Wednesday, May 23, 3304




Elite was a seminal space combat and trading game in 1984, written by David Braben and Ian Bell for the Acorn BBC Microcomputer and published by Acornsoft. The complete game fitted in 22 kilobytes of memory, which was possible because of the procedurally generated universe.


Acorn BBC version of Elite

Original Acorn BBC Elite


It was a highly original game, which had a great influence on computer game development. It was in several aspects the first or one of the first to have certain properties we find in many computer games that came after:


The game was ported to (or in some cases completely rewritten for) several computers of the era, including the ZX Spectrum, Commodore C-64 & Amiga, IBM PC, MSX, Apple ][, Atari ST, Amstrad/Schneider CPC, Acorn Electron & Archimedes, NES, and CP/M systems such as the Tatung Einstein.


German Commodore-64 version of David Braben & Ian Bell's Elite

Commodore-64 version of David Braben & Ian Bell's Elite, 1984-1985




NES EliteNES Elite





NES Elite






Acorn Archimedes version of Elite by Warren Burch & Clive Gringras


Acorn Archimedes version of Elite by Warren Burch & Clive Gringras


Several versions of the game have been produced:

  • Elite (1984)
  • Elite II (unreleased)
  • Elite-A (a.k.a. Elite III - late 1980s, released 1997)
  • Elite Plus (MS-DOS, 1991)
  • Arc Elite (1991)

Elite has been cloned many times, the most notable remake being the open source Oolite which has hundreds of expansion packs.


Oolite by Giles Williams and the Oolite Community



2. Frontier: Elite II

Frontier: Elite II was released in 1993 on Commodore Amiga, Atari ST and IBM PC. It was possible to seamlessly land on planets and its Newtonian mechanics allowed for manoeuvres like gravitational slingshots around planets.


Frontier: Elite 2 on Commodore Amiga

Frontier: Elite 2 on Commodore Amiga


Frontier: Elite 2



3. Frontier: First Encounters

F:FE (a.k.a. Elite III - again!) was published in 1995 for MS-DOS computers. It was the first game to use procedural texturing to generate the vegetation, snow and other features on the planet surfaces.

Frontier: First Encounters

Frontier: First Encounters


 Frontier: First Encounters

FFED3DAJ is an updated version of F:FE for present-day computers:



4. Elite: Dangerous

Elite:Dangerous (a.k.a. the long awaited Elite IV) was Kickstarted in 2012 and is currently (October 2014) in Beta 2.

An overview of what the game is about and what it is intended to become is in "Elite Dangerous. The Beginning. Early Game Designs. 2014".

 Elite: Dangerous

Elite: Dangerous

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