LGR – Awesome Animated Monster Maker

LGR – Awesome Animated Monster Maker


Greetings and today we’ve got a neat little
program that I recently got in a box of goodies. Awesome Animated Monster Maker, developed
by the ImaginEngine Corporation and released in 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Interactive for
Macintosh and Windows PCs. My interest was piqued as soon as I unboxed
this in my October 2018 donations video, and judging by the comments I got about it a fair
number of you were as well. While I don’t have any memories of playing
this as a youngin, it sure seems like the kind of thing I might’ve enjoyed. I mean just look at that cover art, I would’ve
been all over this when I was 7 or 8 years old. This program was one of the first pieces of
software from HMI’s CreActive series in the mid ‘90s. A main selling point was that it included
both enjoyable software for young children, as well as some additional real world activities
so that kids wouldn’t be sitting in front of a computer all day. So it wasn’t quite classified as edutainment,
but it went out of its way to make a point that kids could indeed still learn something
from it. Potentially, maybe, eh they tried. Later entries in the Monster Maker series
were more blatantly educational, but this one really is just an activity center. And it turns out that a sealed, original big
box copy like this is pretty darn rare so thanks again to Chris and Karen for the donation
and the opportunity to crack it open and enjoy the complete package like it’s 1995. Straight away inside you get the A2M2 Activity
Book, one of the biggest selling points if the box’s marketing copy is to be believed. Fun! Games! Puzzles! Tricks and tips! Even monstrous recipes and coloring book pages. Yep, it’s a book of kids activities all
right, very much reminding me of those booklets found in supermarket checkout lines purchased
by flustered parents as a last ditch effort to get little Billy to calm the heck down
during the final leg of a longer than anticipated road trip to visit Aunt Gretchen in Rhode
Island. Next up is a brief pamphlet detailing more
of Houghton Mifflin’s interactive computer software thingymajigs, as well as a software
registration card for registering the software with a card. And finally there’s the jewel case holding
both the software on CD-ROM and a small instruction manual. The latter isn’t much to look at, mostly
talking about how to install and troubleshoot the thing, along with a grand total of three
pages describing the product itself. Which is fine, because once you get Awesome
Animated Monster Maker installed you get a debatably awesome non-animated monster maker
tutorial walkin’ ya through the whole thing. -”Monster Maker lets you make a zillion
different monsters!” -”Click on the platforms to see new monster
parts.” -“Stick the parts together in the Monster
Chamber to build the monster of your dreams!” At any time you can jump into the main program
where you’ll be greeted by Doctor Lizardlips: a reptilian mad scientist in charge of the
Main Lab. -”Now YOU start dragging monster parts to the body!” Well, the player’s the one in charge, while
the doc stands there remarking on your work while occasionally pulling on a rubber ducky
at your behest. But yeah, the whole idea of this is to go
about monster-making with animated awesomeness, accomplished by clicking, dragging, and dropping
any of the parts on-screen. You get arms, legs, torsos, eyeballs, fuzzy
bits, and even brains to adjust the traits and voice of your monster. Everything attaches to everything else, kinda
like the game Spore but a good thirteen years earlier. There are also squeezable color pickles to
mix up your creation’s aesthetic, either all at once or part by part. And finally, there’s a piece of Luggage
called Rubbage that will delete your monster, and an angry gray blob with a monocle known
as the Exit Bug who will take you away from the current room. -”EXIT!” [foyer music plays, monsters sounding off] Speaking of rooms there are six more of them
after the Main Lab, all of which are selected through the Foyer. We’ll start with the Sewer Show hosted by
Slippo and Mergatroid. [monsters make music] This is a room dedicated
to song and dance, with no real goal except to mess around and have fun. Truthfully that’s the goal of the entire
program: screwing around and seeing what happens. In this case it comes down to clicking on
