It's undocumented exactly how many geeks across America wet themselves when Morgan Webb first appeared on their television screens, but we're guessing it was a bunch, and that their collective reaction went something like this: "It's a chick a hot chick she loves video games " And then circuits blew, thumbs began twitching and a cult heroine was born.
If you're a woman, you probably have no idea who Webb is. (When asked how many female fans she has, she responds, "Uh, my mom thinks I'm cool.") If you're male, though, and especially if you're a gamer between ages 11 and 24, then you know that Morgan Webb is the hair-color-changing, doughnut-loving co-hostess of G4TechTv's X-Play, a show that reviews the latest computer and video games.
Recently, 26-year-old Webb has leaped superhero-style from the esoteric realm of gaming into the mainstream, thanks largely to her definitely ungeeky good looks. Readers of FHM and Maxim have been treated to spreads of a bikini-clad Webb, and she won Playboy.com's "Sexiest Techie" award (no word yet on whether she'll be posing for the magazine). A hacker breached Madonna's Web site last year and embedded a marriage proposal to Webb within the site's text. Fans have created online shrines for her; she merits 117,000 Google hits; and on her "moblog," where she posts images from her camera phone, fans muse dreamily about pictures of her dog, her lava lamp and pretty much any random object she gets close to.
We know what you're thinking: No way a woman like this is really into video games. Uh, yeah, she is. So much so that in the middle of a phone interview from her New York City hotel room, she sighs, "Halo 2 is sooooooo great. I kinda wish I was playing it right now." As a child, Webb had a preternatural talent for Atari's Combat. She recently waited in line outside Best Buy to get Unreal Tournament 2004, and she's really into FPS (first-person shooting) games.
Introverted gaming addict, or exhibitionist sex symbol? Somehow, Webb manages to be both. "I try and kind of live my life separately from everything that's going on," she says. "I'm really good at hiding." Hiding, of course, involves a decent amount of video game playing. "I try and put the controller down a little bit," she says, noting that she recently went out to dinner with friends (!).
Other facts her fans surely already know: Webb taught herself about computers in college -- and we don't mean she ran a self-tutorial in PowerPoint. "I'm really cheap," she says, "so instead of buying one, I just learned how to build one." She was a Gerber baby. She majored in rhetoric, enjoys Flamin' Hot Cheetos and was in Houston for the Super Bowl. And no, she doesn't cheat in video games ("It's like cheating at solitaire," she says).
Still not sure she really exists? She and X-Play co-host Adam Sessler are coming to Houston to sign their new book, The X-Play Insider's Guide to Gaming. Yes, it will drag you away from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas for a couple of hours, but seeing Morgan Webb in person might be worth the interruption. And if you're feeling bad about not being able to master the art of the drive-by, she'll be right there to empathize with you.
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