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After a trip to Seattle (space needle, Pike Place Market, etc.) last night the US Imagine Cup teams started today at the Microsoft store in down town Bellevue WA. There they had breakfast, tried out a lot of cool hardware (I saw the tablet PC is really want) and had a chance to play a new Kinect game that will not actually be released until later in the week. That was followed by a bunch of training sessions. They had choices between things like making money doing Windows Phone development, making music with Windows Phones, creating districted applications using REST, the future of multi-platform game development, and several others. We even had a special breakout session for team mentors which we hope will help them help even more and better teams next year. If that is possible. And of course there was food. There is always food.

But the most important event of the day was the announcement of the final teams. The four final teams in each of game for XNA, game for Windows Phone and the premier event the software design competition. The winner of that event will be traveling to New York City for the world-side finals in July. Tomorrow, Monday, these teams will have their final chance to impress the judges with their projects and presentations. Presentations are powerfully important of course. In any case the finalists who will be competing tomorrow in the ultimate determination are (in no particular order):

Software Design

  • TTHV - Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, Central Connecticut State University
  • Uca Ursus - University of Central Arkansas
  • Lifelens - Anderson School of Management, Harvard School of Business, University of California San Diego, University of California Davis, University of Central Florida
  • Note-Taker - Arizona State University

Game Design –Windows/XBOX (XNA):

  • Bloom - Tribeca Flashpoint Academy
  • Plump Pixel - California State University Chico
  • Righteous Noodle - University of Houston
  • XozGaming - Lick-Wilmerding High School

Game Design Mobile (Zune/Phone)

  • Big Impact Bear - University of Houston
  • EDO - Arizona State University
  • Team AAMP - University of Houston
  • Team Mintrus - Columbia College in Chicago, University of Louisville

All of the teams have the rest of the day free. Many will be exploring the area around Bellevue or taking mass transit into Seattle. The finalists, I suspect, will be fine tuning their presentations and applications based on feedback from the first round. Good luck to all the teams.