the instrument monsters and pressing various keyboard keys to make your own monster join
in the cacophony. [monstrous musical cacophony] Next we’ll
head to Kelpy’s Undersea World, a watery realm that provides access to all kinds of
accessories for your monster. It’s also a good example of A2M2’s randomly-generated
dialogue. -”Monster, do you ever tickle a porpoise
with electric eel earwax?” -”When pigs fly!” There are a preset number of recordings of
course, but for every quote unquote “conversation” you have, the outcome will be randomly determined
from a library of lines. This ends up feeling like a game of Mad Libs
playing itself in front of you, it’s weird stuff but it works. Next we’ll hit up the Personality Parlor,
a room with a monstrous pipe organ and an array of cuckoo clocks that alter your monster’s
mind. Again it’s just about having fun with what
the program has on offer, so if you want an angry monster that’s continually quoting
classic English literature or whatever, this is the place to do it. -”Woe unto me!” Up next is Diaper Dan’s Squash Court, the
obligatory gross room. This is a mid-1990s kids activity center,
after all. Dan is a big baby wearing a metallic diaper
wielding a giant magnet that attracts garbage, which he smashes into dustballs using his
metal-clad diaper butt. [gratuitous poop noise] Again, mid-90s kids
software, just roll with it. The point of this area is to create new monster
parts, accomplished by clicking each of the dustball faucets until you get the number
of the part you want. Then clicking the zapper will turn the dust
into the associated part. Yeah you’re constantly getting new pieces
to adhere to your monster, so by the end of your experience your creation looks like a
Nickelodeon cubist painting. And the final activity is contained within
Spaghetti and Meatball’s Kitchen, a cookhouse run by a pile of living noodles and an irritable
impaled ball of meat. -”Monster, I heard your mom likes to feed
to lobster lice sprinkled with dog dust!” -”Did your mom ever feed you that?” So the idea here is that every letter of the
alphabet has a corresponding ingredient in the kitchen, which you can find by either
clicking its location or typing on the keyboard. And if you enjoy all kinds of ample alliterative
awesomeness then this is where it’s at. -”Snore of a slimy sea slug!” -”Half the hair from a happily howling hyena
head out of a hole.” Spelling out words results in recipes, creating
further possibilities for monster customization. Not every combination works though, so, sorry:
no LGR easter eggs here. Once you’ve reached a self-directed conclusion
to the making of your awesome animated monster, you can bring them over into the Photo Studio. Here your monster’s mug is captured for
posterity to be displayed in the Rogues Gallery, in either full color or line drawing form,
each suitable for printing. And at this point the only thing left to do
is to actually print the thing out and enjoy the uniquely-shaped fruits of your labor on
a piece of paper. Neat! And that is Awesome Animated Monster Maker,
a delightful creativity and curiosity-driven experience that really is a fun time for people
of all ages, exactly like the box art promised. It’s not likely to keep you occupied for
more than ten minutes, at least if you’re someone in their 30s farting around to make
a YouTube video that only loosely ties into Halloween. But if I put myself in the sticky shoes of
a seven year old in 1995, this program would’ve been more awesome than a handful of soon-to-be-discontinued
PB Crisps. Okay maybe not that awesome but still pretty
friggin rad. I was enamored by pretty much any kind of
animated CD-ROM activity center at that age and the absurdity of this one would’ve absolutely
been my jam, so I’m a tad envious of you LGR viewers that got to play around with this
when it was new. Even if it’s not as involved as the later
Ultra Edition of the program, which included a bunch of improvements and even some games
to play. At the very least though, the original Awesome
Animated Monster Maker is something that still brought a smile to my face and a chuckle to
my chuckle-maker over two decades later, and for that I am grateful. [continued monster music]
-”EXIT!” And if you found yourself grateful for this
video, then wow, that’s quite the compliment. In that case hand over all your free time
by watching these other videos I’ve made! Or simply peruse at your own leisure, that
works too. Either way though, thank you for watching
LGR!

