"I love amateur video, and your video is the most amateur
I've ever seen."
By now you
must be familiar with Flash, correct? The software plugin for
today's modern PCs that, since the late 90's, has allowed anyone
to make their own animated films without access to ink, paint or
celluloid. It's also allowed advertisers to get as loud and
annoying as possible within a meager size limit.
thousands of Flash movies floating around now, and communities of
Flash animators. But did you know it was also possible to make an
animated film on the Apple II, and that there was another online
community devoted to THAT?
It was doable
thanks to Take 1, a piece of ingenious software released by
Baudway Inc. in 1984. Take 1 let you create backgrounds, overlays
and text in several fonts, then shoot it one frame at a time. The
program also let you rip sprites and backgrounds from Apple video
games if your drawing skills were lacking. You could now easily
create scenes that would take months of programming otherwise,
and even better yet share them via BBS (Bulletin Board
System...boards were one of the earliest communication forms on
The Take 1
community resembled the Flash community in many ways, including
the fact that most of their films were garbage. There are at
least twenty Take 1 films still in existence today, but you
probably don't have time to watch them all. For your convenience,
and because I hate myself, I shall now review every single
available Take 1 movie on the Net.
TERMINATOR: You might be expecting Ahnold, or at least
Kristina Lokken (I know I misspelled that), but
you get some clown wearing The Riddler's tights who
spends the next four minutes shooting everything and then
ten seconds having his way with Sarah Connor (?????)
RED AND CODE: BLUE: I can't tell which of them came
first, but they're about a guy with his own secret
hideout and super souped-up jet plane who gets calls from
the government and heads off to battle terrorists.
Excessive attention is paid to the parts where he is
running up a flight of stairs, using an elevator, or
running down a hallway. In a sense it's like 24, only it
follows only one man in real-time and is one-eighth as
II: THE WRATH OF DUDE: Animated sequel to the Apple video
game Karateka that plays out much like the video game
did, only a hundred times as violent. The original game
had a surprise ending in which the hero rescued the
princess and was then karate-kicked in the stomach by
her. This time, she tries it again but is impaled by his
III: THE LEGEND OF THE PRINCESS: Karateka II got a lot of
attention, so Karateka III was made, and the series
promptly fell into the gutter. Now the impaled princess's
sister wants revenge against Karateka, but on her way to
getting it she is kidnapped by a team of scientists and
taken to a lab, where they conduct an experiment that
involves a probe which....well, from there it gets pretty
blue. And disturbing.
OF A HACKER: A real snapshot of 80's computer culture,
Tale of a Hacker tells the story of Smedley Dorhorse, a
nerd who discovers phreaking and is investigated by MCI.
(You actually had to pay long-distance for accessing a
BBS out of state, unless you hacked around that. Which
many did.) This one isn't too bad, except for a part
where Smedley walks down a street for longer than a
A-TEAM: This plays out....pretty much like a five-minute
episode of The A-Team. There's no satire or Mr. T jokes
anywhere in it...the one who made it was a genuine fan.
This one's worse than the A-Team one is. Hawk flies
Airwolf out to the Bermuda Triangle to investigate the
disappearance of a ship, but is blinded by a sudden
hurricane, sucked down a tube and captured inside a
secret underground city run by aliens and giant spiders
with six legs. Not only that, it's three floppies long,
and disk #2 ends with a spider cornering Hawk and biting
his head off. When disk #3 begins, it's a different scene
and Hawk is all right. Huh?
THE WORLD CHURNS: Very cheap and amateurish cartoon that
consists of only drawings of heads. There's no real plot
because the only goal was to make the characters say
offensive things over and over. The ending promises
eleven more chapters; thank goodness there was only this
THE 13th PART SIX: JASON AND THE NINJA: I take it this
was made before there was an actual part six. Basically,
a bunch of clueless teens go to a summer camp, then pair
off and split up, and Jason kills them all...only this
time, there's a ninja involved. You'd be better off
watching an actual Jason movie. No, actually, you
MANHATTEN (sic) PROJECT: Some guy must have uploaded his
class history project; either that or he was an even
bigger nerd than the others. It's just the tale of the
project to create the atom bomb, nothing more or less
besides a few pictures. And there's poetry:
||QUEST FOR THE HOLY
ELIXER (sic, again): Very short and simple animation
where four warriors of various D&D occupations like
"Mage" search for the title prize. It's played
plain and serious until they reach the end and find the
person they were getting it for had died. "That
sucks!" says one of them, and then they all get
|MIAMI VICE: Noooo,
not more cheesy 80's TV show adaptions! Like the others,
this plays it straight as an actual episode, only
Crockett and Tubbs shoot at least five defenseless bad
guys in cold blood, and Tubbs drives a forklift over
twenty more. They should know better than that...
||ROBOTECH: What's a
gaggle of 80's nerds without their Robotech? This plays
out as a sequel taking place after the end of the series,
but ends with the SDF-1 shot down and hurtling towards
the Earth. You're then instructed to insert Disk 2, but
Mr. Skull Leader must have forgotten to upload that one.
|DAKOTA SMITH AND
THE TEMPLE OF GLOOM: It's obvious what this is aping, but
it does it well. Due to the small sprite sizes, it's
fairly long for one disk, but Smith's stunts are well
choreographed and never dull.
||FILMS WHERE A
MACHO GUY INFILTRATES A TERRORIST BASE, KILLS EVERYTHING
AND SAVES THE WORLD: There are a ton of these and they're
all the same, so I'm grouping them all together.
Multi-episode series like "The Sniper,"
"Jake Cutter" and "Panther Battles"
are all similar and borrow heavily from Rambo. And
speaking of which, there IS a Take 1 "Rambo"
film as well.
any Take 1 films that are still "must-see"? Actually,
There are two very impressive ones that still hold up today, and
now you can watch them if you so please...
CASTLE WOLFENSTEIN: Based on the famous Apple title
"Beyond Castle Wolfenstein" but truly does go
beyond that. This film gets better and better as each
minute passes, and it's worth the long load time.
||MARBLES: This one
was one of the winners in Baudway's Take 1 film contest,
and it certainly deserved it. It's only two minutes long,
but it's quality over quality, and animation of this
quality on the Apple II was very rare.
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