Beached Az: The Legacy
2008 YouTube was an amazing(ly weird) time to be alive. Internet videos had reached an all time high in creativity, diversity and virality, leading to the rise of some of the most recognisable creators and content to ever grace the Web.
2008 was actually the era that paved the way for one of the most iconic cartoon comedies in Aussie internet culture and eventually the entire world.
Beached Az washed up on our shores in 2008, the original 90-second YouTube cartoon followed the story of a helplessly beached Kiwi whale and his hopeless chup-eating Seagull companion.
Gaining internet infamy for its confrontational, off-beat humour; Beached Az expanded into an Australian cult hit series that aired 2 Seasons on ABC, racking up over 31 million views worldwide.
Celebrating 10-ish Year Beached Aziversary
Now 2019, the Beached Az Team is launching new instalments to the iconic series: Season 3, a spin-off series called Teached Az, and Bleached Az the mobile game.
The original creators, Anthony MacFarlane, Nick Boshier and Jaron Green have partnered with Chaos Theory to create a new hilarious and poorly-drawn arcade mobile game, Bleached Az. Introducing familiar and new colourful characters from the Beached Az universe, the game tackles present day social and environmental issues such as marine health and ocean sustainability.
Bleached Az promotes ocean health awareness and motivates players to actively contribute to environmental conservation through an interactive and engaging new platform.
Bleached Az: Making Games with Real-World Impact
Nico King is part of both worlds, his earliest memories of Beached Az were watching the original cartoon with his brother. Growing up in New Zealand and moving to Australia when he was 10, Nico fondly remembers quoting Beached Az non stop around the school yard with his brothers and friends.
10-ish years later and now one of the executive directors of Sydney game development studio Chaos Theory, Nico is chuffed for the return of Beached Az and is already armed with that over-the-top Kiwi accent and new, annoying quotes, determined to have everybody laughing all over again.
Nico was excited to share insight into the development of Bleached Az so far and divulges into why this game has been so important in Chaos Theory's journey and vision.
What do you think has made Beached Az so unforgettable after 10-ish years on?
When Beached Az aired in 2008, it’s style of content and humour was still new and fresh. ‘Memes’ from that era were widely shared because they were so different from what we were used to and Beached Az was no exception. It's truly a piece of Australian internet culture that's surpassed its time.
How did you feel when you first started this project? Was it exciting or daunting to bring new life and perspective to such as iconic series?
It’s been great working on a project that has the potential to be so obscenely ridiculous just like the original series, while still raising awareness for real-world issues that really need our attention. Our team has been a bit too logical and methodical to the original concept, but luckily we have had the team behind the original series to help shake things up a bit.
What’s it been like working and collaborating with Jarod, Anthony and Nick?
They have a great sense of humour, and an amazing ability to improvise interesting stories. Narrative and character development is not a strength of mine, so it is great to collaborate on a project with passionate creatives that are dedicated to their art.
What are you most excited about for Bleached Az: The Game?
I’m definitely most excited about Bleached Az being a ‘game for change’, it’s a fusion between entertainment and social purpose. I believe the true power of games is to use fun and interactivity to inspire and get people excited and engaged with any topic. This project perfectly aligns with that belief, and it’s that belief that also fuels Chaos Theory’s mission, vision and objectives.
I’ve always wanted to create games that draw in people by first, being captivating and second, being impactful and ultimately inspiring players to take tangible action towards making a difference.
I’m also very excited for everyone to play Bleached Az! Reading reviews and hearing feedback is always so fun and rewarding and we always receive genuine feedback from all kinds of people sharing their thoughts on a project you’ve dedicated all your time on. It’s satisfying and nice to know you’ve inspired potentially hundreds or even thousands of players out there on an emotional level and that your game is making a real difference.
Chaos Theory’s Vision is to create games that can be used as the catalyst to solve educational, social and humanitarian issues in our world. How important has Bleached Az been for achieving this vision?
We want to do more projects in that space, so we’re interested in creating games that combine global social cause with an engaging digital medium. Environmental conservation is definitely an area we’re interested in and want to further dedicate our expertise, skills and time to creating more games that inspire action against climate change.
It’s actually one of the key reasons we decided to partner with the Beached Az creators, we aim to become the leading Australian game developer for any environmental organisations that are looking to make a difference through the power of games.
Tell us a little about Chaos Theory’s partnership with Carbon Neutral, who are they and what is the Plant-a-Tree Program?
Carbon Neutral was at the top of our list for a potential partnership, first reason is because they’re based in Australia and the second very important reason, is that they have a carbon catcher program called the Plant-A-Tree Program that aligned exactly with the goals of the Bleached Az project. They were very open to a partnership and collaboration, they were also flexible with the working relationship. 20% of in-game revenue going towards their ‘Plant-a-Tree’ Program to help combat climate change. Planting trees is a cost-effective way to absorb the heap of carbon from our atmosphere, taking the pressure off our oceans (which are currently doing all the hard work).
They specialise in biodiverse conservation plantings using native trees and shrubs and these special trees sequester carbon, enhance biodiversity, and so much more. They’re planting these trees in the Yarra Yarra Biodiversity Corridor in Western Australia as part of Australia’s largest biodiverse reforestation carbon sink.
Carbon Neutral was an excellent partner for this project, it was important for us to keep it close to home and within Australia, they do incredible life-changing work to help rejuvenate the land and take the pressure off our oceans.
“To date, Carbon Neutral has planted over 29.5 million mixed native species, trees and shrubs, across 12,000 HA in the Yarra Yarra Biodiversity Corridor.” Read more on their Plant-A-Tree Program
How do you think new and familiar audiences will react to this new interactive format of Beached Az?
I think audiences that watched and enjoyed the original series in 2008 will be drawn in by that classic sense of humour and unique animation. I believe Bleached Az has a lot of offer like it’s hilarious dialogue, ridiculous but relatable characters and engaging gameplay so I hope fans of the original series are pleasantly surprised.
I can’t talk much about it yet, but that sentiment also applies to the upcoming Beached Az Season 3, all those new episodes are much more sophisticated and creative and I personally think the writing is fantastic.
New audiences will not know what to expect, but if they watch Season 3 and download the mobile game as well, I think they’re going to be right at home as it’s an extension of the series with the same style, same universe and the same Aussies making fun of the Kiwi accent.
Finally, who is your favourite Beached Az character?
The kid whale in Season 1 Episode 3 is super funny, ‘I’m just a KUD!’
But I’ve worked with them so much on Bleached Az, the corals are a favourite amongst the team. The banter between Tony and Pete (the blue and purple corals) is so hilarious and their mutual hate for Oscar (orange coral) is super entertaining. Each coral has a unique personality and together have a comical yet, balanced dynamic. In terms of sheer content, I think the amount of dialogue we have in Bleached Az somewhat exceeds what the creators have created so far (Season 1 & 2) so you end up empathising with and building up a relationship with these new characters. These corals are actually the epitome of the kind of projects that resonate with me and the work we do. They’re cool bros 🐳🐳🐳