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Elite - Acornsoft 1984

It's hard to explain the impact Elite had when it landed in the UK in 1984. Other games had used vector based 3D graphics (notably Atari's Battlezone and the Star Wars arcade game) and other games had developed similar space combat/trading themes (M.U.L.E. and Space Raiders in particular). However, Elite's combination of these two factors into one sprawling, epic game of stellar exploration captured the imagination like few games had before.

With space pirates to battle, deals to be done, new ships to buy and weapons to upgrade - not to mention the constant struggle to move up the rankings from Harmless all the way to Elite ¬- Elite was one of the first games that really felt less like a pastime, and more a way of life.

It was the first game to make ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64 owners envious of the few rich kids with a BBC Micro, though subsequent conversions soon opened up the game to the unwashed masses.

Elite's shadow looms large not just over the great space combat games of the nineties - Wing Commander and X-Wing, for example - and the current sci-fi MMO favourite, EVE, but over every freeform game. Without Elite and the games it immediately inspired, particularly Paul Woakes's Mercenary, there would be no GTA, no S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and no Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. Its scale and sheer ambition give it a sure place in any gaming hall of fame.

Mention: Mining lasers and the mighty Cobra Mark III.

Don't mention: Frontier: Elite 2 and its numerous ‘enhancements' or Frontier: First Encounters and its even more numerous bugs.

David Ritko

October 22, 2014, 8:50 pm

Did you say Space Invaders? http://youtu.be/VczbbiRmDik

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