Elite (video game)
Cover art for Firebird releases of Elite
|Developer(s)||David Braben, Ian Bell|
|Release date(s)||September 20, 1984|
|Genre(s)||Space trading and combat simulator|
Elite is a space trading video game, written and developed by David Braben and Ian Bell and originally published by Acornsoft for the BBC Micro and Acorn Electron computers in September 1984. Elite's open-ended game model, and revolutionary 3D graphics led to it being ported to virtually every contemporary home computer system, and earned it a place as a classic and a genre maker in gaming history. The game's title derives from one of the player's goals of raising their combat rating to the exalted heights of "Elite".
Elite was one of the first home computer games to use wire-frame 3D graphics with hidden line removal. It added graphics and twitch gameplay aspects to the genre established by the 1974 game Star Trader. Another novelty was the inclusion of The Dark Wheel, a novella by Robert Holdstock which gave players insight into the moral and legal codes to which they might aspire.
The game was followed by the sequels Frontier: Elite II in 1993, and Frontier: First Encounters in 1995, which introduced Newtonian physics, realistic star systems and seamless freeform planetary landings. A third sequel, Elite: Dangerous, began crowdfunding in 2012 and was launched on December 16, 2014, following a period of semi-open testing.
Elite proved hugely influential, serving as a model for other games including Wing Commander: Privateer, Grand Theft Auto, EVE Online, Freelancer, the X series and No Man's Sky.
Non-Acorn versions were each first published by Firebird, Imagineer and Hybrid. Subsequently Frontier Developments has claimed the game to be a "Game by Frontier", to be part of its own back catalogue and all the rights to the game to have been owned by David Braben.
The player initially controls the character "Commander Jameson", though the name can be changed each time the game is saved. The player starts at Lave Station with 100 credits and a lightly armed trading ship, a Cobra Mark III. Most of the ships that the player encounters are similarly named after snakes or other reptiles. Credits can be accumulated through a number of means. These include piracy, trade, military missions, bounty hunting and asteroid mining. The money generated by these enterprises allows players to upgrade their ships with enhancements such as better weapons, increased cargo capacity, an automated docking system, an extra energy bank and more.
In the game universe, stars have single planets, each with a space station in its orbit. Stars are always separated by interstellar distances effectively untraversable using the ship's sublight engines. Travel between stars is accomplished by hyperspace jumps, and is constrained to those within range of the limited fuel capacity (a maximum of 7 light years) of the ship's hyperdrive. Sublight fuel capacity is apparently infinite.
Fuel can be replenished after docking with a space station, which requires matching the ship's rotation to that of the station before entering the docking bay - a task that can be avoided by purchasing a docking computer. Players can upgrade their equipment with a fuel scoop, which allows raw fuel to be skimmed from the surface of stars, described by the manual as "a dangerous and difficult activity", but in practice a fairly simple process far easier than manually docking at a space station—and collecting free-floating cargo canisters and escape capsules liberated after the destruction of other ships.
While making a hyperspace jump between star systems, the antagonistic Thargoid insect race may intercept the player half way, forcing his ship to remain in "witch-space" and do battle with their smaller invasion ships. As the interrupted jump uses the full journey's fuel, the player may have insufficient fuel to subsequently jump to a nearby planet, trapping them in witch-space and they must use an escape capsule if owned, or abort the game and reload.
An extremely expensive one-shot galactic hyperspace upgrade permits travel between the eight galaxies of the game universe. There is little practical difference between the different galaxies. However, in some versions it is necessary to travel to at least the second galaxy to access the game's missions. The planetary layout of the galaxies is different, and many players discovered trade runs between closely positioned planets with fortuitous economic combinations.
Elite includes several optional paid missions for the Galactic Navy. One requires tracking down and destroying a stolen experimental ship; the other involves transporting classified information on the Thargoids' home planet, with Thargoid invasion ships doing their best to see that you do not succeed throughout the duration of the mission involving multiple interplanetary jumps.
According to Braben and Bell, Elite was inspired by a range of sources. The developers cite 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Wars, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and the original Battlestar Galactica as influences. Braben also cites the works of Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert L. Forward, Isaac Asimov and Orson Scott Card as influences. It was thought that much of the game's content was derived from the Traveller tabletop role-playing game, including the default commander name Jameson, but David Braben has denied this several times.
