When it comes to culture and entertainment, Japan has a rich history spanning ancient legends and sports to modern manga and video games. Now a new generation of inventors is drawing on this culture to create sports with a 21st-century twist -- helping players feel "superhuman" through technology or other special equipment. The Superhuman Sports Society, a Tokyo-based group of researchers and game designers, has certified 12 new sports since its launch in 2015, including Hado, or Wave Motion in English. In Hado, players in head-mounted augmented-reality displays and armband sensors dodge waves of light as they fire energy balls at each other in a virtual arena. The game is similar to the action seen in the "Dragon Ball Z" manga-anime franchise and "Street Fighter" video games.
Now that Japanese start-up Meleap created the world's first physical e-sport called HADO, gamers have a way to be active while competing in the digital world. HADO is an entirely new experience the company calls techno sports that uses augmented reality (AR) tech and motion sensors without requiring the player to be tethered to a gaming system, controllers, or cables. The company has three AR offerings, including HADO Augmented Sport (Player vs. Player), HADO Monster Battle, and HADO Shoot; they will soon add HADO Kart. In HADO Augmented Sport, you can see how physical the game can be. It resembles dodgeball with players competing in an arena and flipping and bending to avoid being hit by the opposing team's energy balls.
It started as an April Fool's joke. Google released a funny video that mashed up Google Maps and Pokémon. The video, released on April 1, 2014, went viral, drawing more than eighteen million views in all. "We thought, Why not try and make it real?" Hanke is the C.E.O. of Niantic, which was then a project inside Google, developing mobile games using augmented and mixed-media reality.
Japan's pop culture is dominated by two inextricably linked industries – video games and animation. The twin forces even form part of the country's Cool Japan ambassadorial project, pushing Japanese creativity to a global market. Yet in the west, although anime fandom has grown significantly, we still tend to see the fields as separate, aficionados of one medium only occasionally crossing over to the other. Anime is a powerful storytelling platform in its own right though, and with increased home video releases and a cavalcade of titles available on streaming platforms such as Netflix and Crunchyroll, it's never been easier for players to explore a medium that has inspired thousands of video games over the last 40 years. Here are 10 titles absolutely rooted in gaming culture.