Karateka (Apple II) – Video Game Years 1984

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A look at Karateka, the fighting game released on computers in 1984.
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Background music track: zircon – Origami Forest (zirconmusic.com)
Karateka is a 1984 martial arts action game by Jordan Mechner, and was his first published game, created while attending Yale University. It was originally programmed for the Apple II, then widely ported. The game was published in North America by Brøderbund, and in Europe by Ariolasoft. Along with Karate Champ (1984) and Yie-Ar Kung Fu (1985), Karateka established the basis of the modern fighting game.


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  1. This game looked great for its time, but, boy, did it play like garbage. So many 'fuck you' moments! Make a step back at the start of the game – dead. Don't switch into combat stance fast enough – dead. Don't know about the gate that falls on your head – dead. Forgot about the bird – dead. Forget to switch out of combat stance right before rescuing princess – dead.

  2. Loved this game. The Apple II+ was the first computer I had growing up and l had a copy of this and played the crap out of it. Took me forever to figure out how to get past the gate in the second level, and not to rush through any of the exits. Definitely had a lot of cheep moments in the game but at that time that was kind of the norm anyway

  3. Ian…cmon man you're trying too hard to look like you dont care. A saying comes to mind "When your out seeing the world, the world sees you" Make the effort

  4. As I recall, this was one of the few Commodore 64 games where you had to use the keyboard instead of a joystick and the gameplay was pretty solid and responsive.

    So in addition to being a phenomenal game, it also stood out from a lot of the other keyboard-based games in that respect.

  5. Loved this game. Mind blown by how Americans say Karateka(i live in Scandinavia). I have never heard anyone pronounce it that way before this video.

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