Prize-winning computer game embraces te reo

By Tema Hemi

Grabity is a prize-winning PC game developed in New Zealand by programmer Steve Salmond and 2D/3D artist and animator Moritz Schlitter.

They also came up with the concept of translating the game into Te Reo Māori and say that they want to embrace Te Reo in the modern age of technology. 

Grabity programmer Steve Salmond says, "We come up with this crazy game where you're playing with gravity basically so you're chucking objects around, you go upside down, gravity flips on you but you're grabbing all these objects".

"[We} want to translate the game into Te Reo Māori to appeal to children who have been raised in the Māori language.  My nephew Johnny and his sisters they all come up from kura kaupapa so they're all fluent.  Johnny boy has been helping me test Grabity a lot and he's probably my number one tester so one day I put two and two together and thought 'wouldn't be cool if Johnny and kids like him could play Grabity in te reo?"

Grabity has already enjoyed success in the PC gaming world and it is about to enter an industry which has generated over $100bil worldwide last year.

Salmond says, "My mate Moritz who's the artist for the project- he ended up pitching the game to the Kiwi Starter competition in 2016 and he ended up winning that competition."

Meanwhile, the translator of the game says it wasn't an easy task.

Jack Potaka of Ngāti Hauiti and Ngāti Tama says, "There are many words that cannot be located in the Maori dictionary and so for me and fellow translator Te Whainoa, we had to think up new words for it".

Jack Potaka says he hopes the move results in more interactive games being translated into te reo Māori. 

Potaka also says, "It's a big honour to do this work because this is such an extraordinary opportunity to translate something that has such significance in this day and age of technology".

Grabity will launch this Thursday and gamers can access it from the Steam digital platform.