HADO eSport inspires Māori gamers

By D'Angelo Martin

HADO, the first-ever physical eSport in the world, had its NZ debut on Friday and Wellington's Arepa Gamers Club says it sees the potential this type of technology has for promoting Māori cultural values and well-being.

Developed by Japanese company Meleap, HADO is a new sport that uses a combination of augmented reality technology and special glasses to promote physical activity.

Arepa Gamers Club was invited to facilitate a demonstration of the eSport in Auckland on Friday. 

Club member Richard Busby from Muriwhenua says, "We increase obviously movement, we increase technology awareness and lastly we increase the way we communicate. And these are some of the values that have been lost with the younger generation as technology evolves."

The club says the technology pathway used in HADO can help promote Māori health and well-being, especially among rangatahi.

"So one of the main missions with Arepa Gamers Club is to integrate technology into cultural values and the thing about the industry being so young here is we can introduce these cultural values while it's young," Busby says.

NZ company Playtech 'plugged' Meleap and HADO into the local market.

Playtech general manager Paul Kao says, "By actually using this technology, you are able to move around physically and compete with another human being live in the same area, same stage, to be able to define a winner. We want to create the best of the best to represent us at the already existing HADO world cup which is in Japan."

Kent Lim is one of the developers of HADO, which has been around for five years but has only now made its way to Aotearoa. A partnership between Meleap and Playtech made it happen. 

"HADO is a 3 vs 3 player game, some people call it dodge ball. So you unleash your energy ball and attack your opponents. So in front of the player there's four life forces, so you aim for the life forces, you attack in order to get a score. We think that New Zealand is a kind of unique country because this country is crazy for sports."

Busby says he can already picture a game similar to this that could cater to Māori.

"I played against you so it was fun, especially the win, but obviously it's important for us to understand that there’s a lot of movement that happens and we can see the limit of technology."

Perhaps this will be the sporting way of the future.