BC hosts a special day for gamers

Carl E. Littleberry Jr., Reporter

Bakersfield College hosted its first annual Extra-Life Gamer Day consisting of a six-hour gaming marathon spread across a multitude of gaming platforms.

Admission into the event cost participants $15 with the charge covering food and drinks for the entirety and entrace into a raffle for gaming related prizes such as Naruto key-chains and Blood+ pens and paper.

Leading the festivities were a myriad of BC clubs like the Japanese club and others, who set up six total rooms in the MS building on the BC campus.

The rooms consisted of different gaming genres ranging from first-person shooters (FPS), to dungeon-crawlers like Magick, and even a retro room for older gaming fanatics looking for Zelda on Nintendo 64.

A special guest on the day was Bakersfield native and Guinness Record holder Carrie Swidecki, 39.

Swidecki is a second-grade teacher in Bakersfield who also doubles as a professional gamer.

She holds 11 marathon records, with the most recent being her 138 hours and 43 seconds nonstop Dance-Dance feat.

She uses her status as a celebrity gamer to promote fitness in children, as she has started three different after-school programs in the area to promote fitness through gaming.

“Fifteen years ago I was over 200 pounds, and literally, I looked in the mirror one day and said enough was enough. I used my love for games to help me lose weight,” Swidecki said.

“I lost 75 pounds and 10 sizes in a year. I know this works. I mean I know they say playing games is unhealthy, but I am living proof that doesn’t have to be the case.”

Swidecki was recently inducted into the Walter Day Video Game Hall of Fame in Banning, California, and has been nominated for induction into the International Video Game Hall of Fame.

With her induction into the Walter Day VGHOF, Swidecki now has a limited edition TOPPS trading card on display at the site.

Thanks to the help of Swidecki and the many volunteers and participants who attended the event, over $1,200 dollars has been raised so far, according to BC director of student organizations Chad Hildalgo.

In total, $1,500 dollars was the bar set by the students as the proceeds were all being donated to the Lauren Small’s Children’s Miracle Network Hospital.

“We were delighted by the turn out, and thank you to Carrie for hosting a Dance-Dance dance-off,” said Hidalgo.

“We are looking forward to more of these and just want to use our love of games to help out.”