Bits and Bytes: No crying over spilled milk

Imagine Cup is an annual student competition established by Microsoft Corporation. It gathers tech-savvy students from all over the globe to develop software, games, and web applications that will address the contest’s theme: Imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems.

Together with three other friends, I participated in the Game Design Competition of this year’s Imagine Cup. We decided to join because of the following reasons: the recognition of winning in an international competition, the prize money of US$25,000, and the sheer enjoyment of doing something that we like to do—game development.

With those as our motivations, we created a game called Nation Driver, where the player is the leader of his or her own country. He or she has the power to decide the nation’s fate. Of the 696 teams from all over the world who participated in the first round, we were chosen to be part of the top 150 teams who qualified for the second round.

Unfortunately, we were not able to qualify for the third and final round, which was held in Warsaw, Poland. Only 6 of the 150 teams were able to participate in that round.

The excitement of qualifying for the second round boosted my team’s confidence a little too much. The boost in morale, instead of inducing a productive attitude within the team made us complacent, overconfident and lazy. This mindset eventually led to our failure to qualify for the final round and to achieve the goals that we had intended for ourselves.

We learned a lot from the mistake that we made. Allowing complacency to destroy the spirit of competition will surely lead to failure and should never be tolerated. This thought applies to all types of competitions, whether in the field of athletics or academics.

What does the spirit of competition entail anyway?

People compete for many different reasons. Some compete for the prizes at stake. Some compete to make a name for themselves, while there are also some who just compete on a whim. Though their motives may vary, they all have the same goal—to win.

Winning is the end goal of any competition. To stand above the rest of your rivals at the end is a position that every competitor aspires to achieve. However, that will never be attained without sacrifice.

Time is a precious commodity that can never be regained, but when enough or more than enough of it is invested in something worthwhile, it will surely make profit. The same can be said for effort. When both of these are used together, they can make a powerful and infallible combination that will surely take you far.

Aside from sacrificing time and exerting effort, there is also a need to practice discipline. Nothing is more detrimental to success than the neglect of discipline. Lack of discipline was one of the reasons for the downfall of my team. Losing was a hard pill to swallow and it was made even worse by the knowledge that it could have been avoided if only we had been a little more disciplined during the process of creating the game.

Perhaps what is most important is having a positive outlook toward the competition and whatever outcome it will hold. By that, I mean envisioning yourself walking up that stage to the thunderous applause of people congratulating you on your victory. I do not mean inflating your ego, but do keep your eyes on the prize and stay hopeful until the very end.

The competition outcome may have been dismal for my team last year, but that has not discouraged us from thinking of competing again in next year’s Imagine Cup. I hope we will have learned a thing or two from our past experience in the said competition and we will be able to produce a game that will exceed our own expectations, as well as those of the judges.

Armed with the realizations that I have just mentioned, I hope to walk the streets of New York City with my teammates as we participate in the final round of next year’s Imagine Cup. I am certain that as long as we give all the time and effort that will be due, I will not need to just imagine that anymore.

By The LaSallian

17 replies on “Bits and Bytes: No crying over spilled milk”


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