When the developers met at Jesus College, Cambridge, Bell was already working on a game for Acornsoft called Freefall. Braben had started writing a game called Fighter, but he had not yet completed it. The two projects were sufficiently similar that Braben and Bell compared notes, and after seeing Star Raiders on the Atari 800 they decided to collaborate to produce what eventually became Elite. They first approached Thorn EMI; the company's rejection letter stated that the game was too complicated and needed to be finishable in 10 minutes with three lives. Braben and Bell then met with Acornsoft; their demo of the Elite's combat and docking sequences impressed managing director David Johnson-Davies and other Acornsoft executives. The company agreed to publish the finished game, although the company feared that it was too ambitious for Braben and Bell, and was uncertain about the merits of two developers instead of one on a single game.
The game took two years to write and started out as a 3D arcade game without the trading element. It was written in machine code using assembly language, giving much care to maximum compactness of code. The last part added was the 3D radar display fitted into the last few unused bytes in their computer.
The original BBC version used a novel split screen approach to show four colours onscreen simultaneously; the upper two thirds of the screen were displayed in Mode 4 while the lower part was in Mode 5. The subsequent Electron version ran entirely in Mode 4, because the video chips were not 100% compatible and therefore was in black and white only.
The Elite universe contains eight galaxies, each with 256 planets to explore. Due to the limited capabilities of 8-bit computers, these worlds are procedurally generated. A single seed number is run through a fixed algorithm the appropriate number of times and creates a sequence of numbers determining each planet's complete composition (position in the galaxy, prices of commodities, and name and local details; text strings are chosen numerically from a lookup table and assembled to produce unique descriptions, such as a planet with "carnivorous arts graduates"). This means that no extra memory is needed to store the characteristics of each planet, yet each is unique and has fixed properties. Each galaxy is also procedurally generated from the first. Braben and Bell at first intended to have 248 galaxies, but Acornsoft insisted on a smaller universe to hide the galaxies' mathematical origins.
However, the use of procedural generation created a few problems. There are a number of poorly located systems that can be reached only by galactic hyperspace— these are more than 7 light years from their nearest neighbour, thus trapping the traveller. Braben and Bell also checked that none of the system names were profane - removing an entire galaxy after finding a planet named "Arse".
The developers did not spend much time playing their creation and the quality testing was mostly performed by the Acornsoft Director of Marketing, David Johnson-Davies who also planned the packaging and marketing campaign at the time.
The original BBC Micro disk version used a non-standard disk-format to stop disk-to-disk copying. This relied on specific OSWORD &7F DFS opcodes in the Intel 8271 Floppy-disk controller to directly access the disk, and produce a non-standard sector/track-layout. This, however, also caused issues for legitimate customers that were using the Western Digital 1770 Disk-controller (DFS) ROMs from third-party manufacturers such as Watford Electronics. Acorn subsequently released alternative versions of the BBC disks that were compatible with the WD1770. This BBC Disk-copy-protection was subsequently used by Superior Software in their Exile game. In addition to this, self-modifying code was used as part of the protection system, created by Rob Northen.
Marketing and release
Original Acornsoft cover
|Publisher||Acornsoft, Firebird Software|
Acornsoft set in motion a large-scale publicity campaign and commissioned a presentational package for the game that was far more elaborate than normal. Acornsoft packaged Elite in a box larger than their usual releases, complete with a novella by Robert Holdstock called The Dark Wheel, a 64-page Space Trader's Flight Training Manual, reference card and a ship identification poster. The Flight Training Manual was written in a style that took you as the rookie trader through the controls and various aspects of play.
The Dark Wheel was the first novella to be included for distribution with a video game. The original Acornsoft version promised on its back cover that "[a] sequel to the novella is planned for publication in 1985", but no direct sequel was ever written. A second novella, Imprint by Andy Redman, was included with the IBM PC release of Elite Plus, but apart from being set in the same universe it is in no way connected to the original story.
Marketing activities included a £50,000 promotional budget from Acornsoft, including television advertising and a launch party at the Thorpe Park theme park (holding such an event for a video game was almost unheard of at the time) and a competition to be among the first to achieve the status of "Elite".
The Dark Wheel plot synopsis
The story tells of a young starship pilot named Alex Ryder, whose father Jason is killed when their merchant ship is attacked by a notorious pirate. In trying to understand and avenge his father's death and achieve an "iron ass" (a space-trader's term for a well armed- and armoured spaceship), Alex encounters the basics of the Elite universe—including combat, hyperdrive and hyperspace and the deadly aliens called Thargoids. Finally Alex discovers the truth about his father and his combat rank. He also acts as an acceptable face of trading, since his female co-pilot, Elissia Fields, is an alien species, wanted in several systems. Alex wants to avenge his father's death, but must exercise caution in tracking down the assassin. By trading commodities, he slowly improves the arms and armour of his ship. When he is competent at using the spaceship for combat, but before he feels ready, he makes a trade that is sure to bring his father's killer to him.
