karateka cover artAlmost three years ago, Jordan Mechner and I set out to make a new version of his amazing 1984 videogame Karateka, which I’d played endlessly one summer on the Atari 800.

Rather than going to a publisher, we decided to make the game ourselves. We raised money. We hired artists and coders. We sweated a lot of details, from story points to footfall sounds.

Today, we shipped. Karateka is now available on the Xbox, with a free trial download.

If you have an Xbox, stop reading and start punching.

If you have a PS3, a PC, a Mac or an iOS device, your version is coming soon. So sit tight.

Even if you don’t normally play fighting games, I think you’ll enjoy it. The combat rewards precision rather than button-smashing, and Jordan’s multiple-protagonist mechanic makes it easy to survive but hard to triumph. I think you’re going to see other games adopting this idea.

Plus, Karateka looks and sounds terrific. Christopher Tin’s music isn’t just frosting on top — it’s integral to the gameplay in a unique way.

I was so happy with how the game was coming together that last March I went to Adam Lisagor and asked (well, begged) him to make a video for us.

That debuted today as well:

(There’s a director’s cut available too.)

I’ll have more to blog about as we discover how the game fares in the wild, but it’s been an amazing process to get to this point.

I’ve made movies and I’ve made apps, but making a videogame was another beast altogether. Jordan deserves all the accolades, yet I’m sure he’d agreee that it wouldn’t have been possible without his remarkable team at Liquid. I also need to single out Jeff Matsuda for creating the look of the world with his concept art, and Ryan Nelson for building countless iterations of product artwork in every conceivable specification.

It’s hard to believe it’s finally in the store. Check it out, and as always, ask questions.