Take 1
"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.

There are 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 Net).

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.

THE 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 (?????)
CODE: 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 exciting.
KARATEKA 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 sword.
KARATEKA 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.
TALE 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 minute.
THE 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. Rats!
AIRWOLF: 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?
AS 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 one.
FRIDAY 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 wouldn't be....
THE 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 drunk.
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.

Are there any Take 1 films that are still "must-see"? Actually, yes.
There are two very impressive ones that still hold up today, and now you can watch them if you so please...

BEYOND BEYOND 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.