Alex also learns who the "Dark Wheel" are and what it takes to join their ranks.
The first version of the game was released for the BBC Micro, model B on tape and Disk and "about a month or two later" the Acorn Electron Tape version was released. The Electron's limitations meant several game features were cut including Thargoids and suns. Neither the BBC nor the Electron tape versions featured missions. Additionally, the original tape version for the Electron contained a bug that stopped Galactic Hyperspace from working. Acorn provided a mail-in tape-replacement service to upgrade to v1.1 (marked as such on the tape label) that fixed this bug. The BBC B Disk version, referred to as Classic Elite, would load a new set of ships after every hyperspace jump or space station launch, meaning a larger number of ships were available. A new disc version released by Superior Software in 1986 was enhanced to take advantage of the BBC Micro Model B's successors including the BBC Micro Model B+, Master 128 computers, the optional 6502 Second Processor or sideways RAM, if they were fitted. In this case, the game used Modes 1 and 2 to make more colours available.
The great commercial success of the BBC Micro version prompted a bidding war for the rights to publish Elite in other formats, with British Telecom's software arm, Telecomsoft, eventually winning the rights. It was eventually ported to virtually every contemporary home computer system including the Amiga, Atari ST, Apple II, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, MSX, Tatung Einstein and IBM PC compatible. The only console version was released in 1991 for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Some of the versions had slightly altered gameplay or other characteristics, the number of missions offered to the player.
Contemporary versions for home computers based on the 6502 microprocessor were ported by either Bell or Bell and Braben. The Commodore 64 conversion introduced Trumbles (creatures based on the tribbles in Star Trek: The Original Series). When the docking computer is activated in the Commodore 64 version and some other versions, a musical rendition of The Blue Danube Waltz is played, as a nod to a space docking sequence in Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey. This music was arranged by David Dunn.
The ZX Spectrum version, programmed by "Torus" included a Supernova mission not found in any other version. The Amstrad CPC conversion (itself a port of the ZX version) has fewer ships than other platforms, lacking the Anaconda and Transport, along with some minor differences in missions and titles.
According to the lead programmer of the 16 bit Amiga/Atari ST and the MSX conversions Rob Nicholson, he did not have access to the source code because of contractual issues and had to write them "blind". All he had were the ship shapes and the procedural generation code for the galaxies.
Elite Plus was released for DOS in 1991. Whereas the original Elite (1987) for the PC used CGA graphics, Elite Plus was upgraded to take advantage of EGA, VGA and MCGA. It was coded entirely in assembly language by Chris Sawyer, who later wrote RollerCoaster Tycoon. Elite Plus had a ninth galaxy that can only be reached by hyperspacing into Witch Space. Elite Plus was published by Microplay Software.
The Acorn Archimedes version, ArcElite (1991), written by Warren Burch & Clive Gringras and regarded by Stuff magazine as the best conversion of the original game, added intelligent opponents who engage in their own private battles and police who take an active interest in protecting the law. As well as such gameplay enhancements, the version also exploited the more modern hardware by using polygon mesh graphics in place of the wire-frames. The game world no longer seems to be centred around the player; freighter fleets with escorts go about their own business, pirate formations patrol lawless systems looking for cargo to loot and mining ships can often be found breaking up asteroids for their mineral content. Unlike the mythical Generation Ships of the original, rare occurrences of other non-pirate entities mentioned in the manual really can be found in the Archimedes version: geometric formations of space beacons; hermits living among the asteroids; abandoned ships towed by police (although Dredgers and Generation Ships are confirmed not to exist in Archimedes Elite). The Archimedes version of Elite was originally written to be a space trading game called Trojan - however the obvious similarities eventually meant that to avoid a potential lawsuit Trojan had to become an official Elite conversion. ArcElite was one of a number of games released for free by The Icon Bar website in 2006.
Some versions feature a new title, "Archangel", for the player to earn that substitutes the rank of Commander. Archangel is reached by undertaking a special mission to destroy a space station in a system invaded by the Thargoids. The player's reward for completing the mission is to receive the title Archangel and obtain a device that is capable of emulating anti-ECM broadcast.
