Student profile: Nicky Swanson

Nicky Swanson

One of Nicky's creations, inspired by M.C. Escher.

Claire Kelloway, A&E Editor

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Just last month, over 5,000 people gathered in Las Vegas to celebrate the art of mining, crafting, fighting “mobs” and all things Minecraft at the game’s first annual “MineCon” convention. For those who are not living under rocks (cobblestone to be exact), Minecraft is a free building computer game where players are given an open 3D block filled landscape and three objectives: survive, mine, and create. While it may sound dull, Minecraft has become a blank canvas for many people to meet up and express their creativity, mining for rare gems while fighting off monsters in order to create fantastical structures. Though the game’s popularity peaked last year, it continues to gain a following in younger crowds and, at MineCon, released the full version of the game.

Few take this “craft” further than their computer screens, but Minnetonka senior Nicky Swanson had the opportunity to attend MineCon and speak on a panel with other players about Minecraft architecture. Nicky has been playing Minecraft since its initial release, and over the course of three years he has made a name for himself with his creations. Nicky says he “applied to be a panelist, not really expecting to get accepted, but it turns out that [the administrators] were quite impressed with some of [his] creations in the game,” so he was asked to speak alongside an architecture PhD NAME McFAMILY (who has given a TED talk), a professional Ubisoft web designer, and other artists. Nicky was honored and “very surprised” to be nationally recognized.  “Speaking in front of 250-ish people was surprisingly easy,” says Nicky, “going into it I was nervous, but once I got started it was no more difficult than talking to a friend.” While at the convention, Nicky met Jens Bergensten, commonly known as Jeb, the head developer of Minecraft, and accrued plenty of convention swag, including stacks of miniature Minecraft blocks and drawstring bags adorned with the infamous creeper face.

But aside from the barrage of Minecraft celebs and gifts, one of the most memorable things Nicky encountered was a ten-year-old fan, who asked for his autograph.