Upon reflection, one of the many things I enjoyed about the IIGS back in 1987 as an impressionable 11 year old was not having one. That's right - the wait itself, although painful at the time, was made thrilling knowing this was the computer we were going to get after visiting the local Apple Centre and seeing various ‘multimedia' examples of what the machine was capable of.
When I say multimedia, I don't mean the ‘Demo Scene'. Although, of course, I wet my pants when I saw the FTA's Nucleus Demo in 1989 and subsequent FTA productions resulted in similarly soaked responses. Nor do I mean stacks made with Hyperstudio or Hypercard, which were also yet to come.
No, I mean early encounters with the IIGS Sales Demo, seeing Paintworks Plus in use and then printing digitised imagery that was then proudly stuck to the wall behind the IIGS on display or Music Contruction Set playing some tunes with those sexy matching Bose Roommate speakers.
And also: Fantavision. Even if I only saw screen grabs of this program in Broderbund catalogues, I was excited by this program's ability to create animation with graphics equal to what I was playing in arcades at the time.
It wouldn't be until 1992 that I got a copy of Fantavision (a very cheap teachers edition with 5 disk based copies of the program) and despite loving what the program was capable of, I didn't find the interface as intuitive as I wanted to creating animation myself.
Which is probably all the more reason I'm overjoyed by fellow Australian Wade Clarke's work as one- man music outfit ‘Aeriae'. Wade has created a four and a half minute animation predominantly created with the 8-bit Apple II version of Fantavision as a video clip to accompany his track ‘AMay'. The clip deals with growing up, school, work and death and I relate to my own childhood more through the polygonal characters using the standard hi-res colour palette than most other music clips exploring similar themes. This is exactly the kind of epic work that actually lived up to my expectations, set by those early multimedia encounters, of what I hoped could be done with an Apple IIGS.
The complexity of the clip must certainly be the largest and most complex animation ever seen in the 8-bit version of Fantavision and that's a feat in itself. The way it's been cut with Final Cut Pro and synced to the music...I simply love it. I hope to see more of this kind of work, where creative professionals today turn back to the computers of their childhood to power their creative output. Wade's even included an overview as to how he spent over four months creating the clip on his own.
Hopefully the buck won't stop with creative video based works either. With chip tunes becoming de rigor in electronic music circles, I'm hoping one day to hear the wave table synthesis of the Ensoniq sequenced on a IIGS and heard among the likes of the C64's distinctive SID chip as well as the Gameboy's idiosyncratic tones.