I write this after an extensive three hour search, digging through the archives of my life I had forgotten existed, rediscovering more about my childhood than I ever expected out of one goal which sadly couldn't be achieved. That goal was a simple one: To find my old 3D movies.
What is a 3D Movie you may ask? These were the films created in Microsoft 3D Movie Maker, a 1995 Microsoft Kids' game I'm sure many of you have played in your times but for those that haven't let me briefly explain it to you.
The name is pretty self explanatory. 3D Movie Maker was a game that allowed you to make movies using a collection of 3D digital actors, props and scenes. Each with their own selection of animations, sound effects, MIDI music and voice acted lines.
The game was incredibly robust, allowing you to add any WAV file into the game, allowing the recording of your own lines or the ability to add any music or sounds at your disposal into your movies.
The game later grew a community of die hard creators online, making some truly impressive stuff taking the game to much further places than the developers could have ever expected, going so far as to create a modded version of the program which allowed people to create their own actors and props to used ingame.
It had been years since I had last played this game but the disk for it sat in my room for all that time, beckoning me to at the very least re-watch my old creations. Today I decided to finally search for them. I found an old family backup hard drive which my dad had the tendency to copy literally everything onto when we had the one family computer all those years ago. “They must be there” I thought but plugging it in only revealed that it had died a long time ago.
I then opted to sift through my dad's current laptop as he also had the tendency to copy everything from the hard drive to any new computer he would come to own. I dug through my old files from the nineties, finding hundreds of creations of my childhood: stories, drawings, school work and websites among many more. I didn't have time to indulge in my nostalgia though, I had a mission.
I eventually found an old website of my creation where I had hosted my 3d Movies to be downloaded for the world to enjoy. Obviously I was proud enough of them at the time to think they were worth flaunting over the internet. Clearly built in half an hour at the most in Frontpage, the design choice of the site definitely set the wrong tone for the content I was hosting.
This led my memory to suddenly regurgitate where I had my dozens of websites hosted as a kid. A little place called 150m.com which offered you a whole 150MB of free space along with a domain name of yourname.150m.com or alternatively yourname.fcpages.com. This in itself being a strange rediscovery for me as I had countless websites there including my own game review website PS2R. The assets of which I was also able to find, the home page featuring a scrolling text promising the latest updates on the release of 'Star Wars: Battlefront II'.
Maybe I was getting close, maybe I would find them here if this web host still even existed. Lo and behold it does, still offering it's poultry amount of web space for a ridiculous price in today's standards. Sadly, due to so long of inactivity they were removed from their space. Swept under the rug to make space for the next generation of kids making websites about their new space consoles and their new space games.
My final lead extinguished, I feel all I can do is write a tribute to the movies me and my brother made. As now this will be the closest thing to a record of them having ever existed.
My brother and I liked to turn each movie we made into a big event. Our films would have both opening and closing credits along with self fabricated out takes going to odd levels where bananas in certain shots would decide to come alive and flee the set of the film to which the actors would jump at the ready shouting “Quickly, the bananas are escaping!” I'm not sure what this world was we had constructed where bananas were slaves to Hollywood desperately on a quest for their freedom, but it added a strange level of continuity between our films.
The movies were also preceded by a plethora of advertisements of our construction. Filled with trailers for our other films, accountancy commercials voiced by a mock Lloyd Grossman to emphasise the true excitement of accounting. And one ripping off the Mace Windu salesman bit from Jedi Starfighter. We unknowingly created an entire world where our movies were made. A strange reflection of ours made up of stupidity and pop culture references, making watching our works so much more of an event than just seeing a movie.
The Pame Gond Trilogy
One of my first movies was Pame Gond. As you might have guessed a Bond movie spoof. At the time I loved Austin Powers perhaps a bit too much as well as Metal Gear. Somehow I made an amalgamation of the two within this feature with a few Simpsons references dotted around also.
The villain of the piece had abducted then Prime Minister Tony Blair and had intended to take his place on the world stage. Pame Gond was the man to rescue him, with a little from a superhero named Fatman.
