I got my first taste of UIT at the first UIT High School Hackathon where my friend and I attended to hopefully create our first app! When we got there I was put in a group with the rest of Glace Bay High School students and partnered with Carol Louie as a group mentor. Carol recommended that we make a Flappy Bird like game. By the end of that hackathon we made a lovely Flabby Bird knockoff called My First Trip to France, which consisted of a nose called Pete McSmells flying through the streets of Paris dodging giant pillars of cheese. If you don’t believe me, Carol Louie has a video demo still on her website here.
One year later a second UIT High School Hackathon comes around and I was sure that I wasn’t going to miss it. The next year had a smaller group of people but it was just as fun. And since it was during my grade 12 year, I was sure I was going to attend UIT after I was finished with high school. So I got to see Gavin Uhma again, I got to meet the current staff of UIT, and even saw the newly renovated UIT classroom and lounge.
Attending the UIT Hackathons really got me interested in learning about code and how ‘easy’ it is to create a mock-up of any popular mobile game. It made me want to learn how to create my own mobile games and it was a great introduction for me to programming. One team during a hackathon used Scratch to create their mobile game, which seems like a great way to begin game development. Not only has these hackathons brought me into the programming world, it helped me meet some great new friends with very similar interests. Hackathons are even a great team building exercise because it forces everyone to work together.
I think anyone who has the opportunity should attend a hackathon. It may make you nervous if it’s your first time, but really it’s just a fun activity. You can meet new people and either get an introduction to programming or show off your skills to everyone. Not to mention there are always great prizes. And even if you don’t accomplish much compared to the other team, it’s really just for a fun, non-competitive, learning experience.
A big dream of mine right now is to become a video game developer. Mostly just because I like playing video games and having a job that is related to video games in any way is a win in my book. While that dream may take a lot of personal connections, hard work, and luck to achieve. If I were to actually live it, the very first step would probably be to create a mobile game. And thanks to the hackathon, I’ve got that step already started. I definitely look forward to any future hackathons to test my new skills and also hopefully start making some more mobile games because I think making that was quite fun.