What do you get when you combine augmented reality (AR) with an ancient game that used to be played with actual rocks?
Dodgeball meets AR in Hado Player vs. Player (PvP) or simply Hado, the newest sport in town brought in by ABS-CBN Themed Experiences and the ABS-CBN S+A channel. Instead of rocks, the modern-day dodgeball has leveled up with AR energy balls and shields.
Hado, which means vibration or “wave motion,” is a
brand of AR games from Japanese game developer Meleap Inc. Another Meleap game, Hado Monster Battle, was earlier introduced to Filipinos as one of the first attractions in ABS-CBN Studio Experience (Studio XP) in Quezon City. Aside from the Philippines, Hado is also in China, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Spain, Russia, the United Kingdom and the US.
“This techno sport combines physical and digital play in a game that various teams, groups of friends, even families can play and enjoy,” said Cookie Bartolome. “It’s a sport every Filipino can play.”
Themed Experiences and ABS-CBN S+A teamed up with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to unveil Hado during the opening ceremonies of the latter’s 95th season in July.
Since then, the Hado Pilipinas team has held clinics/tryouts at all the NCAA schools not only to introduce the sport, but also to discover the first Filipino fight team via a series of interschool and intraschool tournaments.
The search is chronicled in a weekly TV program on ABSCBN S+A, “Hado Pilipinas,” which will follow the Hado Pilipinas NCAA Cup 2019 winner as it tries to attack and defend its way to the techno sport’s biggest stage.
The “Hado Pilipinas” show, hosted by Vince Velasco and Denice Dinsay, airs on ABSCBN S+A every Sunday at 11:30 a.m. with replays during the week and streaming on iWant.
“The immediate goal is to send the first team to the Hado World Cup in Tokyo at the end of the year, where up for grabs is a ¥2 million prize,” says Mark Coloma, who leads Themed Experiences’ Rides and Attractions group.
Themed Experiences has also put together a group of young Kapamilya talents that helps spread the word about Hado and demonstrates how to play the sport at various venues around Metro Manila.
Jairus Aquino, Jeremy Glinoga, Arabella del Rosario, Aiyana Perlas, Samm Alvero and Kimson Tan, AKA the Hado Squad, were chosen to be Hado ambassadors based on how well they adapted to and understood the techno sport, reveals Bartolome.
“They’re very intelligent and athletic,” she adds.
Playing the game
Hado is played on a 6-meter by 10-meter space, roughly the size of a badminton court. Participants can play one-onone, two-on-two, three-onthree, or even mix it up in a one-on-three and other player combinations.
The two teams start by preparing their weapons on their half of the court: energy balls which are used for attacking the opponents’ life cells, and shields for protecting or covering their own life cells.
The players get to customize the size and speed of the energy balls, the reloading speed, and the strength of the shield according to their team’s attack/defend strategy.
Raising their sidearms charges the energy balls, while lowering them fills the power bar that will allow them to put up shields.
A head-mounted display (HMD) allows the players to see the balls being thrown at them as well as the position of the opponents’ shields.
Each player has four life cells. A team scores a point when it successfully destroys these four cells, which are equivalent to one life.
The objective is to knock out more opponents within 80 seconds. “It seems short, but when we played it the first time, we were all lying down after,” Coloma says.
Spectators or viewers watching on TV can follow the action on a giant screen where they can see the players exchange a barrage of colorcoded energy balls and shields as they dive, duck and zip around the court.
Hado is realistic enough that players have been known to trip or fall as they evade the energy balls, with one participant even breaking a post when he fell over.
Coloma describes the techno sport as something that takes “a minute to learn, a lifetime to master.”
“Everybody who’s tried it enjoyed it, unless they didn’t understand it at the start. But when they played it a second time and they get it, they ask: ‘When are you coming back?’ or ‘Where are you setting this up?’
For now, aside from the NCAA schools, Hado will initially be available in ABS-CBN, where a Hado Camp is slated to rise in the next few weeks, said Themed Experiences head Bartolome.
She explains: “Basically, it’s a court that we set up so that players can come in and rent it just the way you would rent a badminton court. A game is only 80 seconds but putting on the gear eats up some time.”
Aside from putting on the HMD and sidearm devices, players will also need to talk strategy with their teammates.
“We don’t want them to play without really understanding the game. We also want to give them value for money,” Coloma adds.
Bartolome says Hado Camps in other locations are in the pipeline so more Kapamilya can enjoy the benefits of the new techno sport, including possibly in Studio Experience. The team is also continuously working to improve the game’s interface and tech capability.
“Our vision is to make Hado known as a fun, physical activity that the whole family can engage in. And when the technology progresses, this game is going to get so much better,” Bartolome promises.