September 7, 1976
|Alma mater||University of Kansas|
|Occupation||Head of Enterprise West Sales|
|Known for||Professional Quake player Level design at Ion Storm|
|Partner(s)||John Romero (1999–2003)|
|Born||September 7, 1976|
|League||Cyberathlete Professional League|
Stevana "Stevie" Case (born September 7, 1976) is an American businesswoman and executive, former video game designer and former competitive Quake player. Under the in-game name KillCreek, she was known as one of the first well-known female esports players, gaining recognition for beating Quake designer John Romero in a Quake deathmatch. She was the first professional gamer signed to the Cyberathlete Professional League (CPL).
Case was hired at Ion Storm, working on quality assurance and level design. She left the company to manage Monkeystone Games with former Ion Storm employees Romero and Tom Hall. After a stint at Warner Bros. managing the production of mobile games, she began working at various companies in business development and sales.
Case, whose parents were a science teacher and a social worker, grew up in Olathe, Kansas.:179 As a child, she enjoyed playing computer games. Her first experience in gaming was when her father brought home an Apple IIe computer in second grade, where she got to play Lode Runner and Joust.
Case had attended Olathe East High School from 1991 to 1994. When she was still a student at Olathe East, and as the student government president, Case was one of the plaintiffs in the 1995 court case Case v. Unified School District No. 233. During the trial, students and parents in Olathe successfully challenged the school district's decision to ban Annie on my Mind from the school library. She later attended the University of Kansas in hopes of getting into law school.:180
Professional Quake player and John Romero deathmatch
While at the University of Kansas as a freshman studying political science, Case enjoyed playing Doom and Doom II with her circle of friends. She became interested in playing Quake competitively through her then-boyfriend Tom "Entropy" Kimzey, joining his competitive team, Impulse 9, and competing as KillCreek.:180 According to Case in a live-chat with Playboy, her in-game name was inspired by the Lawrence, Kansas band of the same name. Impulse 9 competed in the Quake competitive league Clanring, and won the T1 competition in 1996.
After a few months of competing and making a name for herself, Case went to Dallas on a pilgrimage to meet some of the developers of her favorite first-person-shooter computer games. During her trip, she got the chance to play a Quake deathmatch against the game's designer, John Romero, but was beaten by him in a close game.:186 After Romero put up a web page jokingly insulting her skill at the game, Case publicly demanded a rematch with him. While Case initially struggled in the best-of-three rematch, she rallied back to win the first round 25-19, and went on to ultimately defeat Romero. As punishment, Romero agreed to set up a web page praising Case.
Case was twenty years old at the time she won the rematch in 1997,:104 and beating one of the co-creators of Quake at his own game brought her a lot of publicity. She gained a sponsor in computer mouse manufacturer SpaceTec IMC that year, and her victory against Romero received coverage in Rolling Stone. Angel Munoz, the founder of Cyberathlete Professional League, convinced Case to join his league in July 1997, becoming its first signed professional gamer. She eventually became one of the league's original founders.:104 Case competed in the first all-female Quake tournament that year, coming in second behind Kornelia Takacs. Case moved to Texas in the middle of 1997. Describing her move, she said that while she had a passion for political science, she "was not excited about the day-to-day aspects of politics or practicing law."
Transition to game design
While playing professionally, Case began looking at game design as a potential career, stating, "I love games, and I love competition -- but having no choice but to play the same game day-in and day-out with all sorts of pressure attached just didn't suit my nature." According to Case, she did freelance game design work from her Dallas home for two years after university, using free design tools that she downloaded.:55 One of the first game levels she designed was for 1999's SiN: Wages of Sin. Setting up a small studio called Primitive Earthling Games, she and some friends created a Quake II add-on called Vengeance and submitted it to WizardWorks. However, it never became available for purchase due to publishing delays. Between 1998 and 2000, Case authored three strategy guide books for Prima Games on the games Jazz Jackrabbit 2 (1998), Buck Bumble (1998), and Daikatana (2000). She also contributed to Prima Games' strategy guide on Quake II.
