“An extravagant display of enthusiasts indulging themselves in enriching experiences and educational activities related to the IT field”. This was how Dr. Khoo of R.E.A.L Schools, Shah Alam Campus (National Senior Section) and Project Manager of ‘Retro I.T 2017’, summed up the inaugural event that took place on 24 October 2017. Retro I.T was undoubtedly a success and drew attention to the importance of IT education in R.E.A.L Schools’ educational system.
This long-awaited event took weeks of planning and organizing due to the vast diversity of activities and programmes on offer. Held at the campus’ Hall of Character, the objective of Retro I.T was to introduce a platform that cultivates young computer programmers; by giving them the opportunity to design their own arcade games such as ‘R.E.A.L Mario’ and ‘Pacman Bot’ – both throwbacks to popular 80s games.
The judges for the arcade games and series of other competitions were the VIP guests from KDU University College who specialize in game development. They include Mr. Tan Chin Ike, Head of School of Computing and Creative Media from KDU University College. Completing the list of VIPs were R.E.A.L Education Group’s Mr. Kenny Sim, Vice President of Group Corporate Resources; and Dr. Angelo, Vice President of Group Academic and Strategic Communication.
The event commenced with a welcome speech by Dr. Angelo who, among other things, touched on the holistic nature of the school’s promising, young talents. The VIPs and guests were then invited to try out the innovative games that were meticulously designed and ranged from intermediate to difficult levels. The students proudly and confidently presented their game concepts to the judges and were evaluated based on criteria like gameplay, graphics, sound effects, programming, and presentation.
Concurrently, another group of students were playing the R.E.A.L Mario game which involved a different set of dynamics. Success in this game was largely dependant on teamwork, versatility, and intelligence. The objective was to complete a set of tasks and to provide accurate answers in order to advance to the next level. However, no communication is allowed between participants, who were generally successful in coordinating among themselves and managed to accomplish their goals.
The last programme item was the Pacman Bot competition; which required students to creatively design robots that collect pellets within a contained area in order to be carried to another ‘finishing’ area. To achieve the maximum score of 60 points for this challenge, one must have excellent fortitude and knowledge in robot technology and design.
Judging by the miscellaneous set of robots that were cleverly made, this maiden initiative was indeed successful in encouraging students to unleash their creativity while learning about computer graphics, robotics, and programming by designing games, animation, as well as functioning robots. More importantly, it provides unique platforms and opportunities for students to pursue their passion, interests, and talents in various fields.