Trading Card Spotlight - Carrie Swidecki

Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Carrie Swidecki, who is displayed on card number 922 from the Superstars of 2014 Collection.   Carrie Swidecki is a Multi Guinness World Record Holder who is best known for setting the overall longest video game marathon of all time by playing Just Dance 2015 for over 138 hours.  Carrie made history becoming the 1st female to set the Dance Dance Revolution marathon world record by playing Dance Dance Revolution for over 15 hours at the US Obesity Prevention Summit in Charleston, West Virginia. She raised over $7,000 on twitch for the Children's Miracle Network hospitals while she set the overall longest video game marathon of all time. Carrie was inducted into the International Video Game Hall of Fame in October in Ottumwa, Iowa.

Do you remember your first video game / arcade you played and what do you remember about it?

As a kid, I grew up playing pinball at the bowling alley where I was on a bowling league. In between my turns I would rush over to the arcade to play the Creature from the Black Lagoon Pinball Machine. Every Sunday, my parents took us to have pizza at various Pizza restaurants. I loved hanging out in the arcade area and I used to have the arcade inventory memorized at each Pizza place. When I was 5 years old my parents bought the Atari 2600 console for us. My favorite game was Pitfall. The 1st game I stayed up all night long to marathon and finish was Bubble Bobble with my brother at my Aunt’s house. I loved the Paddle controller for games like Kaboom and Circus Atari. Later, my mom bought us the original Nintendo console. Every Sunday, my mom took us to the Nintendo aisle at Toys R Us. I could stand there all day long and just admire the box art. My favorite game on the original Nintendo is the Legend of Zelda and I loved Tetris on the original Game Boy. When I was 23 years, I rediscovered myself in the arcade with Dance Dance Revolution. I fell in love with the community and world record dreams began.

What are your opinions about today’s generation of video games?  How do you compare them to older, classic games?

It’s an exciting time to be a gamer!! Everyday barriers are being broken. Gaming has become embedded into pop culture, which has allowed this generation to redefine what a celebrity is, forms of digital entertainment, how people connect and socialize, the birth of esports, careers in the 21st century, and world records.  Gaming communities have expanded beyond local arcades or gathering at someone’s home to being globally connected through various social media. No longer do you physically have to be at a location in interact, socialize, or compete in a gaming event. Now anyone can participate bringing diversity to the gaming community. Celebrities are no longer defined by actors, artists, or athletes. The gaming community is producing celebrities like Ninja and streamers through social media outlets like Twitch, Youtube, Facebook Gaming, and Mixer. Watching gameplays over the internet is competing with cable television as a source of entertainment. Gamers are redefining what an athlete is and what defines a sport with the birth of esports. The schools are teaching technology, coding, and video gaming in the classrooms to prepare students for careers in gaming the 21st century. Last, the gaming culture has our own awards and world records with the Game Awards, International Video Game Hall of Fame, and Guinness World Records Gaming Edition. I can’t wait to see where gaming will be in a few years!!!

Did you ever think when you were younger you would be on a Video game Trading card?

No. Growing up as a kid, trading cards were sports, movie, or comic book related. It’s exciting to see that gamers hold just as much value as baseball or football trading cards. A few years ago Beckett Grading authenticated my Twin Galaxies Video Game Trading Card after I autographed it at Arcade Expo in Banning, Ca. That’s something that I never imagined would happen in my lifetime.

Have you ever received any media coverage for your appearance on the Trading Card?  If so, where?

While covering my Guinness World Record marathons and my induction into the International Video Game Hall of Fame I have shared my Twin Galaxies Video Game Trading Card with the media. I have also donated autograph Trading Cards for charity and school fundraisers.

When did you first meet Walter day and where was it at?

I met Walter Day for the very 1st time at the Twin Galaxies Festival in Banning, Ca. I’ve always wanted to meet him in person after seeing the documentary King of Kong: A fistful of Quarters, so I hopped in my car and drove down for the day. It’s not every day you get to meet a legend in gaming.

