Last night Microsoft’s TechEd conference kicked off the annual delegate event, this year titled ‘Hyped’. The venue was, incidentally, at the convention centre; a slightly disappointing change from MovieWorld in 2007.
As we were leaving the centre after our last session of the day, we couldn’t help but notice the lawn chess and sumo suits being set up outside. When we returned at 6:30pm, the event was in full swing.
There were four primary zones defined: ‘Hyper Activity’ (sports), ‘Hyper Arena’ (comedy & trivia), ‘Hyper Laser’ (laser tag and a bar) and the ‘Hyped Out’ bar and food plus movies and gaming. I honestly didn’t make it to the Hyper Laser until it was being packed up (too early!) and I didn’t participate in the other activities, although I’d signed the liability waiver.
The sports area at the north of the centre contained dodge ball, some giant ball soccer, a mechanical surfboard machine and gladiator fight off.
Outside the centre a large rock climbing wall was erected, and underneath the centre laser tag had been set up. To the southern end, the aforementioned sumo suits and chess plus food and a bar and a theatre screening movies.
It wasn’t until 8pm that the comedy and trivia area was opened (a mistake) which was half way through the event. Had this area been available earlier, it would have created much more space inside. There just wasn’t much room to move and it was hard to see how long a queue had formed for the activities.
The comedy kicked off just past eight o’clock to a warm reception. Comedian Justin Hamilton had an impressive opening act before we were passed to the music trivia MC for several rounds of Australia’s most baffling music trivia.
After initial rounds, three were left to win a mouse and webcam. A bit cheap, really. Our comedic experience continued for a final laugh out loud set before making way to the ‘band bash'; and ingenious way to not spend money. Delegates with musical talent were asked to form ad hoc bands and play on stage.
We naturally feared the worst, but it actually paid off in the first half hour. As the night clocked closer to eleven o’clock, people started missing verses in such Aussie anthems such as ‘Khe San’ and ‘Working Class Man’.
Thus, the night wound to a close. Much respect to those who dared to take to the stage, a gutsy effort which mostly paid off.
Let’s start with the positives.
- The comic adventures of Justin Hamilton were brilliant, and had people almost rolling in the isles.
- The food range was great, in fact I thought the food in general throughout was of an excellent range and quality. Would have been nice to have more places to sit down though.
- The range of activities would have been sufficient, had the delegates room to spread out into the aforementioned comedy theatre earlier.
- Movie selection was decent, would have liked to watch The Avengers on a larger screen, but had watched it a few times recently.
On to the negatives…
- Honestly, I think that there could have been a few changes which would have greatly improved the evening. Opening the comedy lounge 6:30pm is a no brainer.
- Secondly, booking a proper musical act would have been nice. I dig audience participation, but it shouldn’t have been a headline activity.
- Thirdly, it would have been nice to see some decent prizes. A mouse and web cam are built into the cheapest netbooks…
- Fourthly, the activities were packed away far too early. By 9:00pm not much was left running outside the comedy hall.
- Lastly, the food was a nice mix of different styles, but the drink options were bordering on asinine. Two cheap wine options and two cheap and nasty full strength beer options are pretty sub par for an event with so many zero alcohol activities. If we’re going to drink and exclude ourselves from activities it would be nice if the drinks were worth it.
Anyhow, always room for improvement, right?