Only registered users can comment.

  1. Hello do you know about the acorn archimedes a3000 computer???? The 1989 video Fred Harris on had sound in the lander game but on today's program disc there is no sound in lander any ideas why maybe this is????

  2. For those interested in another blast from the past, may I introduce you to The Hacker from Jones Computer Network. I was able to find two episodes from 1993 on Archive.org.
    https://archive.org/details/jcnthehacker

  3. Thanks for another great video dude! Whenever i'm gone for a while I look forward to seeing what awesome content you've found!

  4. Hey clint, could you do an episode on software registration? I don't understand why it was so pushed back in the day, like here with these registration cards. Why did companies need this? Was there any benefit for the user for registering their software? What percentage of people actually bothered to register?

  5. 1:00 BECAUSE COMPUTERS ROT YOUR BRAIN.

    Jeez, I had to put that at x0.25 speed and still frantically pause/unpause to catch that.

  6. Growing up, my favorite activity center was that one with franklin the turtle. The teachers at school would take us to the computer lab and we would spend the whole class dressing him up.

  7. I remember having some software thing that let me choose the background and objects. It was packaged with a Dell that also came with POD and Encarta Encyclopedia, but I can't for the life of me remember what it was called. But I remember spending a few hours trying to make shapes with the objects and pretending they would fight each other.

    Is there a list somewhere for all the packaged software for those kind of things that I can explore my past again?

  8. Please keep the "Exit" sound for other episodes. I still miss the old practice mooooode, but we don't really have any games having them anymore.

  9. When I was a kid my friend had a game where you could make monsters. Literally the ONLY thing I remember about it was one of the monsters you could make was a one eyed lobster named either Cyclobster or Cyclopster, and I have spent about 20 years trying to remember what it was and find it. I thought maybe this was it, but I'm not sure if it was. However, maybe another game in this series is the game I seek. Either way, thank you LGR. You've put me closer to my goal than ever before.

  10. Great review as always.
    I want to find a game from the 90s and I hooe someone here can help me. I don’t actuknow the name but it was n Mr. Potatohead game where you play as his daughter and need to rescue him. Can anyone help?

  11. It has a very special graphical style to it that was very in vogue back in the mid 90s. The synth-guitar in the seewer scene is that famous Roland guitar patch, found in almost every Roland sound module from that era

  12. Thank you for reviewing this! I still remember my mom getting this for me at our local Ross and playing it all the time in my childhood. God I wish I still had my copy.

  13. What was that program called from the 90s that was a like a kids version of power-point? your presentation was refereed to stacks and the default when saving was "my stack" It had Addy the dog in it. For years I have been trying to work out what the name of it was.

    This video reminds me a lot of it, very similar style.

  14. Hey Clint. This two weeks old vid just now managed to pop up at my recommendation list. And that's odd because I'm subscribed to your channel and watch everything you upload in just a few hours after release. I also noticed this video has significantly less views than your other content.

  15. It's awesome and monstrous! I got saddled with babysitting my sister through a few of those activity center applications back in the day. Such memories!

  16. every once in a while, i search youtube for anything concerning this game
    I actually copied the data off my CD-ROM and have been looking into the file formats (well, not recently)

    I also uploaded the files online, so it might have a better chance of being preserved for the future. When I received it as a kid sometime in the 2000's, I cannot say I ever imagined myself doing these things!

  17. This type of 90s entertainment thingy reminds me of an art program we'd use in school. It had tools that did things like have little guys on pogo sticks bounce over the canvas, drill holes or leave foot prints. It might've been KidPix but I feel it was something else.

  18. Lump me in with one of those people who would have spent hours distracted by games like this where you just click on stuff and watch what happens. I spent more time than was the recommended daily dosage on Monty Python's Complete Waste of Time.

  19. Man, what a nostalgia trip this was for me! When my parents purchased a Gateway computer it came with one of those cow skinned CD-ROM binders and this was one of the games inside. I whiled away many an hour creating monsters and listening to that weird dialogue. Thanks for making this video!

  20. I remember playing this in school at a VERY young age, I mean kindergarten young, I legitimately didn't know if it was real or something I had just imagined for years…

  21. "and it turns out a sealed big box copy of this is surprisingly rare" i'm screaming why didn't he just buy an opened copy

  22. thank you so much for all the awesome work you do! I really appreciate all the videos you have done other the years!! I watch you and AVGN all the time!

  23. OH MY GODS I kept remembering those crunchy peanut butter filled snacks made by Planters that I loved in the 90's but couldn't remember what they were called!! Now I want them back more than ever! UGH!! XD

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