Elite received very positive reviews on its launch and the BBC Micro version eventually sold 107,898 copies. The game's popularity became a national phenomenon in the UK, with reports airing on Channel 4 and elsewhere. Elite was Firebird's best-selling Commodore game as of late 1987. Bell estimates that approximately 600,000 copies were eventually sold for all platforms combined, while the official home page states that the numbers are around a million units.
Elite's technical breakthroughs reportedly amazed the BBC Micro's developers, with Sophie Wilson calling it "the game that couldn't have been written". Many players found gameplay difficult and unfamiliar, however; the game was so controversial that The Micro User devoted its April 1985 letter column to readers debating it.
In his review of the game for Beebug Magazine in 1984, David Fell called Elite "the best game ever" for the BBC Micro. In Personal Computer Games Shingo Sugiura said "Elite is vast, complex and very, very absorbing. I've got bulging, red eyeballs from staying up into the early hours but I don't care. I'm going to continue playing until I am ranked Elite ... or at least Competent ... or even Average ... Buy it!". John Cook wrote in the December 1984 issue of Micro Adventurer "A masterpiece such as this is difficult to describe within existing parameters" and "By any standards, Elite is an excellent game, certainly in the Top Three this year. By BBC standards, it is simply the best game that has ever been written for the machine". Crash magazine said about the Spectrum version "Elite is one of the most imaginative ever to be designed to run on a home computer" and gave it a score of 92%, while at the same time it was a best-seller in the Gallup charts. The game was number 16 in the Your Sinclair "Top 100 Speccy Games" in 1992, was voted number 7 in the Your Sinclair "Readers' Top 100 Games of All Time" in 1993 and was voted the 9th best game of all time by the readers of Retro Gamer Magazine for an article that was scheduled to be in a special Your Sinclair tribute issue. Similarly Zzap!64 gave the Commodore 64 version 97%, stating that it was "a brilliant game of blasting and trading and is certainly the best game I've seen this year" in 1985 and the Amiga version 98% in 1989.
In 1984 Elite received the Golden Joystick Award for "Best Original Game". In 1985 the game was awarded the "Best Game Overall" for that year by readers of Crash magazine,  and "Game of the Year" by Computer Gamer. In a 1992 survey of science fiction games, Computer Gaming World gave the title two of five stars, stating that its "popularity was largely a result of being one of the first space games with a 'large' universe to explore". The magazine gave Elite Plus two-plus stars, describing it as "More detailed and complex, it is also more tedious than the original". Elite was ranked #14 top game of all time by Next Generation in 1996, #12 on IGN's 2000 "Top 25 PC Games of All Time" list, the #3 most influential video game ever by the Times Online in 2007, #6 "Greatest Game" by Stuff magazine in 2008, #1 "Top Retro Game" by Retro Gamer in 2004, and #1 "best game of the 1980s" by Next Generation Magazine in 2008. The game was retrospectively awarded 10/10 by the multi-format magazine Edge—together with only 2 other games— and is being exhibited at such places as the London Science Museum in the "Game On" exhibition organised and toured by the Barbican Art Gallery. Elite is also featured in Game On! From Pong to Oblivion: The 50 Greatest Video Games of All Time by authors Simon Byron, Ste Curran and David McCarthy.
Elite has often been regarded as the yardstick by which subsequent space trading games have been measured. Since its release Elite has been credited as being the title that defined the modern space flight simulation genre, a significant source of inspiration for later games in the genre as well as being influential upon gaming as a whole. In interviews, senior producers of CCP Games have cited Elite as one of the inspirations for their acclaimed MMORPG, EVE Online. The developers of Jumpgate Evolution, Battlecruiser 3000AD, Infinity: The Quest for Earth, Hard Truck: Apocalyptic Wars and Flatspace have likewise all credited Elite as a source of inspiration. Similar praise has been bestowed elsewhere in the media over the years.
It has been named as one of the most influential games in history, and has been credited as being the first truly open-ended open world game and opening the door for future online persistent worlds such as Second Life, World of Warcraft and EVE Online. Elite is one of the most popularly requested games to be remade, with some arguing that it is still the best example of the genre to date, with more recent titles—including its immediate sequel—not rising up to the same level.
In 2013 historian Jimmy Maher stated that the original Elite and The Lords of Midnight "make you want to believe—make you actively imagine—that there is more to their universes than there actually is ... some of the most awe-inspiring virtual worlds ever made".
In 1999–2000, a dispute occurred between Ian Bell and David Braben regarding Bell's decision to make available all versions of the original Elite. The dispute has since ended and the various versions became available again on Bell's site.
