Malaysia’s Kayan tribe’s culture of hand-tapped tattoos is disappearing. This AR game might save it. – Mashable SE Asia

Posted in Tattoo Shop on Aug 28, 2020

For many people, the first thing they think about when they hear the word "tattoo" may be the colorful shapes and patterns one inks onto themselves to express their individuality.

There are many different reasons why a person would choose to get a tattoo. Perhaps it's to stand out from their peers, to commemorate a special event in their lives, or even to memorialize their loved ones.

In certain countries, tattoos are considered sacred as they hold spiritual meanings for the communities who have them.

And for this one Malaysian game studio, they hope to bring attention to those sacred tattoos that belong to the country's various indigenous tribes.

Navigate through intricate levels inspired by the traditional hand-tapped tattoos of the Kayan tribe and learn about the meanings behind each symbol.

The story follows Do', a young Kayan girl, as she wanders through the challenging landscape to find her grandmother while earning the tattoos worn proudly by the women in her tribe.

At the end of each stage, you can view the tattoos for yourself through AR and learn interesting facts about its meaning by downloading and printing the bracelet from the game.

I, personally, would love to see this game being used as an educational tool for kids to help them learn about the various tribes that live in Malaysia.

Be warned, however, it ends on a slightly spooky and sad cliffhanger that may not be suitable for younger children.

The game, previously promoted under the title Pitem, made its debut just last year and has already been nominated for the Best Visual Arts award and won an award at the SEA Game Awards KL 2019 under the Best Student Game category.

CtrlD co-founders Suan Goh and Joshua Chung along with the team at CtrlD, previously known as Fouracle Studio, created the game with the intention of raising awareness around the indigenous culture that was on its way to being forgotten by the younger generations.

We hoped that players would walk away from this game with a better appreciation for traditional indigenous tattoo culture, Chung said in an interview with the App Store.

To ensure that the game was as factual as possible, the team went through various books documenting the Kayan tribes' culture and spoke to tattoo artists familiar with the tattoo culture of local indigenous tribes to make sure the game reflected each meaningful line and swirl were included in the game.

The tradition has since faded from popular culture, according to a study on traditional Kayan tattoos. Although there are still elderly folks with the tattoos, it's likely that they'll be the last generation to have the tattoos inked onto their skin.

The game will be focusing on Iban culture next, with many other tribes soon to come.

For Chung, the greatest moment he experienced while working on the game so far was when Kayan people tried out the game themselves and were delighted by the celebration of their tattoo culture.

Seeing them happy was validation for the work weve done," he said.

If you're interested in playing the game yourself, Ano: Journey Through Tattoos is available to download for free on both the Google Play Store for Android and the App Store for Apple devices.

Cover image sourced from CtrlD Studios.

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Malaysia's Kayan tribe's culture of hand-tapped tattoos is disappearing. This AR game might save it. - Mashable SE Asia

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