Silver for mobile game projects focusing on cultural, heritage & traditional values

Proud winners with their medals and certificates (from left): Ng, Chong and Fairuz

It is not always easy to blend modern technology with traditional values and beliefs. Yet, the merge of the two contradicting elements had won three lecturers from UTAR Faculty of Creative Industries (FCI) two Silver Awards at The 2019 Inventors’ Hall of Fame, International Competition of Ideas, Inventions & Innovations (i-fame2019). The competition was held from 27 to 28 September 2019.

The competition was organised by Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) (Kedah Branch) in its campus. It was organised in collaboration with the Malaysia Design Council (MRM). i-fame2019 aimed to provide an opportunity and a platform for inventors to showcase, exchange ideas and establish global networks for future collaboration. Comprised of inventions, innovation and design competition, the competition was initiated as a support to the recent developments in economy, socio-economic, new development of information technology, scientific discoveries, new financial products and many other innovations that have resulted in new ways of doing business besides utilising technology to work and play.

Three FCI lecturers, namely Mohd Fairuz bin Ali, Ng Perng Jeu and Chong Hwei Teeng took up the challenge and presented their projects titled “Educational Mobile Game of Malaysian Traditional Game: Wau” and “A Malaysian Folklore Game Design As A Tool Of Culture Preservation And Entertainment: Toyol” with the aim to bring the traditional game Wau and local myth toyol to the screen of smartphones. The two projects won Silver Awards for Product Prototype and Design Ideation categories respectively.

The “Wow the Wau!” game concept is derived from “Wau Kucing” which is used to scare away evil spirits through the humming sound produced by the Wau

MRM Director Assoc Prof Dr Mohamad Hariri Abdullah (left) took interest in the topic toyol

“We run this game using three to four functions and these functions include the introduction to the types of Wau as well as the culture and history behind it. For now the game incorporates three types of Wau, however we hope to include every Wau from every state in Malaysia in the future. The game is simple and fun. You play by avoiding the obstacles,” Fairuz explained how the game titled “Wow the Wau!” from the first project works.

Despite the simplicity of the game, in-depth and thorough research was made to ensure the idea and facts are precise, including interviews with Wau practitioners in Kelantan and Kuala Selangor and a visit to museum.

Meanwhile, the latter project focused on game design. Titled “Toyol Attack”, the project focused on planning and ideation as well as on ways to execute a good game design in terms of artistic elements such as visual. The team believes that toyol has an equal potential to be as phenomenon as other mythical beings like the goblins and zombies that are well recognised globally.

“Both projects aim to preserve the local culture and folklore in digital media. Our project managed to catch the judges’ attention because of its contribution and impact on society. Aside from that, the judges found our projects to be interesting because they represent Malaysia’s identity in the game design,” said Ng. “The paper titled A Malaysian Folklore Game Design As A Tool Of Culture Preservation And Entertainment: Toyol” was presented at the 3rd International Conference on Creative Media, Design and Technology (REKA 2018), held at Universitas Sebelas Maret in Surakarta, Indonesia and it was published in the Atlantic Press. “We would like to thank UTAR for providing us with UTAR Research Fund (UTARRF) to develop these projects. All these would have not been possible without it,” added Fairuz.

Speaking of the challenges, Fairuz said, “Other than programming, the real challenge was to obtain reliable and veridical information. Even some practitioners do not know the history and culture behind the practice. We had to find those who can and it was not easy,” said Fairuz.

The “Wow the Wau!” mobile game is expected to be available for the public at the end of 2019.

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