There was a sense of anxiety as our class walked into the dark TV studio for the GD33 Peer Presentations. Faculty members and students sat rigid in their seats, casting their critiquing gaze upon us as if asking, “Are you prepared to be here?” We sat down and looked at the presenter who validated our fears. He issued us a challenge: Create a presentation on a specific complex topic (that he provided) and stand on stage to deliver it to the entire crowd. We only had 30 minutes to complete it… Would GD33 sink, or swim?
But hey, you don’t want to hear about that! You want to hear about the party that happened afterwards.
The bright glow of TV screens started the Game Design Welcome Party. Typical of a gamer crowd, half the room picked up a console and started playing. The other half rushed to the table of assorted munchies and cold drinks. As a term 1 student, it was a bit intimidating to be in such a large crowd, but by now we had met all of our instructors and had seen other students in the hallway (or sleeping on couches). It didn’t take long before the ice was broken and people were conversing as if they were long-time friends.
The school made sure that GD33 felt welcomed. Gaming tournaments were put on and pizza was ordered. One group was formed to play Munchin, another lined up to play Street Fighter 4 on the big screen, and others were cheering on their classmates as they struggled to remember the controls for the N64 and Gamecube. Being 30 years old, I figured I had a good chance at a 1997 game, so I mostly played as Sean Bean in 007. Moustafa Tharwat from term 2 kept track of the tournament sign-ups and crossed off names as players were eliminated. In the end, term 1 was able to leave its mark: GD33 Frankie Fasola won Super Smash Bros: Melee, GD33 Janel Jolly (me) won Goldeneye, and GD30 Anthony Bruno won Street Fighter 4.
As soon as the smell of hot cheese and pepperoni entered our nostrils, we all made a mad bolt to the pizza line-up. It was great to see John Robertson from Administration dishing out the pizza, mainly because he was a key person in guiding me through the process to apply for this program. With the ambience of laughter and retro games in the background, he asked me how I was enjoying the school. There was no hesitation in my reply: “I have never been happier.”
P.S., Maria from GD33 also did a review of the party, Make sure to check it out!