Words by: Jonathon Davidson
Considering 2015 so far, it’s a fair comment to suggest that on the whole, creativity has found itself at a crossroads between the struggle to generate truly original content, and the task to figure out what to do with the internet and smartphones. A pretty good example of how awkward this whole process can be is The Next Internet Millionaire, which you can watch below if you really want to but it’s my personal opinion that you shouldn’t.
But it’s not all like this. Depending on how good your digital media managers are, I guess, there are ways for creative entities to transcend the logistic barriers of awkwardness that impede innovative content delivery, and truly hit something else. Something golden. Something FishCenter.
One camera. One tank. Nine fish. Four Adult Swim employees provide commentary. Fish score points.
Four men inside a building in Atlanta, Georgia USA have found a way to truly embrace the power of live stream entertainment with an aquarium full of exotic fish – plus a moray eel – and a camera feed setup that broadcasts to an international audience.
Fishcenter live is one of the most recent creations of alternative animation powerhouse Adult Swim, responsible for previous quasi-cult classics Aqua Teen Hunger Force, The Brak Show, and my personal favourite Space Ghost Coast To Coast. Tim and Eric have also produced a majority of their content through the company.
The general premise: FishCenter is a live-stream program where a bunch of exotic fish in an aquarium inside William St. Adult Swim studios in Atlanta are filmed live on air. With the magic of HDMI, the four Adult Swim employees superimpose coins over the screen of the Aquarium and award the fish points for every contact with a floating coin. They also dick around in Photoshop, because it kind of comes with the job of discussing fish.
The fact that I am completely serious right now and that this is a thing fills me with a resiliant optimism that I can only describe as pure love for the endeavors of mankind.
The show has an active social media presence, and a legion of fans are regularly encouraged to suggest ways of improving the show. Live callers from around the world call into the program during live broadcast to play games conducted in photoshop, discuss world issues, personal problems, and win points for the fish.
Some guy called Chris makes a bunch of FishCenter-themed music for the show. It’s pretty good.
I sympathise with old mate slammermaster here because I’m also thinking the same thing, just without the basketball.
By now you’re probably wondering how long this has been going on for. The answer is about ten months. Enough time for people to choose favourite fish – that’s a thing, too.
My personal favourite is Tang, a large white tropical fish who collects most coins, pretty much just because he won the jackpot of being large enough to fill a good deal of pixel space. For this reason he’s a pretty controversial character, but I’m hopeful he wins enough points to come out of the Summer season as king, maybe even getting his own merchandise. He’s also an alpha in the tank and just kind of a fishy asshole.
Fan art is also ripe.
Hamburger, a moray eel, is my second favourite, mainly for he regularly messes the entire tank up and gets in the grills of a rich selection of tropical fish. Also crawfish, who are fed to the fish every Friday, giving the popular bonanza that is Friday Frenzy.
It’s just beyond words how much joy this fills me with. While we are under the suspectible influence of anti-piracy laws, our maybe-threatened but apparently protected access to VPNs and the barrel of fun that is metadata retention, it’s relaxing to know that we still have free access to four dudes in a room in Atlanta messing around with a bunch of fish in a tank and providing commentary every working day of the week.
But let’s not get political – it’s about the fish. Oh and by the way, for the gambling types out there, you can bet you’re not alone. Hot tip: this season, it’s all about Mammoth. Which is total bullshit because Tang owns that tank and the people don’t know what’s best for them.
Either way though, Hamburger will probably win.