Merging AR and Sports: HADO lets you shoot fireballs at friends

Whether you’re more of an eSports gamer or someone who prefers to sweat it out at games, HADO has you covered. It’s a virtual game that you participate in wearing AR goggles and a wrist unit which is a motion sensor device that allows you to shoot at things.

You may have played Virtual Reality (VR) games, but Augmented Reality (AR) technology is different in that you aren’t fully immersed in a virtual world. This means there are no cables, wires, or backpacks you need to carry around with you – and you can actually see where you are in the real environment. It’s a bit like laser tag without the clunk.

The lightweight headset and wearable wrist unit allows you to freely run around, shoot and dodge fireballs – this makes playing games like dodgeball more fun without the hurt. No surprise then that HADO’s most popular offering is the Digital Dodgeball.

(If you’re wondering why it’s called ‘HADO’, it’s a shortened version of ‘Hadouken’ – fans of Street Fighter will know that it refers to Ken and Ryu’s signature moves where they shoot fireballs at opponents. And that’s how you ‘throw’ a fireball at HADO.)

What’s HADO Digital Dodgeball?

Basically 2 teams of 3 face-off against each other, and try to throw as many fireballs as possible at each other. Players can customise their attack mode – bigger fireballs, faster reload, etc – and defend themselves with a temporary virtual shield. Teams can even strategise an attack plan, and each member is scored after the end of the game.

To shoot fireballs, you simply punch towards your opponent (like Ryu does in Street Fighter). When you’re out of shots, reload by pointing your wrist upwards. To avoid getting shot, activate your shield (point your wrist towards the floor and drag the shield up) or run.

Each game lasts only 80 seconds, but all that running around trying to throw fireballs at your opponents – and trying to dodge them – will make your time seem really long. Don’t worry, as each game session consists of 2 rounds of 80 seconds. Here’s what it looks like:

The HADO Rookie Challenge

Interestingly, the technology for HADO existed in Japan 4 years ago; however, it only made its first appearance outside Japan in November last year in Singapore. And like with most eSports, there’s a league challenge – last year in 2017 was the first time that the HADO World Cup was opened to contestants outside Japan.

Teams of 5 contestants who qualify will be sent to Tokyo for 4D3N to participate in this tournament, and this year the December tournament’s prize money is a cool $120,000!

To start you off, there’s a monthly Rookie Challenge (check latest dates here) at *SCAPE where you can win cash prizes of up to $300 by forming teams of 3. Who knows, your team may be sent to Tokyo for the Finals!

OTHER GAMES AT HADO

If you don’t have enough people to round up for a game, there’s also the option of the HADO Monster Battle or HADO Shoot.

HADO Monster Battle

The wrist unit is a lot simpler in this game – there’s no customisation of your fireballs here, so all you do is shoot fireballs at monsters (you have a selection of three monsters – or difficulty levels – to choose from).

You start off by battling tiny monsters before facing off with the ‘boss’. Of course, the monsters would attack, and you’d either have to duck or run (no shields here). You do, however, have a ‘special skill’ which comes in the form of a ‘meteor attack’ (aka a bigger fireball) – and you’ll have to unlock it with a special gesture.

HADO Shoot

Last but not least is the Shoot segment which pits players with… killer mushrooms. Much like the Monster Battle, you just have to keep shooting at killer mushrooms (and other woodland critters) that will keep coming up to kill you. Like Monster Battle, you’ll have to dodge these furious fungi.

How does HADO work?

When you get to HADO’s HQ at *SCAPE, you’ll realise that it’s a simple setup consisting of several graffiti walls – they’re no mere walls. Embedded within each of these graffiti designs are AR markers which are invisible to the naked eye, but your headset (which holds an iPhone 6) translates those into arenas that you see through your eyepiece.

The up side of this setup is that it’s completely mobile – those walls are portable. The down side is that when you’re playing the games, you’d have to be facing those walls.

Of course, the novelty here lies in the fact that it combines eSports with exercise – and is much healthier than sit-down games where players run the risk of ailments like wrist- or back-pain.

If you’re game to try HADO, you can check them out at *SCAPE #02-15.

Prices for weekday (students):
Digital Dodgeball $11
Monster Battle $5
Shoot $5
Combo of all three: $16

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