Fatman had the power of flight as I recall and helped create a running gag in our movies where a character of ours named Billy would always get into unfortunate situations with Fatman, always opting to run away booming “Run Away! He's so Fat and Smelly!”. Billy would eventually go on to star in the most experimental of our movies we ever tried.
The Pame Gond trilogy is a blur for me, the first ended with a scene ripped straight from the Sherry Bobbins episode of the Simpsons with Fatman being atomised by a plane as he flew away, Pame and Mr. Blair looking away, off to the distance.
The second film was full of revelations, the first being Fatman was immortal, being able to reconstruct himself inside the very plane that seemingly destroyed him to take revenge against it's pilot. Then going to the bathroom only for his excrement to fall on a poor and unsuspecting Billy, who reacted with the slightly updated line of “Run Away! It's so Brown and Smelly!”
It also revealed that Tony Blair himself was actually a villain wanting to wipe out life for whatever reason by turning the entire world population homosexual for whatever reason. The film was filled with juvenile homophobias that you would expect from a child of the playground. And perhaps it's for the best that it was lost in the annals of time.
All I remember of the third are two scenes. One ripping off Monkey Island as Pame Gond attempted dig for treasure line for line, caption for caption. The other being a scene where poor Pame is tortured mercilessly by having to listen to Banana Phone on loop for hours on end. Eventually getting to the point where all he can do is awkwardly wiggle back and forth in time to the music.
The Epic Adventure
This was one mostly created by my brother and his friend. A story of a knight and a boxer on an epic adventure to find some sort of Mcguffin. In the end it became a movie of 'Holy Grail' references. Going so far as to have the very same scene of the bridge with the intermission. With us three all humming the tune poorly into one standing microphone.
Upon not finding anything on their quest, forgetting why they went in the first place, the knight and the boxer returned to their home town where they were assigned an antagonist at the very end. A dog with shifty eyes was declared as such by a random passer-by who was soon after struck by a taxi.
A sequel for this was made, where said dog grew in size to a monstrous level and tormented the knight and boxer in their home town.
The Final Film
Our final film still to this today remains untitled. My brother started on 'The Epic Adventure 3'. The knight and boxer declare they are ready for another adventure and hop in a taxi to take them on their journey. I took it upon myself to add a scene in the midst of all this on my brothers behalf.
As the taxi drives off two Billy twins came upon the screen and proceeded to start an argument to end all arguments accompanied by the Turks Theme as a soundtrack.
BILLY: What are you doing here? I told you to leave!
BILLY2: I refused to leave so I came back!
BILLY: How can you come back if you never left? It is physically, gramatically, scientifcally, pychologically IMPOSSIBLE!
The discovery of this scene from my brother and friend prompted them to finish my scene, giving them the greatest fight possible. Involving flying kicks into lamp posts, countless pools of blood, Hulk jumps and evil ambulances.
A Childhood lost
I wrote this mostly in the hope that it would help summon back memories of mine and my brother's works as there is no hope of finding the original movies. Sadly there were countless more movies which are impossible to bring to mind without rewatching them.
If nothing else this can serve as a new record for me. So in a couple of decades time these scarce details I have published can make sure I never forget how crazy my creativity was in my youth and more importantly, how brilliant Microsoft 3D Movie Maker was.
The CD for this game is a solemn sight for me to see now. I could jump on it again and check it out, maybe make something new but I think all I would do is try to recreate the past. Which would just devalue it. For this reason I think it's time for it to leave my possession. Perhaps into the hands of the GB team if they don't have a copy already. Or perhaps for my kids if I ever decide to have any. It has given me all it can in my life and I want it to go somewhere it can make a difference in new life encouraging boundless creativity.
Did you play 3D Movie Maker? Do you still have your movies? If so post them for all to see or tell us about them. I'd love to see more and more of what the world made with this game.
Thank you 3D Movie Maker for the great times, I'm sorry I let our works slip through the cracks into the nether.