In the late 1980s a variant of the commercial BBC Micro Elite release was created by Angus Duggan by disassembling and modifying the 6502 code from the existing with many extra features, originally titled Elite III but now known as Elite A to minimise confusion. It includes many more ship types, more ship types flyable by the player (who begins in the less capable Adder), cargo delivery missions, some extra equipment items and numerous gameplay improvements. Elite A was released publicly in 1997. Like the original game, it can be downloaded free from Ian Bell's web site and played under emulation.
Many attempts to develop clones of Elite have been made, but most have been abandoned before completion or have otherwise failed to come to fruition. The open source Oolite is a notable exception. Another successful adaptation is 1337 (meaning "Elite" in Leetspeak) developed by Jose Maria Enguita for the Oric machines, that won the 2010 Oldschool Gaming Game Of The Year Award. Contrasting with these conversions, around 1999 Christian Pinder developed Elite: The New Kind as a modern PC port of the original BBC Micro version. He achieved a faithful port by reverse-engineering the original assembly written BBC Micro version and recreating a platform neutral C code variant from it. But at David Braben's request this version was withdrawn from distribution in 2003. In September 2014, on Elite's 30th birthday, Ian Bell blessed Elite: The New Kind and re-released it for free on his website. Since then, Elite: The New Kind is also distributed again in version 1.1 by Christian Pinder.
Three official sequels have been created: Frontier: Elite II (1993) and Frontier: First Encounters (Elite III) (1995), both produced by Braben's company Frontier Developments. A third sequel, Elite: Dangerous (conceived in 1998, provisionally titled Elite 4), was successfully crowdfunded initially through a Kickstarter campaign in late 2012, and released in December 2014.
Bell had limited involvement in the first sequel, and was not involved in the production of the second. Both Frontier games were a considerable advance on the original Elite, with filled 3D graphics, missions and a complex economy. This time, the player was not confined to orbit but could land on and explore or mine planets. The number of flyable ships was greatly increased, and a new political backstory was introduced enabling the player to gain ranks in competing interstellar empires. Frontier Elite II appeared on the Commodore Amiga, Atari ST and IBM PC whilst Frontier: First Encounters was only released for IBM PC.
The two Frontier games were significantly flawed in a number of respects. Both games had many bugs, First Encounters in particular, due apparently to being published in an incomplete state. First Encounters was extensively patched, then reissued and finally withdrawn from sale. This was followed by a lawsuit brought by Gametek against David Braben. The two games employed a realistic flight model based on Newtonian mechanics rather than the original arcade-style engine. While this was more realistic, many players also found it frustratingly difficult, particularly in combat. Most space trading games since Elite have stuck to an arcade-style flight model, in which the ships behave as though they are flying in an atmosphere.
- "Games by Frontier - Elite". Archived from the original on January 27, 2010.
- LaMosca, Adam (July 18, 2006). "Lost in the Void". The Escapist. Retrieved November 17, 2007.
- Gazzard, Alison (December 2013). "The Platform and the Player: exploring the (hi)stories of Elite". Game Studies: the International Journal of Computer Game Research. 13 (2). ISSN 1604-7982. Archived from the original on March 30, 2014.
- "Practical Computing". Practical Computing. 8: 100. 1985.
- "Frontier: Elite II official page". 2007. Retrieved July 2, 2010.
- "Frontier: First Encounters - Official site".
- "Elite: Dangerous release date set for next month". PC Gamer. November 7, 2014. Retrieved November 7, 2014.
- "The history of ... Elite", Retro Gamer, Imagine Publishing (47): 23–31, February 2008
- "Gamasutra - Gary Penn interview".
- Jonric (August 1, 2000). "EVE Interview". RPGVault. Archived from the original on November 7, 2013. Retrieved June 19, 2008.
- "Evolution and Risk: CCP on the Freedoms of EVE Online". Gamasutra. Retrieved August 5, 2007.
- "The Making of EVE Online". PC Gamer. Retrieved January 24, 2011.
- Gestalt (October 21, 1999). "X: Beyond The Frontier Review". Eurogamer. Retrieved June 19, 2008.
- Shoemaker, Richie (August 13, 2001). "PC Review: X - Beyond the Frontier". Computer and Video Games. Archived from the original on April 8, 2011. Retrieved June 20, 2008.
If, however - like me - you consider Elite to be the best game ever made, X - Beyond The Frontier is by far its closest relation.
