Celebrating 25 years of high-concept/low resolution computer games

21 September 2009

Bitterwallet - EliteRemember the innocent days when a top whack computer game cost £9.99 and was loaded by cassette? Good times. Sadly, even when it was brand new, the Acorn Electron was third rate. Thankfully there was big brother BBC Micro with its glorious red, black and beige keyboard which were ok until all the cool kids got their Spectrum +3's and Commodore 64's. For those of us with parents lacking any sense regarding the home computer revolution, we were left to play the likes of Ravenskull instead of Afterburner (Superior Software titles were quite decent, though).

Still it's nice to see trivial anniversaries celebrated, and at the same time note what BBC planning editors consider a reasonable use of a BBC film crew. That's not strictly fair; Elite was one of the first computer games to use 3D wire animation, combining space battles with a role-playing architecture. It was eventually ported onto most other major consoles including the NES.

If your 25th Elite birthday party is already in full swing, don't let us keep you from it - everyone else can watch the BBC's walkthrough of the original game with creator David Braben. Those of you in your late teens with no concept of world history may see the graphics and expect an air raid siren to sound in the distance.

Bitterwallet - Elite walkthrough

6 comments

  • Sam
    Holy crap, the manual for this game was bigger than I am!
  • Jabba
    Can I have the months and months I spent playing Elite back ? (I did reach Elite in the end incidentally)... Right on Commander!!
  • The B.
    How long did it take to come out on anything other than the BBC? I ended up playing Battle of the Planets as a poor substitute. http://www.mobygames.com/game/battle-of-the-planets
  • Tim
    Still the best game ever in my book. So much gameplay and universe all in 32k ! Acornsoft & Superior did come up with some crackers. Many were versions of arcade classics of course, just like most games out in those days, although had a distinct Beeb charm to them. Many home grown games too. Repton was a classic, and Citadel was a great take on the Jet Set Willy style of game and of course Acornsoft had Elite, some good arcade conversions including a great PacMan clone, but also Revs, the forerunner to the F1 GP series on the PC (written by Geoff Crammond who also produced the early Acornsoft release Aviator which was not a bad arcade style spitfire flight sim for it's time - and even included flying under bridges and shooting... aliens!). Ah, the old days of popping into a local computer shop or a market and picking up some obscure game for a few quid and keen to get home to play it. The tape loading time made the wait even more exciting (even if the game was often a let down).
  • Paul S.
    Tim, you're a man after my own heart! The PacMan clone was Snapper - we had an Atari sometime before the Acorn Electron but never got PacMan. My parents would stay up until stupid o'clock playing Snapper. Repton was fun, JSW was blindingly good - I think the last big blowout was Exile before I moved on to the computers at college.
  • computer g.
    Believe it or not, playing computer games can have a direct benefit to your health especially if you are recovering from an injury.

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