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Native Hawaiian game decolonises virtual world

Signal of change / Native Hawaiian game decolonises virtual world

By Jordan McKay / 17 Oct 2018

A team of 13 Kanaka Maoli (native Hawaiian) and 2 non-native teenagers have created a video game entirely in the Hawaiian language. The game called He Ao Hou, or “a new world” in Hawaiian, tasks the player with exploring the galaxy within a narrative firmly rooted in native Hawaiian culture and storytelling tradition.   Whereas many traditional sci-fi games prompt players to explore new worlds in search of resources or combatants, He Ao Hou asks the player to explore in order to gain and share knowledge with specific emphasis on aloha aina, or “the love and care of the land”.  The game challenges traditional colonial white, western, male narratives and, as it was developed by young native Hawaiians, shares a perspective currently very underrepresented in video game and software design.


So what?

As video games, software, and hardware design becomes more inclusive, could the predominant nature of video games and virtual worlds change? That is, with more diverse narrative and design choices, will the games and platforms mutate into more inclusive modes of entertainment and connectivity?  If this does happen, what effect could more diversity in gaming and virtual worlds bring to creativity and innovation at large?



What might the implications of this be? What related signals of change have you seen?

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