The Origin of Sweaty Spice

In a faraway galaxy, a long long time ago, I was a mere product marketing manager, at a company that made semiconductor process equipment.

We were a merry bunch o’ lads, and one year, for Halloween, we decided to dress up in a theme. The theme? Well, The Spice Girls were topping the chart, and the five of us decided to ride the wave. We were a sight to see. Fortunately, it was pre-social media, pre-smartphone, and there are no images floating around of the troop.

Thank God.

But, that planted the seed for my gamer persona, as I was fairly portly, and made a particularly ugly woman, I called myself “Sweaty Spice”, and it stuck.

The Quake Years

I was fairly addicted to the Quake franchise. Well, Doom as well, but Quake brought true 3D to the firs person shooter, and not long after I went back for graduate school Quake was released. That became an obsession for me, and drove a progression of computer hardware purchases, focused on improving graphics quality and game play. 386’s gave way to 486’s then Pentiums, Pentium II’s, overclocked Celerons, were built, rebuilt, and enhanced.

Then came dedicated graphics cards with 3D accelerators, 3DFx, Voodoo, nVidia, and more. Each generation requiring more oomph.

All through this period, I played as Sweaty Spice. LAN parties, the budding internet, ISDN connections, chasing lower latency, and less lag, using Gamespy to find servers to play on.

It was fun, intoxicating, and a huge part of my life.

LAN parties

Starting in the late 1990’s I began playing with local groups of gamers who would host “LAN parties”. Essentially we would converge on someones house, or in some cases, we had permission to go to their offices.

We would lug our computers, monitors, and peripherals to this site, connect up to fast ethernet, someone would set up a server, and we would play until the sun came up.

Quake III, Counterstrike, and Unreal Tournament were our chosen games, and damn, was it fun. Nobody had a “bad” internet connection, or significant lag. It was Mano-a-mano, on a level playing field, and you won some, you lost some, but you had a boatload of FUN.

That same core group also got into playing Paintball, taking our FPS into the real world.


After I faded away from first person shooters, about the time I relocated from San Jose to Tucson, the activity of Sweaty Spice dropped to near nothing.

My name on Apple’s Game Center is Sweaty Spice, but honestly, I don’t play many games anymore. Mostly a lot of solitaire, and The NY Times Crossword is my time sink these days.

I do keep a Microsoft Xbox One, and I play a lot of Forza, my favorite game. I do have a couple of FPS’s, but honestly, my enthusiasm for that genre has disappeared.

One time, in the late ‘oughts, I looked up Gamespy, and my old gamer tag, Sweaty Spice, was still in the top 1000 players stats for Quake II. That made me smile.