Gamette: Rika Hollinshead Stead
Location: Texas
Photographer: Jim Brown
Featured Gear: Don’t Play With My <3
PSN Gamer ID: Sybilvein

If you had to pick one game that you thought inspired you to be so active in the gaming culture, what would it be and why?
I could go several ways on this, but i think i’m going to have to go with Space Quest IV and here’s why: First of all, the tone of my writing is largely inspired by the narrator’s voice/persona. Also, that game is so quoteable, and so funny, and witnessing the way it caught the attention even of my sisters, who were not gamers really made an impact on me. And it had so many references to be made and sayings to be imitated. It had the power to suck people into its world, and the power to be relevant in the outside world as well. I had loved games before, but with Space Quest IV I really began to see the video game as a medium- a format for art.

Tell us about your number one “geek out” moment. You know, that one time where you set the geek level to 11.
Hmmm… Here’s one I like: When I first got accepted to Incite, the WoW raiding guild that I was in for quite awhile, I was probably a bit undergeared and I definately had a chip on my shoulder to try and prove myself. I signed up for my first raid… but on the night of that raid, about an hour before log in time, my internet provider went down. Apparently it was down throughout the whole county or something. But I just couldn’t not show for raid, so I frantically drove around town trying to find a place with wireless with a different provider. This was in a small town in southern IL, so there were only a couple of internet providers availible at all, and most of the places with wireless were using the same company as I. But finally I found working internet in Panera, and I strong-armed my way into a seat near a power outlet and raided, in Panera, with my headset and vent on until they kicked me out at close.

You’ve told us a little bit about what got you into gaming when you were younger. Tell us what’s kept you interested up to now.
I have a rampant Peter Pan complex.I guess gaming just never lost the magic for me. There’s a multi-fauceted appeal to it- the imersion in a story or a world, the perfect focus of trying to master something that doesn’t come easily, the epic-ness of reaching that mastery. Plus I love the social aspect of it- conventions, kicking ass with your firends, (or kicking your friend’s ass) the in game bonds with people I’ve never even met IRL. I love being literate in gaming because I love taking things away from games- imagery, metaphores, slang, jokes, whatever- and applying that to conversations/life/art.

Has gaming ever interfered with your other interests or hobbies or created a conflict in your social life?
The story about me deciding not to go out for my birthday because I wanted to play is in fact true. The release of Burning Crusade also caused me to miss all my classes the first day of the semester.. and to put that in perspective, the previous semester I was such a dork that I refused to go on a free trip to Vegas because I didn’t want to skip class. I have also failed to concentrate on many occasions because I was either tired from gaming or thinking about gaming, and I’ve also told my mom that I’ll have to call her back because I’m in a boss fight so often that she understands. But I do draw the line. I think I pretty much keep it to the humorous level of distraction, not the scary. I will let myself get behind in a game before I’ll totally give my friends the finger or let my real life pass me by.

Has there ever been an occasion in your experiences with online gaming where your gender was called into question? If so, what was your reaction and did you feel obligated to prove otherwise?
It’s probably been questioned several times, but I don’t get too concerned with that. I like to poke fun at that pheonomena a bit.. in fact my Quake live tag line is “I’m not a hot chick in real life, but I do play one in a video game.” I’ve been accused of not being an actual female, and of being a hideous female. (i guess it probably doesn’t help that I tend to be the silent type of vent/voicechat) But i don’t really feel the need to try and defend myself too much against that. I model for god’s sake, I get hit on IRL fairly often, I get paid to be photographed in lingerie. My self esteem doesn’t require that every person i game with believe that I’m hot behind my keyboard.

Tell us what it was like winning the XFX Girl 2.0 contest.
Fairly enjoyable. That was an understatement. I had been working on it for quite awhile, through some fairly insane circumstances. (A good percent of my original video was filmed in the few spare moments i had while on a modeling gig in the Virgin islands) I don’t want to seem like I’m gloating or anything, but I did want to win pretty bad, and I’d worked towards that very specifically, although I did maintain my ability to have fun with it. Winning was like a confirmation that I had made the right choices and priorities in the contest, and my hard work had been recognized. And having Fefe selected as well was total over-the-top happiness. With lots of exclamation points.

What are your plans now that you’ve been chosen to represent XFX as their spokeswoman?
Give it my all and do a kick ass job. I recognize the gravity of the opportunity they are giving me, and I want them to look back on it later and say “That was the best choice we ever made.” Work hard. Treat people right. I have learned many times that being hot is not how you get ahead. it doesn’t suck, of course. But you advance by refusing to do inferior work and being genuinely good to people. I really do want to take the combination of modeling and gaming as far as I can, so XFX can expect me to be insanely dedicated.

Do you have any games you’re looking forward to right now?
Final fantasy XIII of course! And for a more long term goal, Rage! On the MMO front I’m torn, I want to hit WoW’s Catacylsm xpack hard for sure, and if i like it I’ll prob be raiding again. (WOTLK just didnt capture my heart for some reason) but I’d like to try the new Final Fantasy MMO from the start too. but I don’t want to try to do both at the same time, and if i like both.. it’ll be heartbreaking to decide.

Who’s your pick for sexiest male nerd/geek and why?
Kevin Smith as The Warlock in Live free or Die Hard. Do I need to say more?

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Read more about Rika Stead on her page at and at the Official XFX Page.