Gamer Profile: Carrie Swidecki

[youtube id=”c3Ef-eVuldw” width=”633″ height=”356″]

There was something cute about those twin dragons Bub and Bob that hooked me into the game. Plus I loved the simplicity of the graphics and the background music. This was the 1st game that I became obsess with getting both a high score and trying to complete the game. I would blow bubbles against the wall in between moving up levels and killing enemies to get max points. I would restart the game if I missed any bonus food items on a level to max my score. Bubble Bobble is also the 1st game that I stayed up all night long, so I could make it to the 100th level to complete the game. It is the only game that I have fully completed on Nintendo and I was 10 years old!! I like to say it’s the game that made me a hardcore gamer!! ~Carrie Swidecki

Carrie Swidecki 2

Favorite Classic Game: Bubble Bobble

Current working on: In training for The Summer of 2014 World Record attempt:

[youtube id=”gfJsPt98ODw” width=”633″ height=”356″]

My Gaming History:

It’s no wonder I had an instant connection with exergaming, because I’ve been a gamer my whole life. I started gaming when I was 5 years old with Atari 2600, Nintendo, and Tetris on the original Gameboy! My mom put a couch in my brother’s room, because every day the neighborhood kids would come over to challenge me. Every weekend my mom took us to Toys R Us to walk the Nintendo aisle. There was something magical walking down the large aisles, seeing all the graphics on the cover of the Nintendo boxes, and pulling the ticket to get the game at the counter.

As a result I’m currently trying to collect all the Nintendo games in mint condition boxes as well as Atari games. I still have all my Atari and Nintendo games from my childhood! On the weekends I grew up playing Canasta, Dominos, and board games with my family. Every Sunday morning I played pinball at the bowling alley when it was league time. My favorite pinball machine is Swamp Thing! On Sunday’s my family always went to pizza. When I was a kid all the pizza places had huge arcades. I couldn’t eat my slice of pizza fast enough to play my favorite classic arcade games!

[youtube id=”3q1fu-s-CF4″ width=”633″ height=”356″]

I quit gaming for 6 years to focus on college. At 23 years old and obese, I came home to gaming. The arcade holds a special place in my heart.  It is where I rediscovered myself. Little did I know the 1st 10 steps I took on Dance Dance Revolution would change my life. This is where my exergaming story begins!

My story:

Everyday I’m waiting for someone to wake me up from this dream. 13 years ago I was 210 pounds, plus size 18-20, and living my life in the past until I discovered exergaming! Within 6 years from graduating from high school I gained 90 pounds. I went from being a 125 pound athlete to being obese.

carrie Swidecki at 210 pounds

While chasing a dream I lost 75 pounds, went down 10 sizes, became an advocate to fight childhood obesity, and set 5 World Records! Every gamer dreams of being in the Guinness Book of World Records Gamer’s Edition and on January 3, 2014 my dream came true. Guinness featured me as 1 out 4 gamers in their 2014 Gamer’s Edition after Just Dancing over 49 hours to fight childhood obesity. It’s an honor and the greatest moment in my life to represent the healthy side of gaming after surviving obesity.

On June 15-17, 2013 at Otto’s Video Games and More in Bakersfield, CA I set two Guinness World Records at the same time by Just Dancing 49 hours 3 minutes 22 seconds for both the Longest Marathon on a Motion-Sensing Dance Game and the Longest Marathon on a Dance/Rhythm Game.  I made history by becoming the only person in the world to hold a world record for marathon play on all three major dance games: Just Dance, Dance Central, and Dance Dance Revolution as well as the 1st female to set them. All to bring awareness to using exergaming in the schools to right childhood obesity. 

Carrie’s Gamer Profile

[youtube id=”eHxTqmoC9nQ” width=”633″ height=”356″]

 CarrieSwidecki.com

Be sure to check out our other celebrity gamer profiles.

Gamers Health: The Journey

gamers health

It may seem strange that a fat guy like me is giving advice on being a healthy gamer, but considering I used to be twice the size I am now I believe I can help some of my fellow gamers nonetheless. Regardless of stereotype, recent data has shown that many gamers are overweight, out of shape and have a bad diet, but one does not have to give up gaming to get in better health.

One thing I learned is never try to do something you do not think you can keep up forever. What this means is if you start running 7 days a week and get fit that’s great, but if you cannot kept it up chances are you may give it up totally and revert back to the way you were.

A constant improvement is better than a roller-coaster and in the end even if you do not end up with a hard body you will be in better health which means you will live longer for more game time, win, win.

Now everyone is different and you should always talk with your doctor and if you are young, your parents as well, but these are some small steps you can take to be a bit more healthy.

Game Food

gamer food

I could tell you to always stop gaming when you eat, but that is not realistic for some. Again, the key is trying to fit health into what you know you will do anyway. There is no need to crash so low and hit rock bottom and then need to give up gaming altogether. Small steps can mean a lot and in many cases once you start you will want to continue and expand.

