We were out in Seattle for 5 days on what is one of the best trips I’ve ever been on. During our time there we had late nights, horrible jet lag, met some old friends, made some new ones, and got to enjoy the hospitality of Microsoft.
Day 1 – Into the Void
Our journey to Seattle was long and completely destroyed our internal clocks as we left Cardiff at 6am on the 25th, traveled for around 14 hours, then arrived in Seattle at roughly 11am. After departing the airport we traveled to where Microsoft had given us accommodation at the University of Washington. After getting lost a few times we got into our rooms dropped off our bags and went exploring, this gave us a chance to get our bearings and discuss our pitch. One thing I feel I must mention here is that the University of Washington is gorgeous, and I kept forgetting to take pictures so I’ll be using some stock images.
Day 2 – Getting Ready
On the second day there we started off the day by getting all of our event items such as Passes, Schedule, and T-shirts. On the schedule for the day was interviews with film crews, some small photo shoots, and the pitch dry run where we would be critiqued on our pitch to try and improve it by the next day. After performing our dry run we were given some helpful advice which caused us to change a significant portion of our pitch and create a trailer. One thing that struck me about everyone we met was that everyone was super friendly, and as a group we express excitement very poorly which seemed to confuse the interviewers slightly.
Day 3 – It’s All Lead to This!
Our third day was the big day the day we would pitch our game to the panel of judges. After very little sleep and travelling to Microsoft’s Redmond Campus we readied ourselves to be the first team up. We were to do a 10 minute pitch followed by a 20 minute Q&A, we were terrified (or maybe that was just me) but we handled ourselves well with few hiccups.
After our pitch we were interviewed for a live stream by the event manager of the Imagine Cup which was fun. We then went to explore the visitor center of the Redmond Campus and meet some of our friends to discuss the pitch. Riccardo and Myself had to leave the group after a bit to attend Microsoft’s HoloLens academy. The academy was great fun and the HoloLens is one fantastic bit of technology that I’d honestly love to have at home to play with.
Day 4 – Showing the People
On the fourth day in Seattle we were to find out the top 3 teams of each category at an event attended by Satya Nadella. Sadly we didn’t make top 3 but in the end that didn’t matter, we had an amazing time creating HexWorld and went further with it than we ever thought we could.
After the award ceremony we traveled to Microsoft’s exhibition where everyone was to show off their imagine cup projects. This lasted a few hours and we met a lot of people, got to try some cool projects, and destroyed our throats because of what we nicknamed the Welsh Plague (it was just a throat infection).
Day 5 – The End is Near
On the last day in Seattle we traveled to Garfield High School (which excited me greatly as it’s where Jimi Hendrix was taught), whilst there we watched the final showdown between the top teams of each category. Afterwards we were essentially free to explore Seattle before a final party for everyone was thrown.
Overall this was a one of a kind experience that helped us meet new friends, see old friends, and visit one amazing place. If I could do it again I would sadly having graduated I’m no longer eligible to join the competition but I’ll never forget it………..especially with this horrifying panoramic I took where my brother turned his head between shots, I really am bad at taking pictures.