Channel 4 won the bid to broadcast the Paralympics in 2012, with an ambition of making their Paralympics coverage the biggest event in Channel 4’s history. Core to their remit with the Paralympics coverage is to bring about a permanent and fundemental shift in the UK of perceptions of disability and disability sport.
As well as the TV and online coverage of the games and their buildup, Channel 4 wanted to commission additional content to raise awareness of Paralympic sports, help create household names of our Paralympic hopefuls, build excitement and anticipation of the games, and establish Channel 4 as the official broadcast partner of the 2012 Paralympics.
Out of the twenty sports that make up the Summer Paralympic Games, Boccia was the one which we felt summed up the games for us. It isn’t an Olympic sport and so helps represent the difference of the games and the importance of the different sports involved. It is also a really exciting sport which we felt would work brilliantly as a game, and Channel 4 agreed.
Boccia is a turn based game based on similar rules to Boules, but devised specifically for athletes with physical disability who require a wheelchair. The aim of the game is to throw leather balls as close to the target jack as possible.
The game has various modes for players to access once they've chosen their nationality. Quick play gets players to the heart of the action in a simulated Boccia court either playing against the computer with highly competitive and realistic AI or against another player on the same machine.Choose the number of ends and play away.
Tournament mode puts you in a simulated tournament, playing against the best names in the sport. Play through from the quarter final stages to see if you can beat the professionals. Arcade mode focuses on skills, from target practise through to speed and strategy in a technical setting.
The medal cabinet charts your progress as you achieve goals throughout the game, like scoring over 100,000 in Detonator mode or winning with all 6 balls in a single end.
The game records all your progress and stores scores in a global high score table, or a table made up of Facebook friends.
Because the Boccia game was commissioned as official Paralympic content, all aspects of the game, from usability and gameplay through to the countries taking are all accurate. Even the Boccia team member names featured in the game will be those representing their countries in the Paralympic Games themselves.
Boccia is a fun and engaging way to experience the sport, and because it was developed in Unity it can be ported easily to other platforms so watch this space.
In the run up to the Paralympics 2012, Boccia has rising traffic and is currently being used by the UK Boccia team to train their players.