This year was our 3rd year hosting GIC(Game Impact Challenge) since we launched it 2 years ago in the middle of the pandemic. GIC was born out of the desire to have our game development students and coaches interact and have fun during a one week celebration similar to game jam. The first year’s memory is still vivid as we were in the middle of a pandemic and everyone was so used to hanging out via discord and zoom. Naturally, our GIC took advantage of this and was able to invite people all over the world. As everything in life, things always produce better outcomes when we prepare earlier than not. So the GIC 3.0 planning team got formed with coach Catherine, coach Andy and myself about 4 months ago this year.
And we hosted it last week(Sept 4~8th) and here are our reflections to do more and better next year’s GIC 4.0
Coach Andy’s insights:
Game Impact Challenge was an amazing experience for me. It gave me great opportunities to demonstrate my leadership and teamwork skills. Most importantly it gave me the chance to look at ACF from a different perspective, one that I would not have seen had I just been a coach. It was an opportunity to look at the bigger picture for the massive potential of ACF as an organization, and the GIC this year makes it clear that we have something special going on here.
Overall GIC was a resounding success. The turnout was great, with participants coming from all over the world. It was great to see many showing up for multiple events rather than just one. The events themselves were well-put-together and very fun and engaging. It was great to get a chance to connect with industry professionals like Laura Puerto, who gave a very informative and insightful talk on career opportunities.
Personally, I had a lot of fun hosting the events as it made me feel even more involved. Particularly, the coaches panel was an exciting experience. I had never hosted nor participated in a panel before but it was definitely something I had wanted to try for a long time, so I’m really glad I was able to be a part of it. Hopefully next year I can give my own talk or something. That would be really cool.
All in all, I really enjoyed my time with GIC and hope to see ACF and GIC grow more and more in the years to come.
Coach Catherine’s insights:
The Game Impact Challenge (GIC) was an incredible experience for me, offering unique opportunities for leadership and collaboration. It allowed me to contribute my ideas and take an active role in organizing the game jam. Through this, I developed valuable teamwork skills and connected with fellow ACF coaches. The GIC was a resounding success, with a fantastic turnout from participants worldwide. It provided a unique view of ACF’s potential and highlighted the organization’s special qualities. I can’t wait for GIC to become an even bigger event.
The event featured well-organized and engaging activities, with attendees showing enthusiasm for multiple events. Connecting with industry professionals like Laura Puerto, and Mr.V was enlightening. Personally, hosting events added to my sense of involvement, especially during the coaches’ panel discussion and peer review.
Seeing my students present their mini games from the tech-building season filled me with immense pride. Overall, the GIC was a rewarding experience, and I eagerly anticipate participating in the next one, even if only as an attendee. It undoubtedly had a significant impact on our ACF students and showcased the potential of our organization. I look forward to an even bigger experience next year.
Coach Swatilekha’s insights:
This year’s GIC was honestly lit! Everything was truly well planned, well anticipated, well thought out, and most importantly, superbly executed by the GIC Event Core Committee (Coach Andy and Coach Catherine) under the guidance of Coach Yoonjung. This year, what stood out to me was the global audience and guests we could garner for the event, with joiners from all over the world, thanks to the efforts of our GIC team and the supportiveness of our partners. Game Impact Challenge is one of those unique AND rare opportunities that not only celebrates games but also amplifies the positive impact that gaming, game development, and gamers can have on society and the environment at large. This year, GIC was sustainability-themed, which goes hand in hand with our teen entrepreneurship competition, FIC, and each complements the other very well. I believe that through GIC, ACF can really mark its own unique footprint by using coding, creativity, collaboration, and innovation to make a positive impact.
For GIC 2023, my favorite memory would have to be playing the attendees’ favorite game theme music: such a cool and creative idea! Having the students create their GIC logo versions was also a great way to engage the students themselves to impact the event that is meant to celebrate them directly. Kudos to the GIC team, and I cannot wait to see what subsequent years bring for GIC and ACF! ❣️
Coach Yoonjung’s insights:
It seems like just yesterday when GIC 3.0 planning team got formed and had a diligent weekly prep meeting. Also Coach Swatilekha gratefully helped us whenever we needed her help with social media blast and connecting us with a mentor speaker from Dream Haven. Honestly though, I had a little skeptical voice growing in me during the busy July month when we were all traveling and could not meet weekly while the deadline was fast approaching. However, looking back, what got us through these slow and rough spots while preparing for successful GIC was the accumulation of each year’s experience(derivatives) such as daily event agenda list, sponsorship letter, posters and so on. Most importantly, learning takes its another leap when you apply your own layer on top of what passed on to you as our GIC team experienced first hand this year with amazing turn out and responses from the various participants(coaches, students, mentors). From the opening ceremony to last day’s peer review event, every event we hosted daily at 7pm PDT has a unique theme which attracted even the same crowd that one student attended all 5 night entire sessions. This year’s GIC event was so phenomenal that it is so hard for me to pick the best one so in my mind every event was the winner and keeper for certain but we would be happy to see next year’s GIC planning team paint their creative brush and we are ready to be wowed.
Kevin Ma(a 5th grader who attended our GIC events every night):
I like this GIC events every night because I can see what kind of games my age or older age students have been building and how to come up with their game development ideas. I also like this GIC because they asked me to share my games too I built using Scratch and I was very happy to show and present my project to the people. I want to join the game development team soon and build my favorite game with my team mate and participate in the GIC next year.
Kenneth & Izzy(ACF Game development coaches and game development enthusiasts)
Believe or not, we learned tons while we teach our game teams about comprehensive spectrum level ranging from how to guide them when they struggle most with their nasty bugs to the scheduling challenges inherent in any group activities. They became our mentors by magnificently showing us “being tenacious” and build their games week after week without giving it up and purely enjoying their passion and struggle with their game development journey for a year and more period.
How can we do better and more for our next year’s GIC 4.0:
- Fav game music request and playing them during opening(while waiting for the audience), gather the playlist
- Involving ACF coaches and giving them opportunities
- Sponsorship( prizes and make it bigger events)
- Promote earlier externally
- Bring more students(especially game teams)
- Certain questionnaire passed to the speakers a day before( deep and meaningful questions to the teacher panels for their teachers panel live event night)
- Make a promotion video(30 sec)
- Involve more coaches in the events
- Sending speaker certificates to our guest speakers (Ms. Puerto, Mr. V., Coach Kenneth, Coach Izzy) to make them feel special
- Sending “I Demoed” badges or certificates to the game dev. Teams that presented on the “Peer Review” session
- Proud Organizer certificates for Coach Andy and Coach Catherine (I am happy to make these :))
GIC 3.0 Daily events recording links: https://vimeo.com/user/89272605/folder/17596959