Tata, a big India-based technology services firm, is a sponsor of the 26-mile race in New York, which takes place on November 4. In the kiosk-based Marathon City game, spectators will be able to get exercise by running on specially designed controller mats.
Two players can walk up to a screen and select one of seven playable characters. Then they can race each other by running on the controller mats. Disabled athletes can participate as well, as Tata also built a functional wheelchair trainer controller, so someone in a wheelchair can compete against other participants.
The game was built with TCS’ own homegrown tech. At the end of the race week, whoever has the highest score can win a grand prize.
Michelle Taylor, head of Sports Sponsorships at TCS, said in a statement that the development team at TCS Interactive had to overcome challenges optimizing the controllers so that the wheelchair participants didn’t win all of the time, as wheelchairs move faster than runners.
“The TCS New York City Marathon video game was a really ambitious project for our team,” Taylor said. “Similar to the marathon, we wanted to make the game as inclusive as possible, which meant we needed interactive and immersive options for both runners and the wheeler athletes. We ended up with this idea for a wheelchair trainer, similar to a bike trainer, that would allow wheeler athletes to use their own personal chairs as a controller for the game. We even created race chair playable character models that they could choose from. This is something we’re extremely proud of, where we have created one of the only interactive games that was built to be inclusive of the handicapped community.”
The team had to balance the sensitivity of the wheelchair trainer to create a fair and balanced competitive experience for the player, no matter the controller they use.