MoComCon 2022 Essay Contest Winners

MoComCon 2022 Essay Contest Winners

First Place

Chess: My Life Changing Game, by Joseph Mathew

In my early years of education, especially in the first three years of elementary school, I was always reprimanded for my bad behavior in the form of a color-coded behavior chart. Every time I made silly mistakes the teacher would move my name on the chart down a color. This chart constantly reminded me that I wasn’t worthy enough to be in my teachers’ class and that I was at a lower disposition compared to my peers. Seeing my actions reflected in bright color on the wall
that all my peers stared at, caused devastating blows to my self-esteem.

However, after I discovered chess, it changed everything. Chess is the game that impacted my life because it improved my intellectual abilities and my mental state. During the summer break of first grade, I visited my grandmother. The summer heat was unbearable. There was nothing to do but watch TV, and even that was boring. I would lay on the ground, hoping that the marble tiles would cool my body. One day, my grandmother gave me a puzzle to do. I got interested in them, spending days solving puzzles. Recognizing my puzzle solving skills, she registered me in a nearby chess club which was the starting of my interest in chess.

After that, I played chess continually with a passion. It improved all my intellectual abilities including problem-solving, creative thinking, and memory skills. All these benefits can be seen as proof of my new academic achievement. In the following school year, I took a national cognitive test and scored very high. Chess also helped me to solve the nonverbal batteries and the other three batteries in the CogAT test. This allowed me to get into the gifted and talented programs.

After discovering chess, my behavior on the color chart was always good. I strongly believe that playing chess helped me to think ahead, calculate, and solve problems. Winning in many chess competitions changed my attitude. Mentally, I became strong and confident. I felt like I was worthy in front of others because of my chess skills. My higher interest in chess left me no free time for horseplay. My teacher more often recognized my good behavior and reflected it on the color chart. This higher self-esteem acquired because of playing chess,
helped me to develop leadership qualities that helped me throughout my life. Overall, my mental state was much better after discovering chess.

I am always grateful to my grandma for finding my hidden talent in chess. She made me respectable among my peers. The game chess made my brain think versatile and solve harder challenges

Second Place

How Cards Became my Happiness, by Eliana Kim

My game is yet so simple, but so powerful that it can bring a whole family together in a time of global crisis. My game is still so ordinary, but you don’t know what it could do to a person in times of struggle. My game is cards.

Now, I know you all know about “go fish” and “Uno,” or any other card game. And you’re probably thinking I’m out of my mind. Well I’m not, because simple card games have changed my life. It all started on an ordinary day in the middle of a not-so-ordinary pandemic. My family and I decided to gather and play cards as a way to make time pass. I mean, what else are you supposed to do in the middle of a global pandemic when you can’t leave your house? We started playing go fish, and then a round of Uno. At first when we played, we didn’t realize it, but the more we played, the more our joy grew. Our worries faded from our heads during the 10 minutes we played cards. Also, the more we spent time together, the more we bonded as a family, and it was all because of this simple game. We played and played that night, and when we were finished, my family and I decided to do this the next night too so we could have some good ol’ family fun. That one night led to countless other nights of card games with my family, and doing so continued our joy and love as a family, and strengthened the bond we had.

Fast forward to an entire year later. I am still playing cards every night with my family. I know that whenever I have a bad day or I feel so sad, I can play cards at the and of the day with my family. When I play cards with my family, my whole entire body loosens because I know that I can be together with my family, and just be myself. Just because of a standard deck of 54 cards, my entire life loosened up and became happier every single night and day, because I could have a countless number of problems, but those problems fade away from my head as soon as a deck of cards hit my hand. My family and I also grew so happy and together, for almost the first time in my life since our Disney trip in 2016. Before cards, I felt like my life was empty. Now, playing cards is my happy place. No matter where I am, if I am with my family and a deck of cards, I will have fun.

How about you play some card games with your family? All you need is a deck of cards and it will guarantee a good 10 minutes of unfiltered joy. Now this is why the game that changed my life is cards.

Third Place

Friendship Across Time Zones by Bailey McFadden

Minecraft is a game that is often categorized as a ‘sandbox game’. This means that it’s a virtual land where users can create their own worlds and experiences, using building blocks that come with the main game and others that are created by users to add to the game. Users can also create multiplayer servers, which are worlds specifically designed for mass player use.

When I was 10, I downloaded the Minecraft desktop version. A couple months prior, I had moved to a new state and the only people I knew were the family that lived there and a few family friends. I was
lonely. Around that time, I had discovered (and subsequently gotten obsessed with) the gaming side of Youtube, particularly Minecraft. My favorite was a Youtuber who owned his own Minecraft server and
made videos on it. The first thing I did, when I had the chance, was join his server. The server, Skycade, had its own microculture built around the server’s capabilities and add-ons. For instance, you could claim land and then switch that claimed land over into somebody else’s control, so many people would build houses in groups and then sell them to people using the in-game currency, creating mini-towns. It’s through this process that I met my first ever internet friend – Anna.
She was 2 years older than me and one of the smartest people I had ever talked to. She was eloquent, kind, and she played like somebody who had played for years. I still remember the day she told me her real name; It felt like a huge honor. Internet safety had been drilled into both of us – it was like she was telling me “I trust you”. Over time, she stopped playing and we lost contact. Through her, I met another friend. She never told me her real name, I knew her as Husky. She and I would talk for hours almost everyday. She was Icelandic, and the two of us would play a game where I would run something through Google Translate, then change it into Icelandic and make her guess what it said. It was always funny, since apparently the translations were very far from correct. She had named herself Husky because her family
bred huskies. She had an older brother who was off at college and her grandmother lived with her family. Even though the two of us stopped talking years ago, I still know a million facts about her.

Minecraft provided an escape from a world that seemed out of my control most of the time, as well as provided a way for me to make deep friendships with people I never would have met otherwise. Minecraft is a conduit of friendship and deep bonds for so many people and has been since its creation. Playing Minecraft changed how I interact with people on and offline, as well as provided connection in a time when I needed it, and through this changed my life.