We caught up with @wonderswann on all things photography, gaming and LitRPG! We absolutely adore her photography and creative setpieces – be sure to give Swann a follow on Instagram!
1) Hi Swann! Tell us a little about yourself your gaming adventure so far!
Hello! My gaming adventure started as far back as I can remember (starting with an N64 and my first GameBoy Color – the purple one, of course, and Pokémon Blue). Over the years I have become a Nintendo fan girl, but eventually branched out to appreciate all types of genres. Recently, I have decided to turn my love of gaming into passion projects (like my Instagram photoshoots) and a future career: I write novels based in or around video game themes. The LitRPG genre is severely lacking, and I hope to pave the way!
2) What’s the earliest memory of gaming that you can conjure up?
The earliest memory I have is when my friend got a Nintendo 64 and I went over to his house and we played Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. We played every day for months. I remember when we turned into adult Link for the first time, went to the city and there were zombies everywhere – that sparked my fear of zombies that plagues me to this day! (No “Walking Dead” for me!)
3) We first spotted your work through your brilliant photography; what’s been the most interesting place to shoot?
So far, I think Italy was the most interesting. Taking pictures while walking down random streets, and in the Colosseum was a unique experience. (I mean, who wouldn’t want to take pictures where the gladiators fought?!) It brought me back to when I first played Assassin’s Creed 2.
4) If you could travel to and explore any gaming world, what would it be?
I would travel to the world of Kingdom Hearts. Not only do you get to explore the Disney universe (which includes Star Wars now! ;)), but you also get Final Fantasy (which has Moogles!) It’s a mix of all my favourite things.
5) You seem to have a big love for Nintendo! What do you think makes Nintendo games just so iconic?
Nintendo has always upheld their belief that a good game has to be fun to play. No matter what crazy thing they do, they always try to make it fun. It shows in how different their consoles are compared to the rest of the market, and their games show innovation that other games are too scared to try. A lot of us grew up playing their legendary classics, so we have a bit of nostalgia for them. I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that they had a hand in shaping who I grew up to be.
6) A tricky question – Favourite Pokémon game/generation, and why?
My favorite Pokémon game would have to be Gold/Silver. They took the classic Red/Blue, added another campaign onto the main one, and then you battle “yourself” from the first game! That’s how you make a sequel!
7) What tips would you have for someone starting their own gaming collection?
Frequent your local used game store and thrift stores. “New” things come in all the time. Lots of the stores will have an online site, too, so even if it’s not physically in the store, they can ship it to you at a fair price.
8) What’s the most prized piece in your gaming collection?
It would probably have to be my N64 copy of Super Mario 64. You really can’t beat it. It’s one of the best games ever made, even to this day, and it fills me with so much nostalgia and happiness. I pick it up and play it every couple months, or jump into a painting and let it be background music while I do other things.
9) We love that you’ve blended photography with storytelling! How did your short story adventure unfold?
I started using Instagram more, and saw all these pictures of people in their bedrooms with their gaming gear. I liked the idea, but I didn’t want to have the same background in every picture. So I set out to find places that matched the theme of my outfit. After a few photo shoots, I felt like something was still missing. I wanted to incorporate a story to each photo or idea to give it more depth and meaning, so I started writing. Now I have photo ideas that inspire stories, and story ideas that inspire photos. (And it’s all gaming related so I am having so much fun!)
10) There are so many different universes to draw inspiration from; and endless possibilities with your own. Where do you even start?
All my stories start with a “What if”. My boyfriend, who writes and draws graphic novels, and I like to make up story ideas all the time. For instance, he really hates turn-based games. So I thought, “What if you were playing a turn-based game and you got stuck in a loop of never-ending turns?” Or when NPC companions go missing, I wonder, “What if they were having their own adventure?” My favorite story ideas have to do with NPCs. Another way I come up with a story is to take a type of game I like, add in some characters that I make up, and then give them a scenario that is relatable to other gamers. I have a backlog of ideas for novels, screenplays, short stories, etc, so the problem isn’t running out of ideas, but rather putting in the time to complete them all! Most of my work has comedic elements to it – I love funny things! And to stay organized, I have a section of my bullet journal just for writing down story and photo shoot ideas so I don’t forget. 😉
11) What’s hot in your book and gaming play/read lists at the moment?
For games, I have Majora’s Mask, Stardew Valley, Divinity 2, Assassin’s Creed Origins, and Starbound on my immediate list. (You can tell I have quite the backlog when Majora’s Mask is on there… ;)). And for books, I just picked up Warcross by Marie Lu, a sort of VR thriller novel.
12) There are lots of amazing games lined up for 2018! What are you eager to get your hands on?
The two that immediately come to mind are God of War and Anthem (if it does come out this year!). I love the mix of mythology and fantasy that God of War has created, and this upcoming one looks amazing. The storytelling, the visuals, the combat – it all looks very promising. And for Anthem, I’ve been looking for something to capture the same energy as Destiny, but something new. I hope that both live up to expectations!
13) Little Magikarp heads out on an adventure! Where are you both planning on visiting next?
The next big adventures on Magikarp’s list are Iceland, Disneyland, and Japan!
14) Where can Nintendo fans find your work?