Mac Loaf's Gym - the "UnOffical" Story

Way back in the myths of time (well September 1996), a young student by the name of Graham McNally arrived at the University of Southampton, to study a degree in Biology with Computer Science.

He stayed in Chamberlain Hall, and was delighted to find that the University not only availed every student with their own E-Mail account, but also with free Web access through public workstations, of which there was a cluster situated in the halls.

This of course led to an inevitable flurry of silly E-Mails and hours wasted on frivolous Yahoo searches, but attractions such as the excitement of a new course and cheap beer prices began to lead away from the Internet; what could it really be used for?

Of course, with experience the Internet is much more than the sum of its parts, and one of the things that led me to discover this was a Web-based interactive game. Called EKO at the time, it is now known to the world as 'The Boxing Game'.

TBG was discovered by a friend of mine in halls, and was noticed over his shoulder by yet another friend. The second friend was noticed playing it later on by me, who asked what it was. After discovering about it third-hand, I sent of my request for registration and went to the bar whereupon I debated upon names for my first three boxers.

The next day, I had my password in my inbox and my first three fighters (Trevor Tumultuous, Axe-Man John and Mr. X) were quickly produced - hurrah! My first fights took place on November 24th 1996. Axe-Man was KO'd, but Trevor won on points, and Mr. X won by knockout, and two out of three ain't bad - (hurrah! again).

Over time, I've seen many changes occur at TBG, besides the name change. I've hung around for a long time, and seen it grow to huge proportions, features such as I-Mail, the BBS's and enhanced commentaries added to an already great game. My friends who introduced me to the game became my house-mates, and despite no longer playing fondly recall the rivalries that a local derby fight produced.

I am now doing an MSc. at Cardiff University. I used to just bang in numbers which felt right to me, but later I utilised a custom-built spreadsheet for my strategies (an afternoon's work with Excel and a copy of the Maths in front of me - antiquated formulae, but still useful).

These days I use my own custom written Powerboost EKO Genie program which evolved from the spreadsheet. I feed in the publicly available stats of the opponent as well as a guess at their strength and I get a list of figures for my guy in different styles. All I need now is something to guess the opponent's strategy... ;-) On August 3rd, 2000 I became the Player Commissioner for the United Kingdom region. Thanx guys.

So, despite many long hours, blood dripping from fingers (well not literaly) at the keyboard, I've got a few Regional titles, but still alas nothing on the world stage, but I guess I'm improving my ratings all the time, and one of these days the world will know to fear the name, Mac Loaf. :-)

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