If you play games with people you will at one time or another need to eat and the first thing I would recommend is to eat smaller portions during gaming and reserve your bigger meal for when you are not gaming.

For example, when playing a game eat something small and quick like almonds or a breakfast bar instead of a value meal or pizza. Often when gaming you will just keep grabbing food until you are full which can lead to overeating where as it is a little less likely if you are actually concentrating on your meal. Portion control is key.

Second, replace the foods you eat when gaming. Sure, I could say give up the burger and fries or the pizza or the hot pocket, but honestly if you are not ready to say goodbye to the fast-food it’s not going to happen. However, you can train yourself to eat healthy while gaming and then if you must, have the greasy stuff when out or with friends.

Fresh fruits and veggies

One of the main reasons we don’t eat healthy is because it is forced on us or it’s completely not available. To remedy this discover healthy foods you do like and then surround yourself with them. For instance if you have a sweet tooth while gaming sample different fruits and then pick an assortment of those and  try eating them while gaming.

What happens is your mind will accept the new foods because you are still focused on the game. If you thought to yourself “I’m eating an apple instead of skittles” then you might stop, but if you are playing and into the game and just naturally grab some grapes your mind will get used to it and you won’t even think about needing to grab candy anymore.

The same goes for what you drink. You might hate diet soda, juice and water, but when gaming and if you are thirsty you will accept almost anything. I began by switching to diet cola and then seltzer water and went from drinking 6 litters a day of soda to drinking water 90 percent of the time.

It’s all about setting the mood. If you know you are sitting down for that World of Warcraft raid, surround yourself with fruits and veggies and water and when it’s time to grab something that will be what you grab. After a few weeks it will become second nature and believe me once you start eating the good stuff you will want less of the bad stuff.

The younger you are the harder this may be to do since you may not notice yet what a bad diet can do to you, but over time small changes can add up to a lot leading to a better you.

Next time we will talk about adding exercise to your gaming life. Until then, if you have healthy foods that you eat during gaming we’d love to hear about them.

The 30 Plus Gamer

Team Red-Eye

There are a lot of us gamers that either have just past the thirty mark or will be soon enough. I thought back on my earlier days of gaming and the difference between then and now on a variety of subjects, but for this one let us explore what we use to do or tolerate that we no longer can in our advancing age.

24 Hour + Gaming Sessions

In my twenties, I could go to a LAN party and game all night. The truth was I was just as tired then, but somehow I got a gamers second wind allowing me to plow through those nights of Action Half-Life and Quake 2 Rail Arena. When the Everquest days came, the crack head mentality took over and though I was dead in my seat, I could perform the necessary tasks to play the game.

Now, I find myself laughing at the idea of losing good sleep over a game. It does not mean that a good gaming session won’t kept me up, but I would prefer going to bed at a reasonable hour and starting again the next morning than burning the midnight oil. I have also become immune to coffee and sugar free Red Bull.

Stupid Gamers

I never tolerated stupidity, but I would deal with it because I wanted to keep playing. In games like Counter Strike and Rainbow Six we would come across a ton of ass hats, but unless they were really detrimental to the team we would let them stay.

Today I can’t stand them. Everyone acts as if at any moment they will become the next internet sensation and so you have the people trying to be funny in Ventrilo constantly. You have the internet pimp who hits on anything with a female sounding voice. My favorite is the fake drunk or high gamer who pretends their lack of game is due to intoxication. This is where having the ability to kick someone comes into play. I have banned so many people I have a mastery skill in it. Gaming may not be serious business, but if you act like a five year old in my group you get a time out.

Bad Food

Sadly, I was a big guy long before video games, but at least I use to split my time between the NES and baseball, football and basketball. Once I hit my twenties all the activity outside went out the window except trips to fast food restaurants and the door for the delivery guy.

It was so easy back then. Even though we could see each other getting larger, it did not matter. I mean what beats Smothered Cheese Fries and an all nighter of Shogo? FPS and RTS games were made for pizza and finger food and if you could get your hand on some Jolt Cola you were ahead of the game like a low ping bastard.

Today your doctor shows you your stats and you’re encumbered with a D.O.T. that could kill you in ten years. Most of us will not give up games, but if we want to continue to play, we have to replace that Hot Pocket with a grilled chicken breast and a sweet potato. The Mountain Dew has to be replaced with water and say goodbye to smoke breaks of the wacky and non-wacky variety. In addition, you might need to use that treadmill for something besides a clothes rack, but you can play Angry Birds while working out the doctor says.

Aging Gracefully

There are a ton of more things we’ve had to change or give up and we will cover this and more in the next edition. For now, what have you changed or given up from your early days of gaming to now?