The very first Paralympic video game

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Yesterday, the 2020 Summer Paralympics were coming to an end, but the event is far from over in the world of video games.

Many of our readers are familiar with the trio of officially licensed Olympic video games published by Sega: the most traditional title for consoles and PC, the less traditional but perhaps the most important Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, and a Sonic-only Olympics title for mobile.

What you may be less familiar with is the officially licensed Paralympic game, The Pegasus Dream Tour, which launched in June and held its own in-game concert at a closing ceremony over the weekend. -end.

Every instance of the Summer Olympics since 1992 – and even some of the Winter Olympics – has been accompanied by at least one video game adaptation, giving players the chance to go for gold and achieve something virtually than the vast majority of us ever could in real life.

“1.2 billion people are considered disabled. With diversity and inclusion becoming the norm in movies and TV, diversity is also needed in games”

Still, the Pegasus Dream Tour is the first time Paralympic Games fans have had the same opportunity. Why?

“Although the Paralympic Games themselves have a very high level of recognition, they don’t have as large a fanbase as other gaming events such as the Olympics or the FIFA World Cup,” Taeko suggests. Yoshimoto, public relations manager at title developer JP Games. .

“While this is just a guess, we believe for many businesses it’s not something that could be tackled as easily or successfully, especially in terms of sales, but we felt we had a truly unique proposal to approach the game.”

While previous Olympics focused primarily on home consoles, tapping into the demand for central sports games, The Pegasus Dream Tour was developed with more accessibility, both in terms of controls (more on that in a moment) and audience. Naturally, that means it’s on mobile, Android and iOS, and it’s free.

“Mobile is one of the fastest growing markets in video games and by far the most accessible,” Yoshimoto says. “Since the aim of the game is to promote the appeal of the Paralympic Games to a large number of people, we chose mobile as the platform in the hope that it would encourage people who cannot -be never played games before to take it.

“Many of our target players are not used to using both hands to move their avatars freely, so we designed the game in such a way that it can be played easily and automatically without the need for advanced techniques. .”

This is where another advantage of mobile lies. While console Olympics – even those of Mario & Sonic – often involve deft manipulation of a traditional gamepad, with quick reflexes and perhaps not a small amount of mashing buttons as fast as possible, The Pegasus Dream Tour aims to be playable by people of all ages and abilities.


The Pegasus Dream Tour is more than just a collection of sports minigames, it’s an MMO with a community to engage with and in-game events like concerts and a closing ceremony

Much of the game is automated, including movement, with players instead focusing on how to improve their chances of winning. This can range from putting their character through training drills and workouts to making sure they eat a diet for more energy. In the sports minigames themselves, they can improve their avatar’s performance by tapping the screen in time with bars displayed on the screen.

“We wanted to convey the fun of the Paralympic Games, but we didn’t want it to be just a collection of mini-games that recreated the competition”

JP Games consulted Can I Play That, an online gaming community for people with disabilities, and various influencers with disabilities for feedback and to ensure the experience was authentic. To that end, the developer has also frequently consulted with the International Paralympic Committee and even has avatars depicting nine real-world athletes in-game.

“In order to learn more about them and the games, we frequently showed the games we were developing to the Paralympic Committee and other sports organizations and para-athletes, and received their opinions on the content and expressions for ensure an accurate representation,” says Yoshimoto. . “We also received cooperation from orthotic manufacturers to gain their knowledge of the structure of orthotics.”

Orthotic Consultations have played an important role in allowing players to customize their avatars, not only with hairstyles and outfits, but also with wheelchairs and prosthetic arms and legs. This is one of the few instances where even players with disabilities can create a character that more closely represents them, enhanced by the fact that you can use a selfie to inform your avatar’s facial structure.

The emphasis on extensive customization options is partly because The Pegasus Dream Tour is more than just a typical sports game; it’s actually a mini MMO. Between events, players can explore the fictional town of Pegasus and interact with other players, as well as NPCs. Again, the accessibility-centric design means players simply swipe their finger across the touchscreen to move around and tap options when talking to people.

Pegasus City is presented as a sustainable metropolis, with a clean futuristic look. And, like most live service games, it will evolve over time, adding new facilities to help players improve their para-athlete.


Sports mini-games are all developed with simple and accessible controls, where the equipment, training and strategy you assign to your avatar have as much impact on your performance as your dexterity

“We wanted to convey the fun of the Paralympic Games, but we didn’t want it to be just a collection of mini-games that recreated the competition,” says Yoshimoto. “Our goal was instead to create a gaming experience in the Avatar RPG genre, where players support their avatar and work with their friends to achieve greatness as para-athletes.

She adds, “Pegasus City is a vision of an ideal city of the future, a city that embodies the International Paralympic Committee’s philosophy of diversity and inclusion. The city is barrier-free and wheelchair accessible, and home to a vibrant community of avatars. with many different personalities. By simulating a fictional city where it’s normal for avatars with different personalities to live together, we hope the real world can learn from it and help create a future society where all personalities are equally respected.”

The game launched with two sports, 100m sprint and boccia, with plans for more to be added over time. But even in its most basic version, The Pegasus Dream Tour achieved something rarely seen in video games: better representation of disabilities. This is something Yoshimoto hopes to see the industry address in the near future.

“We received a lot of feedback from gamers with disabilities that they were very happy to be able to create avatars that reflect the same disabilities as them,” she said. “As well as faithfully replicating real arms, legs and prosthetic wheelchairs, we can also create interesting designs that make people proud to wear them. We’ve had lots of positive feedback from people with disabilities saying how great this level of customization is cool.

“According to the International Paralympic Committee, approximately 15% of the world’s population – or 1.2 billion people – are considered to have a disability. With diversity and inclusion becoming the norm in the world of film and television, we believe that diversity in the representation of avatars, the player’s alter ego, is also necessary in games. We hope this game will serve as a stepping stone and help encourage the gaming industry to consider this level of inclusivity when its own game development.

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