TAMPA, Fla. – A new sports league has arrived in Tampa, offering players the opportunity to use fantastic fireballs and weapons, as well as their favorite video game characters.
HADO organizers say it is the first physical sport in history, with augmented reality technology. Players run freely within real-world scenarios, but the rest of the action happens virtually.
“The first time I put on the headphones I saw the potential. I knew how fun the game would be and I wasn’t disappointed,” said Scott Ertz, technical director of the HADO team at AMROC FAB LAB, which is in Tampa. .
HADO is best described as an augmented reality dodgeball.
“You remember dodgeball when you were a kid. Everyone has a ball, you throw it, you place it, you lose a point. The same thing here except there are no real balls,” Ertz explained.
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HADO plays completely through headphones. On the headset, you see a video of the real world. You see the field and the other players. At the top of the headphones are virtual things like shields and fireballs. People are the only real thing.
“This technology uses augmented reality, which is different from virtual reality,” Ertz shared.
HADO first took off in Asia, where it became a popular sport. AMROC brings this new gaming technology to the Tampa Bay area for the first time. They hope to implement it in a variety of ways, including the formation of corporate teams and personal leagues.
“This game is different from the usual video games where you sit at home on the couch or on the computer, playing on the screen. It combines physical activity and physical movement in a real world environment, using augmented reality now to get into the game in instead of continuing to play the game, “Ertz added.
AMROC FAB LAB will show HADO at Metrocon in July at the Tampa Convention Center.