During a three-week workshop (July through August), 15 students created a Hawaiian-language video game rooted in traditional moʻolelo. With only five days dedicated to game production, students did it all: designing levels, creating 3d graphics, even voice acting, and audio recording. The workshop was taught by the indigenous-led Initiative for Indigenous Futures, in conjunction with Kanaeokana.
The majority of the participants were products of immersion schools or Hawaiian-language programs. Some were chosen for their cultural grounding, others for their technical skills, while a few came in with both.
The haumāna felt a strong kuleana to remind people that aloha ʻāina and our traditions have a place today and in the future, so the game is set in space, and the main character travels through different worlds populated by characters and traditions from our moʻolelo. They have to use their knowledge of moʻolelo and the principles of aloha ʻāina to successfully complete their quest, something the participants feel applies to them as well.
The game is entitled “He Ao Hou: A New World,” a reminder of all the new worlds we can create when we work together for our future, while staying rooted in our language and traditions.