If you could describe Walter Day in one word, what would that word be and why?

Humble, He is the nicest person in the world.

Are you still involved with gaming today, and what role do you play?

I’m far from retirement. After training nonstop for 7 years for marathons world records, I took 2 years off to train for my upcoming world records. My next marathon world records are reflection of the evolution of Exergaming and me. In the past my emphasis was about fighting childhood and adult obesity. I used to be 210 pounds, plus size 18-20, and obese. I lost 75 pounds and went down 10 sizes while chasing my world record dreams. My past world records were a reflection of this, but now I am a skin cancer survivor. It’s important that my next world record brings awareness to this as well. It’s now a part of who I am. All my past world records were set in my 30s and now I’m 42. My iconic 138 hour Just Dance marathon world record has stuck for almost 4 years with 10-20 people a year attempting to unsuccessfully break it. At 42, I will break my own world record in hopes of breaking barrier for women in their 40s in the gaming world. We will have a voice in competitive gaming.

When did you first play the Just Dance Video Game?

I discovered Just Dance at the 2011 E3 Expo. I instantly fell in love with Just Dance 3 and Dance Central 2. Ubisoft and Harmonix had their stages right across from each other and I traded off between each stage. The last home console I owned was the original Nintendo. Since 2000, I had only played Dance Dance Revolution in the arcades. The 2011 E3 Expo introduced me the Xbox 360 and the Kinect!! I was a guest of Konami. They sponsored me to set my 1st Guinness World Record in June 2011 at the US Obesity Prevention Summit in Charleston, West Virginia. There I became the 1st woman to hold the Dance Dance Revolution World Record after playing Dance Dance Revolution for over 15 hours.

What is your favorite track from the past games and why?

My favorite Dance Dance Revolution arcades cabinets where 4th Remix Plus, Extreme, Supernova 2, and X2. My favorite artist was Captain Jack. Dance Central 2 is my favorite out of that series. My favorite track is Flo Rida “Club Can’t Handle Me”. My all-time favorite Just Dances game in the series is Just Dance 4 and my favorite track is “All You Gotta Do Is Just Dance” on Just Dance 2018, because I do a cameo in the actual game play!!! Plus, it’s a great song.

What other games today do you play and what are your favorite genres of games?

The last 2 years I have been playing Pokémon Go. The Bakersfield Pokémon Go community has over 5,000 members. It reminds me of the Dance Dance Revolution Community during it’s prime. Every time someone levels up or gets a rare shiny Pokémon the community celebrates. We do monthly community days, daily meetups, and go on raids togethers. I love to game in public, because I love to socialize and hangout with my friends in person. As a kid we hung out at friends’ houses to game or road our bikes to the arcade, then I found myself at the arcades again with Dance Dance Revolution, Dance Central and Just Dance I had my own corner at Otto’s Video Games and More where I trained and set my world records, and now I am an explorer with Pokémon Go. Every day is an adventure with Pokémon Go. You never know where the next Pokémon will take you and who you will meet up with on the way. I love that aspect of the game. Plus, it keeps you moving. I love the fitness/ healthy aspect of Pokémon Go.

If you could own one arcade game or pinball game, what would it be and why?  

I currently own a mint condition Japanese import Dance Dance Revolution Extreme arcade cabinet. I would love to get a few more DDR machines, plus an original Donkey Kong cabinet. What person wouldn’t want their own arcade in their own home. Slowly, I’m getting there.

Where do you see Video gaming in the next 20 years?

I see Video Gaming evolving to become mainstream.  Perhaps, Mobile Gaming will become more popular than console gaming due to the accessibility to the masses. Or, Cable television will be replaced with streaming content from Twitch, YouTube, and other digital services. Gamers will be valued as athletes and we’ll see companies like Nike incorporating gamers apart of their ad campaigns and featuring them on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Gaming Award Shows on television will become household events like the Oscars or Grammys. I’m excited to see where gaming will be in 20 years and hopefully at 62 years old, I’ll still be setting world records!!!