- Wolf (January 25, 2006). "X3: Reunion review at games xtreme". games xtreme. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
- "No Man's Sky - The Story, Gameplay, and Multiplayer Explained". IGN.com.
- "Frontier Developments Admission to Trading on AIM, Selected back catalogue" (PDF). p. 12. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 13, 2013.
- "Frontier Developments Admission to Trading on AIM, IP Assignment Agreement" (PDF). p. 101. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 13, 2013.
- "Classic Game Postmortem - ELITE". GCD.com.
- "Elite - Review", Zzap!64, Newsfield Publications Ltd (1): 16–17, May 1985
- "Elite". mobygames.com. Retrieved January 19, 2015.
- "Elite - Review", Crash (magazine), Newsfield Publications (22): 28&30, November 1985
- Barton, Matt; Bill Loguidice (April 7, 2009). "The History of Elite: Space, the Endless Frontier". Gamasutra. Retrieved December 27, 2009.
- "An Elite Crew", Micro Adventurer (15): 15, January 1985
- "Elite FAQ Ian Bell Autumn 1999". Retrieved January 23, 2015.
- Pfeifer, Robert. "alt.fan.elite FAQ". Archived from the original on February 26, 2009. Retrieved August 4, 2006. Section 3.18 and 3.19.
- Rusell DeMaria, Johnny L. Wilson, High Score!: the illustrated history of electronic games, p. 340-341
- "Elite Trivia". Archived from the original on May 30, 2006. Retrieved May 21, 2006.
- Braben, David. "I am David Braben, co-creator of Elite, creator of Frontier, Frontier II and the upcoming Elite: Dangerous". Reddit AMA. Retrieved December 30, 2012.
- "David Braben", The One, EMAP (28): 112, January 1991
- "Interview - From Outsider To Elite: In Conversation With David Braben". Gamasutra. October 17, 2005.
- Spufford, Francis (October 18, 2003), "Masters of their universe, edited extract from Backroom Boys: The Secret Return Of The British Boffin", The Guardian, London, ISBN 9780571214969
- Francis Spufford (October 18, 2003). "Masters of Their Universe". The Guardian. Retrieved May 8, 2015.
- UK Channel 5 television program "Brits Who Made The Modern World", 7.30-8.00 pm August 22, 2008
- "BBC Software", Your Computer: 60, November 1984
- "Q&A: David Braben--from Elite to today". GameSpot.com.
- "Trader to the stars", Micro Adventurer (14): 20–22, December 1984
- Maher, Jimmy (December 26, 2013). "Elite (or, The Universe on 32 K Per Day)". The Digital Antiquarian. Retrieved January 26, 2015.
- "Exile Disk Copy protection".
- "Rob Northen Interview".
- "Games that changed the world: Elite". Computer & Video Games. Archived from the original on February 11, 2007.
- "Hal Joins the Elite", Your Computer: 50, December 1984
- "Ian Bell's Elite site".
- "Elite bugged", Popular Computing Weekly, 3 (49): 5, December 6–12, 1984
- "Elite bug is removed", Popular Computing Weekly, 3 (50): 5, December 13–19, 1984
- "Elite Auction", Micro Adventurer (14): 7, December 1984
- "Elite for Spectrum". Home Computing Weekly. Argus Press (92): 5. December 11, 1984.
- "Face to Face with the Elite Programmer, Ricardo Pinto", Amtix! Magazine, Newsfield Publications Ltd (13), pp. 84–86, November 1986
- "The Ultimate Space game Elite", Amstrad Action, Future plc (3), pp. 70–71, December 1985
- "Elite - Amiga Version - Detail questions".
- "Gaming Greats – Elite (1984)". stuff.tv. Stuff. April 19, 2010. Retrieved January 30, 2012.
The later version of Elite on the Acorn Archimedes is viewed as the best [...]
- "Archimedes Elite". Elite Wiki. Retrieved October 5, 2006.
- Acorn User, September 1995
- Jeffrey, Lee (January 11, 2006). "Free games". The Icon Bar. Retrieved March 26, 2012.
