Skins 5.0 Workshop on Aboriginal Storytelling and Video Game Design
July 17 – August 4, 2017
He Ao Hou is a point-and-click adventure game. The gameplay is based on kānaka maoli (Native Hawaiian) stories and knowledge, and focuses in particular on the uses of the native kukui nut, itself a symbol of knowledge. It is set in the far future, when Kānaka Maoli have attained the next level of navigation: space travel. While your grandfather, a great navigator, is on his deathbed, your sister goes missing. Entrusted with your grandfather’s space canoe, you set out to find her, along the way meeting interesting individuals and learning about their relationships to their planets. On the water (Wai) planet you learn that you can use the kukui to clarify water that is cloudy, thus finding a helpful shark. On the lava (Pele) planet, you learn how hula dancing is used to make kukui plants grow. On the plant (Ahupua’a) planet, you use the kukui as a projectile, hitting the boar-like, eight-eyed demi-god, Kamapua’a, to wake him up. Finally, you unlock enough knowledge to find your sister—but she is now much more than she ever was before.
Created by the Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace (AbTeC) research network in partnership with Kanaeokana as part of the Initiative for Indigenous Futures (IIF). indigneousfutures.net.