes, and eliminate opponents with his cutlass, could not only run and jump, but also walk on tiptoe, climb down cornices or crawl … with unusually realistic movements, thanks to hours and hours of filming and meticulous study on Mechner’s part, who recorded his brother performing the prince’s movements again and again.
In 2003, Mechner joined Ubisoft in order to relaunch the saga, with great success. ”Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time,” not only sold more than 20 million copies and won 8 prizes at the Interactive Achievement Awards, but also attracted the attention of Disney, who produced his film adaptation in 2010, with Jake Gyllenhaal and Gemma Artenton as stars. Mechner became the first video game developer to convey and adapt his work to the big screen as a scriptwriter. Today, LEGO constructions, toys and graphic novels complete the memorabilia that revolves around this legendary title.
The traditional Fun & Serious Awards Gala, staged each year at the Guggenheim Museum, not only recognizes Mechner’s huge creative contribution, but his vision as a multi-faceted author. Jordan Mechner is also a scriptwriter, producer and cinema director, as well as an award-winning documentary filmmaker (”Chavez Ravine: A Los Angeles Story” received an IDA Award in 2003). He is also the author of the graphic novel “Templars,” which was nominated for the prestigious Eisner Awards.
Fun & Serious Festival Director, Alfonso Gómez, has declared: “To be able to recognize the talent of the creator of “Prince of Persia,” one of the most addictive, memorable and thrilling games in history, is a source of considerable pride for Fun & Serious; it will be a luxury for the Festival’s participants to be able to chat and debate with him. Mechner’s presence in Bilbao, strengthens the role of the festival, a must-attend event and a worldwide point of reference for any amateur or professional in the video game industry”.
In addition to traveling to Bilbao to collect his Honorary Award, Jordan Mechner will participate in the VIT Talks – expert talks about video games, innovation and trends that take place within the framework of the Festival.
The Festival’s organizers have already announced another of the key figures who will be presented with an Honorary Award, John Romero (“Quake,” “Doom,” “Wolfenstein”).
Over the last seven years, the Fun & Serious Festival has become a key meeting forum for the industry, based on the aim of raising video-game creation to the status of an “art form,” much like the realms of film and music. In this respect, it seeks to recognize the importance of an industry that expects to generate some 4.6 billion dollars in profits during the year 2017, reaching an audience of more than 665 million users.
BILBAO | Guggenheim Bilbao Museum, Palace of Euskalduna and Bilbao City Hall
From 8 to 11 December 2017
About the Fun & Serious Game Festival
The Fun & Serious Game Festival, to be held from 8 to 10 December in Bilbao, is the largest video-game festival in Europe and a key meeting-point for the industry as a whole. Last year, more than 25,000 people attended the different activities at the festival in Bilbao.
The event’s mission is to recognize and promote the work of video-game producers, directors, artists and developers, based on a comprehensive program of conferences, roundtables, networking and activities, aimed at both companies and the general public. As is customary each year, the Festival will conclude with an exclusive Grand Prize-Winning Gala for the best video-games of the year.
The Fun & Serious Game Festival enjoys the support of the Basque Regional Government – SPRI, Bilbao City Hall and the Provincial Council of Biscay. Sponsored by BBVA and El Correo. The event’s strategic partners include Microsoft, PlayStation and Ubisoft. The Festival features the collaboration of the Spanish Video-Games Association (AEVI), UTAD, Virtualware and Digipen.