By Operation Rainfall Contributor / July 2nd, 2013
Computer Games Boot Camp (CGBC) is an event that has been held every year in July at Monash University’s Clayton campus since 2009. It started as a small event lasting for only three days in the mid-year school holidays of 2009. From 2010 onwards, the main event has lasted for a full week; last year was also the first to see a follow-up weekend event at Monash’s Caulfield campus in December. 2011 saw the introduction of a pre-CGBC weekend at Caulfield a week before the main event, and last year, for the first time, students at Monash’s Sunway campus in Malaysia were able to join in on the fun.
CGBC is a fantastic event for gamers of all sorts, but especially high school students. You’ll meet like-minded people of your own age there; some of my best friends now are people I bumped into at CGBC 2010. I even met my now-boyfriend there at the Smash Bros. tournaments on the final day. CGBC is an event specifically catered for students in years 9 – 12, the final four years of high school. Anyone within that age group can sign up online, and as someone who’s been for the past three years, I can tell you it’s definitely worth it. The entire event is free. In this article, I’m going to be talking about my experiences as both a student and, this year, as a volunteer.
Each day starts at 10 AM sharp, with students being let into the Engineering Hall at Monash and having their names checked off. The mornings are full of preview presentations, during which a presenter gets 5 minutes to give a brief overview of what their presentation will be about. They’ll get their own room for their full presentation later in the day. There are also some tournaments up on the main stage that members of the audience can participate in for prizes.
The free stuff—so much free stuff. I scored an iPod in my first year just for getting up and saying a few short words. That same day, someone got a PSP for just sitting in the right place at the right time. There are TONS of giveaways at this event and opportunities for free things all throughout the week.
After a lunch break (during which students are booted from the main hall), everyone is let back in for a couple of hours of presentations. There are a couple in the main hall and plenty more down in the Rotunda, which is a short walk across campus from the Engineering Hall; volunteers escort students to the Rotunda so they don’t get lost on the way. Most of the presentations that were advertised for five minutes in the morning will be in the Rotunda; the biggest names for the day, however, will give their presentations in the main hall. My presentation for oprainfall was one of those in the Rotunda.
The presentations are one of the most exciting things about CGBC for anyone whose dream it is to work in the gaming industry. People from the industry come in to talk about what they do, what it’s like, and how they came to get there. And it’s not just the gaming industry any more—CGBC has been expanding to include the IT, television, and movie industries as well. I’d like to reiterate: All of this will cost you nothing.
Following the conclusion of the presentations, the students are let loose on the consoles with three hours to play until their heart’s content. The inside of the Engineering Hall is littered with Xbox 360s, PS3s, and Wiis with all kinds of different games. Then, there’s the Retro Corner, which features a few of the older, classic consoles. Presentations in the Rotunda at this point are swapped out in favour of tournaments, where participants can earn points for their teams.
Yes, there are teams. Teams have to be sorted out and have a list of members submitted before the end of the second day so points can start being awarded. If you can’t find a team by then, you’ll just be assigned to a house team. The team with the most number of points at the end of the week will get t-shirts that have their team name and logo printed on them, for each member. The best team names I’ve seen to date are Watermelon Republic and Cheeseburger Backflip; the latter even made an awesome logo.
I was unable to attend CGBC as a student last year because I had graduated from high school, so I signed on as a volunteer instead. Anyone who attends any of Monash’s campuses or who takes an IT course at another university is eligible to volunteer.
Volunteering is even more fun than attending as a student. You’ll be helping to run the event, organising tournaments, keeping the students away from the consoles during presentations—in short, ensuring everything runs smoothly. The other volunteers are a great bunch of people, and a lot of fun stuff happens backstage. I managed to borrow someone’s Portal gun for a photo, and I scored a free Zekrom toy from one of the guys.
Now that you know a little more about the event itself, feel free to watch and listen to my presentation! I apologise in advance for talking too fast; apart from that, please, enjoy!
Images courtesy of Mark ten Buuren.
CGBCComputer Games Boot Camppresentation