- "Elite - Review", Amstrad Action, Future plc (5), pp. 50–51, February 1986
- "Elite - Review", Amtix! Magazine, Newsfield Publications Ltd (4), pp. 32–33, February 1986
- Fell, David (November 1984), "Elite - An Outstanding New Game from Acornsoft", BEEBUG Magazine, 3 (6), p. 7
- "Elite - C64 Review", C+VG, Future Publishing (47): 22, September 1985
- "Elite - Spectrum Review", C+VG, Future Publishing (50): 33, December 1985
- "Elite - Atari ST Review", C+VG, Future Publishing (85): 36–39, November 1988
- "Elite - Review", Sinclair User, EMAP (44): 26, November 1985
- "Supreme Challenge", Your Sinclair, Future plc (35): 83, November 1988
- "Join the new Elite", Personal Computer Games (12): 44–45, November 1984
- "Elite - Review", Zzap!64, Newsfield Publications Ltd (46): 63–65, February 1989
- "C&VG's Golden Joystick Awards". Computer and Video Games. Future Publishing (44): 122. June 1985. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
- "The CRASH 1985 Readers Awards", Crash (magazine), Newsfield Publications (27): 66, April 1986
- "Game of the Year Award". Computer Gamer. Argus Press (11): 13.
- "The Top 25 PC Games of All Time". IGN. July 24, 2000. Retrieved June 20, 2008.
- "Top 100 Retro Games", Retro Gamer, Live Publishing (9): 49–63, October 2004
- Moran, Michael (September 20, 2007). "The ten most influential video games ever". London: Times Online. Retrieved June 20, 2008.
- "100 Greatest Games", Stuff, pp. 116–126, October 2008
- Carless, Simon (August 26, 2007). "Telespiele 1972–2007 Picks Most Influential Games". GameSetWatch. Retrieved June 20, 2008.
- "Elite page, with sales figures from Acornsoft". February 12, 2014.
- "The Making Of: Elite". Edge. May 22, 2009. Archived from the original on April 26, 2012. Retrieved December 27, 2009.
- Ferrell, Keith (December 1987). "The Commodore Games That Live On And On". Compute's Gazette. pp. 18–22. Retrieved January 24, 2015.
- "Elite - Review", C+VG, Future Publishing (52): 64, December 1985
- "Top 100 Speccy Games", Your Sinclair, Future plc (73): 34–36, January 1992, archived from the original on January 1, 1999
- "Readers' Top 100 Games of All Time", Your Sinclair, Future plc (93): 11, September 1993
- "The 50 Best Speccy Games Ever!". ysrnry.co.uk. November 2004.
- Brooks, M. Evan (November 1992). "Strategy & Wargames: The Future (2000-....)". Computer Gaming World. Ziff Davis (100): 99. Retrieved July 4, 2014.
- Next Generation 21 (September 1996), p.70.
- Barnett, Jane (October 24, 2006), Game On in London!, retrieved December 4, 2009
- Howson, Greg (October 26, 2006), "The 50 Greatest Games Of All Time", The Guardian, London, ISBN 0755315707, retrieved December 4, 2009
- Eberle, Matt (November 17, 2004). "Star Sonata Review". GameZone. Archived from the original on April 3, 2012. Retrieved June 18, 2008.
- Gillen, Kieron (July 17, 2006). "Darkstar One Review". Eurogamer. Retrieved June 19, 2008.
- Vandervell, Andrew (August 16, 2006). "DarkStar One Review for PC". VideoGamer.com. Retrieved June 19, 2008.
- Williams, Bryn (September 2000). "GameSpy.com - Hall of Fame: Elite". GameSpy. Archived from the original on February 11, 2008. Retrieved June 20, 2008.
- "75 Power Players". Next Generation. Imagine Media (11): 50. November 1995.
It was one of the very first games to feature 3D graphics, but more importantly it challenged the definition of what a computer game was.
- Hartmeyer, Steve (February 13, 2008). "Dev Diary: The Inspirations Behind Jumpgate Evolution". The MMO Gamer. Retrieved June 20, 2008.
- Bergman, Jason. "Serious Brass Ones (A peek inside the world of Derek Smart)". looneygames. Retrieved June 20, 2008.
- Johnson, Joe (February 9, 2006). "Infinity: Quest for the Earth". ModDB. Retrieved June 20, 2008.
- "Hard Truck: Apocalyptic Wars interview". Duck and Cover. April 25, 2005. Retrieved June 20, 2008.
- Carroll, Russell (October 27, 2003). "Chat with Cornutopia about FLATSPACE by Game Tunnel". Game Tunnel. Archived from the original on October 8, 2010. Retrieved June 20, 2008.
- "The hot 100 game developers of 2007". Edge. March 3, 2007. Archived from the original on August 20, 2012. Retrieved June 20, 2008.
David Braben is one of the old-time legends of British computer gaming – along with Ian Bell, he co-wrote the space simulator Elite, a hugely influential game often earmarked as one of the best ever made.
