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Mic Spam (often condensed to “Micspam”) refers to the act of continuously making noises, playing music or talking into a microphone via voice chat system in a multiplayer online game. Because it can pose distraction to others players, this practice is generally viewed as obnoxious or spamming by other players and often performed solely for the entertainment of the spammer.
One of the earliest mentions of mic spamming appeared on April 30th, 2006 in a thread on the computer hardware enthusiast message board the [H]ard Forums. Though the original poster (OP) of the thread initially requested help from others on how to play music over the mic in Valve’s first-person shooter game Counter-Strike, other posters began discussing their distaste for players who engage in such practice, with some even seeking out how to mute these “mic spammers.”
The abuse of mic spamming in multiplayer online games continued to grow in the late 2000s, in part due to the availability of software programs that were specifically designed for this purpose, such as Half Life DJ, released in April 2007, and the now-defunct Half Life Sound Selector, which was available from 2005 to 2010. In July of 2007, PC game customization site Game Banana user AKnglock submitted a script that would allow users to automatically spam WAV files over their computer’s internal microphone. On May 7th, 2007, Urban Dictionary user Somebody1123 submitted an entry for “mic spammer,” defining the term as an annoying talker in first-person shooter games like Counter Strike and Battlefield.
“Someone who prefers talking rather than typing, albeit doing so excessively to the annoyance of others. Particularily annoying in PC games like CS:S and Battlefield. Said users are usually under the age of 13.”
On March 2nd, 2008, YouTuber Dreimos uploaded a video documenting mic spam in Counter-Strike: Source (shown below, left). On April 11th, 2009, YouTuber bbmiv uploaded a similar video featuring footage of mic spam in the online shooter game Team Fortress 2 (shown below, right).
On April 15th, 2011, YouTuber Terribaddie uploaded a video in which a mic spammer created live dubstep remixes of other players voices (shown below). On the following day, the video was submitted to the /r/gaming subreddit, where it received over 420 up votes and 75 comments prior to being archived.
Search query volume for the keyword “micspam” peaked in July 2011, the same month Team Fortress 2 was released as a free-to-play game on Valve’s Steam software distribution client.
Half-Life DJ –
[H]ard Forum – How do you mute some idiot who’s playing music on the mic/mic spamming? April 30th, 2006