After applying for the position, Case was hired at Ion Storm in the summer of 1997 as a video game tester. In November 1998, Romero offered her a job in level design when that position became available, which she accepted. Case helped work on the levels of Daikatana (2000), as well as Anachronox. It was during this time period that Case began to date Romero. According to David Kushner's Masters of Doom, Case "radically reinvented herself" by losing weight, bleaching her hair, and undergoing breast augmentation surgery.:216 Case received further press coverage, appearing on the March 2000 cover of PC Accelerator, and being featured as one of the "Next Game Gods" in the November 2000 issue of PC Gamer. She was approached by Playboy to appear in a nude pictorial, based on an interview she did in the Los Angeles Times. The pictorial was released online in May 2000. When asked about how she changed after moving to Dallas and making video games a career, Case responded:
Making the leap to games helped me to realize that the only way to be truly happy is to live by your own rules, not limited by outside expectations. I love my job, found a wonderful boyfriend and truly found myself through games.
Case was still involved in the Cyberathlete Professional League in some capacity. She eventually transitioned into being CPL's "Master of Ceremonies", and in 1999, Case joined the CPL's board of directors.
Case left Ion Storm in January 2001 to join Romero at his new company, Monkeystone Games, which was created in August 2001. Monkeystone was formed out of a desire to move away from creating PC games due to their budget and lengthy development cycles, allowing Romero to explore the concept of mobile games that had first interested him in 1999. Case worked as a producer for Monkeystone's first game, Hyperspace Delivery Boy!, and also created the music and sound effects. She also was credited on titles like Monkeystone's Red Faction port for the N-Gage. After leaving Monkeystone Games, Case became a senior project manager for Warner Bros. Online's mobile group.
Sales and business development
According to Case, she decided at this point to slowly transition out of working in the game development industry, stating in an interview:
There was a ton of harassment and hate and sexism and abuse. People would send me hate email all the time. ... The benefit of connecting with people was so drowned out by how bad it felt to be in the spotlight.
Case recalled receiving the opportunity to leave game development when one of her contacts approached her about a potential junior sales position at his workplace. After leaving Warner Bros., Case was employed at Tira Wireless in sales and business development. Afterwards, she held a position with Spleak Media Network, where she was a director of product management.
In September 2008, she was vice president of business development and sales for fatfoogoo, an online commerce company. Case also served as Senior Director of Business Development at Live Gamer, and joined PlaySpan in 2010 as vice president of sales. PlaySpan was acquired by Visa in 2011.
On March 1, 2010, NewWorld, the former parent company of the CPL, announced that it had signed a two-year agreement with Stevie Case for the production of a new podcast show called Stevie FTW. According to the website's RSS feed, the last podcast was uploaded on March 11, 2011, and the last social media update was on the same date.
After working as the vice president of growth at San Francisco-based startup Layer, according to her LinkedIn profile, she is now currently Head of Enterprise West Sales at Twilio. She is also listed as a participant in SheEO, a nonprofit supporting the funding of female entrepreneurs, as well as the female investor group 37 Angels.
Case dated Quake player Tom "Entropy" Kimzey, who was also a University of Kansas student and a member of Impulse 9.:180 According to the June 1997 issue of Spin, they were involved romantically until the spring of 1997. Case had also dated game developer Tom Mustaine.
Soon after defeating Quake designer John Romero in a Quake deathmatch, she and Romero started dating. Case and Romero moved in together in 1999. Their relationship ended in the spring of 2003; Case went on to marry a director of product development at THQ, and had a child with him.:252 In a 2016 interview, Case stated that she had been a single parent with full custody of her child for eight years.
|1999||Ritual Entertainment / 2015 Games||Sin: Wages of Sin||Additional Level Design||Credited as Stevie "KillCreek" Case.|
|2000||Ion Storm||Daikatana||Level Designer|
|2001||Ion Storm||Anachronox||Additional Level Design Cleanup|
|2001||Monkeystone Games||Hyperspace Delivery Boy!||Producer, Music and SFX|
|2003||Monkeystone Games||Red Faction||Creative Commando|
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At a news conference this March, Stevie Case, Olathe East High School student body president and lead plaintiff in the ACLU's case, ...
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guest27: Are you talking about the band Kill Creek from Lawrence? steviecase: Yes, definitely. I borrowed my name from them, and they were very nice about it.
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In 1999 Stevie rejoined the CPL as a member of the Board of Directors.
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"All my fame came because I was female," admits Case, who now works as a senior project manager for Warner Bros. wireless division.
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[Entrophy] plays bass in a local band, studies genetics, and until this spring even dated a University of Kansas student government leader who, I find out, is none other than I9's Kill-Creek, the Bonnie to his Clyde.
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