- Asterick (May 29, 2008). "Presented in Retrovision: Elite". Gay Gamer. Retrieved June 20, 2008.
Elite is still one of the most influential games to date, having inspired EVE Online, Freespace, Jumpgate, Homeworld and a handful of other space titles.
- Barrat, Andy (January 30, 2008). "Racing Into The Future". G4techTV Canada. Retrieved June 20, 2008.
But [the BBC Micros] weren't just for learning on, a handful of games were actually released for the Beeb—two of the most influential games ever in fact f– one of which was Revs. (...) The other super influential game [besides Revs] by the way, was Elite.
- Karlsson, Peter (2000), "Classic Commodore games on the web", Commodore World (8),
In 1984, Ian Bell was the one of the authors of a game that by many still is regarded as the best game ever written, Elite (the other author was David Braben).
- Whitehead, Dan (February 4, 2008). "Born Free: the History of the Openworld Game". Eurogamer. Retrieved June 20, 2008.
- "The complete history of open-world games". Computer and Video Games. May 24, 2008. Retrieved June 20, 2008.
- Fahey, Rob (February 6, 2004). "X2: The Threat Review". Eurogamer. Retrieved June 20, 2008.
- Fahey, Rob (September 30, 2003). "X2 - The Threat preview". Eurogamer. Retrieved June 19, 2008.
- Maher, Jimmy (January 7, 2014). "Mike Singleton and The Lords of Midnight". The Digital Antiquarian. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
- Ian Bell's Elite pages - November 1999 : Elite 15th Anniversary - Released the program sources
- Bell, Ian (November 1, 1999). "Elite Archives ----The Files----". iancgbell.clara.net. Archived from the original on November 18, 2000. Retrieved November 6, 2015.
- David Braben's Legal Threats to the Elite Home Page on Ian Bell's webpage (updated 19/09/14)
- "Bell and Braben See Eye-to-eye as Original Elite Sees Dual Re-release". cabume.co.uk. September 25, 2014. Archived from the original on April 13, 2015.
- "Elite-A - an extended version of Elite for the BBC Microcomputer".
- 2010 Oldschool Gaming Game Of The Year Award
- Elite - The New Kind - The reverse engineered source code to Elite by Christian Pinder (archived October 2000)
- "NewKind". Christian Pinder. Archived from the original on August 9, 2008. Retrieved August 9, 2008.
- Martin, Matt (September 17, 2014). "Classic space sim Elite goes free this weekend". vg247. Retrieved November 6, 2015.
A superior remake of the original space trading game Elite will be released for free this weekend, 30 years after the original game launched
- Bell, Ian (September 20, 2014). "Elite 30th Anniversary". elitehomepage.org. Archived from the original on September 2, 2015.
Today, 20th September 2014 is the 30th anniversary of the day the world first experienced Elite, the 3D space trading and combat game written by Ian Bell and David Braben in conjunction with Acornsoft. From that beginning on the BBC Micro and Acorn Electron, the game went on to be released for most home computers of the time. Celebrate by playing Elite again, for free. Thanks to Matt Goldbolt. the original BBC Micro version now runs direct in the Google Chrome browser if you click here. Or for Windows PCs, download Christian Pinder's Elite: The New Kind by clicking here.
- Elite – The New Kind on christianpinder.com
- Elite (1985)(Firebird Software) (ZX Spectrum) on archive.org "In Collection: Historical Software Collection, Uploaded by Jason Scott on 10/20/2013"
- "Frontier Reveals Elite 4: One of the greatest of all games makes a return". IGN.com. March 8, 2001. Retrieved September 14, 2007.
- "Elite series". mobygames.com. Retrieved January 23, 2015.
- "Elite: Dangerous - procedural generation". youtube.com. Retrieved December 20, 2012.
- "Comment by David Braben on Nov. 19, 2012". kickstarter.com. Retrieved December 20, 2012.
- Masters of their universe - an excerpt on Guardian.co.uk from Backroom Boys: The Secret Return Of The British Boffin, by Francis Spufford, ISBN 9780571214969 (October 18, 2003).
- Gamasutra's The History of Elite: Space, The Endless Frontier by Bill Loguidice and Matt Barton (April 7, 2009).
- GDC 2011 presentation Postmortem of Elite by David Braben (2011)
- The Elite Home Page by Ian Bell
- Elite at World of Spectrum
- Elite can be played for free in the browser at the Internet Archive
The Way of the Exploding Fist
|UK number-one Spectrum game