Jordan Mechner, creator of Apple II games Karateka and Prince of Persia, has released a new graphic novel. Replay is “a personal graphic memoir of three generations–interweaving my youth and career making videogames through the 1980s and 90s, my father’s odyssey as a child refugee in Nazi-occupied France, and my grandfather’s experience as a teenage Austrian conscript on the Russian front of World War I,” describes Mechner in his latest monthly email newsletter. More specifically, the book is divided across three years:
- 1914: A teenage romantic heads to the enlistment office when his idyllic life in a Jewish enclave of the Austro-Hungarian Empire is upended by World War I.
- 1938: A seven-year-old refugee begins a desperate odyssey through France, struggling to outrun the rapidly expanding Nazi regime and reunite with his family on the other side of the Atlantic.
- 2015: The creator of a world-famous video game franchise weighs the costs of uprooting his family and moving to France as the cracks in his marriage begin to grow.
The title is evocative of both the book’s themes and Mechner’s own imagination:
I chose the title Replay because it resonates with both the video-game and historical threads of this book. I’ve often had the sensation that in my life, I’m unintentionally or unconsciously echoing past events… “Replay” also evokes my mental habit of rehashing past decisions, as if by doing that I might somehow magically undo the past and obtain a better outcome. Which, of course, is only possible in a video game.Jordan Mechner