Galactic Trader was created in the early 1980s by Stephan Meier.
Meier released five major versions, with the final release being 5.33 on February 6, 1992. Galactic Trader is a space-based commodities trading game which shares many ideas with the personal computer game Elite, such as the hostile Thargoid race, player ranks, and the names and descriptions of some ships and equipment. In the most commonly encountered version, 4.55, the player begins as a trader with 200,150 credits, enough to buy a basic trading vessel and a small amount of cargo. The player jumps from system to system, buying commodities and attempting to sell them for a profit. The player may buy illegal items such as slaves and narcotics, but risks a run-in with the Galactic Police. In addition to the police, the player is threatened by pirates and hostile Thargoids. As the player acquires wealth, he is able to purchase more powerful ships, weapons, and equipment. The successful trader also acquires honorary ranks by winning battles with aliens and pirates, starting from a "Rookie" with 0 points to "GAL GOD" at 500,000.
- No known releases before 4.0.
- 4.0, binary release in August 1987; no source code released.
- 4.55, binary release on October 5, 1988; source code on December 18, 1991.
- 5.22, binary release on July 15, 1991
- 5.32, binary release on November 6, 1991; no source code released.
- 5.33, binary release on February 2, 1992; no source code released.
Gamingmuseum.com runs a heavily modified version 4.55 with Police and Navy players, empire alliances, new weapons, bases, player-killing restrictions, ANSI color, MSP music and sound effects, and other features.
WOPR.adelphos.org hosts the stock v5.22 version of this game.