A Journey Through the Apple II Universe
In a surprising revelation for Apple II enthusiasts, a long-lost gem of the Take-1 animation system has emerged from the depths of time. “Star Voyagers 3000,” a high-action movie spanning an impressive 10 Apple II disk package, comes to us from the creative mind of Eric Iwasaki. With its release, Iwasaki takes us back to his formative years as a game developer, when Take-1 became a catalyst for his passion for computer graphics, animation, and storytelling. The movie was initially teased during the release of the trailer in 2020, yet the release of the actual movie was delayed until the Take-1 website could be updated.
This update finally took place in June and July of 2023 allowing us the time to not only dig up the archives, but also delve into the story behind this remarkable creation and its significance in Iwasaki’s journey.
The Genesis of Star Voyagers 3000
Eric Iwasaki initially stumbled upon the Take-1 Movie Site, curated by Bill Martens of A.P.P.L.E., at a serendipitous moment. Having recently completed three decades as a game developer in the interactive entertainment industry, he couldn’t help but reminisce about how his Take-1 creations played a crucial role in launching his career. This career has taken Iwasaki from little known animation fan to full on professional game developer.
Star Voyagers 3000, in particular, holds a special place in his heart, tracing its origins back to his middle school years. The movie is also the only known animated movie which goes miles past all of the other efforts from the Apple II Take-1 community. The 10 disks bring a lot of materials to the table for Take-1 enthusiasts and Eric’s modification of the original 50 minute plus run of the 10-disk movie has been just released as a full episodic type movie on YouTube. For more on this, check out the Downloads section of this article.
When asked initially in 2020 about the possibility of recording the movie on actual video, Eric had this to say:
I have not attempted to capture it as a digital video yet, but had planned to do so to get it on to YouTube at some point. Had some friends who wanted to see it again and didn’t want to bother with emulation.
My problem is I still remember how things looked when I originally created the graphics on actual hardware viewed on CRT monitors. I’ve wanted to author my own CRT emulation shaders in the past to get things closer to how I remember things looking (not just Apple 2 stuff, but PCjr graphics… which was my home PC during that era) so I can render these things more authentically when viewed full screen on an HD LCD panel, but haven’t actually attempted to do so. I would want them to look that way when I share a YouTube version.
Back in the day, I recorded all of my Take-1 movies on VHS… and that gave them another look. I probably have those tapes somewhere, but have no idea if they are still watchable. When I recorded Star Voyagers 3000, I actually added a theme song I wrote… played on my Casio HT700 synthesizer keyboard. I recorded that version directly on to the tape as the movie played on an Apple //c. In the 1990s, I made a more orchestral sounding version of the theme on better quality synthesizers, but didn’t bother timing it to match the length of my Take-1 movie’s opening.Email from Eric Iwasaki accompanying the Star Voyagers 3000 Movie
Obviously, many of the issues which existed at the time, no longer cause any concern and this is particularly true with current recording capabilities of some Apple II emulators that allow them to directly record to MPEG or QuickTime formats.
Take 1: A Creative Outlet And Production
When Baudville released the Take-1 Animation Package, it provided Iwasaki with a unique creative outlet, enabling him to explore his passion for pixel-pushing, animation, and storytelling. While others focused on programming visuals, Iwasaki found himself more captivated by the artistry and narratives that Take-1 facilitated. His creation of Computron Productions gave the movie a real world look and feel with its introduction, in spite of being limited due to the 8-bit nature of the graphics themselves.
As a result of his efforts, Iwasaki assembled an impressive portfolio of clips, screens, and one-line plot summaries, which he later shared when applying to prestigious institutions like the University of Southern California’s School of Cinema-Television and when interviewing for his first job.
The Journey Continues
Iwasaki’s experience with Take-1 bore unexpected fruits. During a phone interview with Naughty Dog’s co-founder, Jason Rubin, Iwasaki discovered a shared history. Rubin and his partner, Andy Gavin, had created their first game, “Ski Crazed,” for Baudville using the Take-1 Programmer’s Toolkit. This realization may have helped him secure a spot on the team that has since become the gold standard for cinematic storytelling in the gaming industry.
Armed with his creative talents and passion for visual storytelling, Iwasaki spent the next 13 years as an artist at Naughty Dog, contributing to the success of several iconic video game franchises. The irony lies in the fact that Iwasaki never owned an Apple II, relying instead on the generosity of his friends’ parents, who lent him time on their computers during his high school years. This act of kindness laid the foundation for Iwasaki’s extraordinary journey and allowed him to cultivate his skills using Take-1.
Star Voyagers 3000: A Personal Project
While paying homage to classics like Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, and Robotech, “Star Voyagers 3000” stands as Iwasaki’s most original and ambitious personal project from his high school years. Unlike many of his early Take-1 movies, Iwasaki took full creative control, meticulously crafting the art and animation for the entire production.
With the release of the trailer, Iwasaki provided viewers with a tantalizing glimpse into the world he painstakingly brought to life. The glimpse now becomes a full on wide view of the project with all of the disk images being provided to the public for free exclusively through the Take-1 Movie Library.
Preserving Take-1 Artifacts
The availability and quality of software emulation and Iwasaki’s foresight to digitize his original floppy disks have made it possible for him to share his Take-1 efforts with a wider audience. This effort is perhaps one of the most extensive Take-1 movie productions ever undertaken.
While Star Voyagers 3000 was initially not intended for public consumption, these early works bear witness to the true capabilities of the Take-1 Animation Package as well as to Iwasaki’s artistic growth and dedication.
However, as with any archival project that contains material from yesteryear, certain edits and redactions were necessary to protect the privacy of iwasaki’s school friends and classmates mentioned in the original credits.
The release of “Star Voyagers 3000” for the Apple II-based Take-1 Animation System marks a significant milestone in the personal and professional journey of Eric Iwasaki. Through this project, Iwasaki celebrates the formative years that shaped his passion for computer graphics, animation, and storytelling. It also demonstrates the capabilities of the Take-1 product and what is a glowing example of the movies that could have been produced on the system.
As we witness the resurrection of this long-lost gem, we are once again reminded of the transformative power of creativity and the role that early tools like Take-1 played in shaping the careers of some very talented individuals. Star Voyagers 3000 serves as a testament to the enduring legacy of the Apple II and the creative spirit it fostered within a generation of innovators.
To experience the essence of “Star Voyagers 3000,” the trailer can be downloaded at:
To view the entire Star Voyagers 3000 movie, download the 10-Disk image zip file from the Take-1 Movie Library at:
If you would like to watch the entire movie in its full video form, it is available for viewing on Youtube at: