Sports

Hado: This Augmented Reality Sport is the Coolest in the Country

Hado Pilipinas’ cutting-edge augmented reality dodgeball is the Philippines’ newest sport.
IMAGE Courtesy of Hado Philippines
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Think of Hado Pilipinas as a cross between dodgeball and augmented reality, but with energy-ball hurling, Son Goku-esque superpowers and the capacity to conjure shields.

Watch how Hado looks in actual gameplay: 

It’s a fast-paced, adrenaline-pumping, sweat-inducing cardio exercise that requires real strategy to win. For casual players, it makes for a thrilling pasttime, but for competitive HADO professionals, this is a serious, globally-recognized team sport.

Photo by Courtesy of Hado Philippines.
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What is Hado?

Hado, which means “wave motion” in Nihonggo, is a brand of Augmented Reality games developed in Japan and has since been adapted in various countries. The brand has partnered with ABS-CBN Corporation with very ambitious plans to make the techno sport popular within the Filipino community.

“This techno sport combines physical and digital play in a game that various teams, groups of friends, and even families can play and enjoy,” ABS-CBN Themed Experiences Head Cookie Bartolome said.

While esports require players to interact on a virtual plane via avatars, Hado utilizes real environments with actual dodging and throwing motions. It’s addictively immersive and makes for a great family bonding experience.

Photo by Courtesy of Hado Philippines.
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The Gameplay: How to Play Hado

To play this first-of-its-kind Japanese techno sport, you’re geared up in a lightweight head-mounted AR display and a motion sensor on the wrist. Up to six players can play Hado Player vs Player (PvP), with up to three per team.

Before the game begins, each player must allocate six attribution points among four stats: bullet speed, charge speed, bullet scale, and shield strength. This is where players must craft a game plan and decide on their roles. Would you rather maximize bullet attributions and take on the role of a sniper? Or perhaps be the team’s tank and strengthen your shields? Customizable stats open lots of room for strategy and creativity.

Once all stats have been allocated, the battle begins. Teams have 80 seconds to duke it out in a prescribed arena. Lift your hand to charge energy, and swing horizontally to fling an energy ball. To conjure a shield, swing upwards. Each player has four “life petals” that function as hit points. Destroy your opponent’s life petals to score one knockout. The team with the most knockouts by the end of regulation wins the game.

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The rules are straightforward but the complexities arrive in developing a winning strategy. Given only three destructible shields during each game, the battle becomes a test of resource management. Should your team bring up all their shields at once for an early lead, or raise them one by one? In HADO PvP, the best defense is a good offense.

Photo by Courtesy of Hado Philippines.
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Midgame, the adrenaline factor intensifies. I found myself dodging energy balls coming from all directions and hiding behind my teammate’s shields. All these while trying my hardest to aim the crosshair on an enemy.

At the one-minute mark, all the running around and swinging my arms constantly became a remarkable test of endurance. But is Hado Pilipinas a real sport? I asked myself this question while flinging energy balls and missing most of the time with my lack of dexterity.

It is, in a lot of ways. It combines the physicality of real sport: endurance, sweating, and physical prowess. There’s a need for fast reflexes and better-than-average hand-eye coordination. But what are all these when I’m immersed in augmented reality? Sports purists might roll their eyes in calling it an athletic activity, but this is exactly where Hado Pilipinas succeeds: blurring the line between video games and sports.

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Photo by Courtesy of Hado Philippines.

Hado Philippines: Filipino Athletes Will Compete Abroad

To generate awareness of the techno sport, the Hado Pilipinas team hosts intra-school competitions at NCAA schools, encouraging students to form teams of their own. Winners from each school will then compete in an NCAA inter-school tournament to be televised in ABS-CBN starting August 25.

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The winning Philippine team will be rewarded generously: an all-expense-paid trip to Tokyo, Japan and a chance to represent the country at the Hado World Cup 2019 in December. Here, players from countries such as Taiwan, Singapore, China, South Korea, Malaysia, the United Kingdom, and the United States will duke it out for a chance to bag the cash prize of ¥2 million (nearly P1 million).

Casual players will most definitely get to experience the game. ABS-CBN Themed Experiences head Cookie Bartolome plans to make the techno sport more accessible in two ways: by setting up a Hado Pilipinas Camp inside the ABS-CBN compound and signing partnerships with malls to bring the experience closer to families.

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