Bluey the videogame family
As an Australian, there are a few things from my country that I can be particularly proud of. Our movies are pretty decent, we do a lot in the animation space – though often for other companies with little credit – and we have a thriving indie game scene that’s pumping out hits like Hollow Knight, Moving Out, and Unpacking. None of it makes me more proud, though, than Bluey.
Bluey is an animated TV show aimed at children, and it’s steeped in Australian culture from top to bottom. Think Peppa Pig, but actually good and with Australian accents. It follows the adventures of a young blue heeler puppy called Bluey, her younger sister Bingo, and their parents, Bandit and Chilli.
It’s a really lovely show, and a great watch for people of all ages, not just for children. Pretty much every episode will put a smile on your face, and some will make you feel things you didn’t think were possible. I still get teary just at the thought of the Sleepytime episode, and rewatching it still makes me sob to this day.
It’s a bit exciting, then, that Bluey is getting a video game for the first time. It’s called Bluey: The Videogame, and it seems like it could be pretty decent, with graphics and animation that look pretty damn similar to the show itself, if a little more stiff at times. Take a look for yourself in the trailer below:
See? It looks alright! I do have a few reservations though, and a few disappointments right out of the gate. The first is that it’s published by Outright Games, which as a publisher has been pretty inconsistent overall. Some of its published games are actually pretty great, like Zoids Wild Blast Unleashed and Ben 10: Power Trip, while others… well, let’s just say that not every game is a banger. Bluey could be one of the good ones though, so I’m willing to hold my judgment until I’ve had a chance to play it.
The bigger disappointment, in my eyes, is who’s developing it — or rather, who’s not developing it. Bluey: The Videogame is being developed by Artax Games, a small Spanish developer that, from what I understand, has a few decent games under its belt. I hold no animosity towards Artax, the company was offered a job and accepted it, and I sincerely hope it does a fantastic job, but I can’t help but be bummed out that it’s not being made by an Australian developer.
Bluey is uniquely Australian media. Its characters sound and behave like Australians, its landscapes, settings, and backgrounds are based on Brisbane – where I grew up! – and every episode goes out of its way to show at least a little bit of true blue Aussie culture. It’s absolutely delightful for that — in a media landscape so dominated by US culture, that this little Aussie show with Aussie stuff in it can be such a smash hit on the world stage warms my heart.
But as I said, Australia is filled with talented video game developers. Most of them are pretty small, sure, with a lot of two- or three-person teams scattered throughout the country, but bigger studios the size of, or bigger than, Artax exist too. I feel like a game built on such an aggressively Australian show would be best left in the hands of Australian developers, who can understand why things are the way they are, and respect the influences that make Bluey what it is.
There is, at least, one saving grace, and that’s that the voice actors for Bluey: The Videogame seem to largely be from the show. Outright Games confirmed on Twitter that while not every single language will feature voice actors from the show, “in English it sure will.” It’ll also feature music from Joff Bush, the composer for the show, and some new music from the development team itself.
Despite my reservations, I am quietly excited for the Bluey game. I fully understand it’s not for me, and that’s totally okay, because neither is the show, and I enjoy that too. Either way, I look forward to trying out Bluey: The Videogame when it launches on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, and PC on November 17, 2023.