Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Elite: Dangerous

In these days of multi-core processors and 1024Mb dedicated graphics cards, it would be easy to look with some distain on the games I used to play way back when having a computer in the home started to take off.

There was an awful lot of dross out there. We knew no better of course, but we'd happily play derivative clones of a few basic concepts. When Elite came out, it was totally unlike anything else that had gone before. I'd have killed to have owned a BBC B computer just so I could play it. Eventually, it came out on the ZX spectrum, which is what I had, and I was able to finally play it to my heart's content. I still occasionally fire up the old Cobra MkIII as the original game is now abandonware, and is relatively easy to find online.

There are also more modern versions of the same game, that use fancy graphics and what have you, while staying fairly close to the spirit and feel of the original.

When 16 bit computer systems came out, a sequel, "Frontier" was developed. When I got an Amiga back in the early 1990's, I made sure I got this too, and I spent many happy hours doing boring repetitive trade runs and building up to a fully kitted out, and near as damn it unhurtable Panther Clipper.

Frontier is also now available as shareware.

There was a half arsed Elite 3 as well, but I never really took to that somehow.

Anyway, David Braben, who with Ian Bell, wrote the original game, is trying to get a massive multiplayer all singing all dancing modern version up and running using crowdsourced funds to get it off the ground.


I'm sorely tempted to pledge £20

driving lessons in Wallasey? learn to drive in Wirral? driving instructor in Birkenhead?


Jim Bliss said...

I was a big fan of Elite way back when. I think I played it on the Spectrum (though I upgraded to a C64 at some point and I can never remember which games I played on which system).

Ant Attack is still my favourite (non-text adventure) game from that era. I spent far too long immersed in that world of blocks and giant ants. I've resisted all temptation to track down an emulator version as it will inevitably disappoint me.

My favourites were the text adventures though - Infocom, Melbourne House and Scott Adams were the pantheon.

Although thinking about it; there was a game called "Lords of Midnight" that I've not thought about in a while which probably consumed as much of my childhood as all the other games combined - I might track that one down and see how it's aged...

Paul said...

The spectrum version had a bit of shaped plastic called a lenslok, which used a pattern that, when viewed through the plastic, divulged letters that you then typed in to start the game. I don't know if the C64 used the same protection system.

Melbourne House and Adventure could only be one thing - The Hobbit. That's still quite fun to play even now. Even if you do get killed by a vicious warg from time to time. http://www.abandonia.com/en/games/1025/Hobbit%2C+The.html

I remember 3D ant attack too. The advertising mentioned M C Escher extensively, and at the higher levels, it was a 4 dimensional kinetic puzzle to challenge the brightest. http://sandywhite.co.uk/fun/ants/

Jim Bliss said...

As well as The Hobbit, Melbourne House also released the excellent 'Sherlock', plus the often overlooked Lord of The Rings text adventure (which was ground-breaking at the time in that it allowed you to switch between characters).