40 years since Elite became the most fun you could have with 22 kilobytes

Technically Retrogaming, but worth a read.

In 1984 the launch of a computer game was reported on British national news. The purported reason? The news editor apparently walked in after lunch and found all the staff were playing it.

That game was the legendary space combat and trading sim Elite. Commander Jameson was the name of the first character the player could control, and as the days went on, thousands of Commander Jamesons launched out to explore eight galaxies and 2,048 planets by way of 3-D wireframe graphics, a realistic physics engine, and astounding gameplay. The code used just 22 kilobytes of memory, and players could get the game through the post. Sophie Wilson, who designed the BBC computer that the game ran on, famously described Elite as “the game that couldn’t have been written.”
[I]n 2021, web developer Martin Moxon finally managed to assemble the original code in a playable format (thanks in part to the COVID lockdown) and has made it freely available for those looking to try the original. He explained to The Register how this was done, which you can read later in the piece.

But first Ian Bell, who has since moved out of gaming into computer-aided design, spoke to us about the early days of Elite and how this legendary game was spawned.


Nice! (Not retro gaming by my definition because it’s about the history and the design and implementation. )

FWIW, it’s absolutely retrogaming by my definition.

My definition: Whatever retrogaming YouTubers and media writers/etc go on and on about on their retrogaming channels/articles/etc.

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Perhaps I should have said that it’s not only retro gaming. By my definition it’s also retro computing.

(Edit: this only matters, if it matters at all, because somewhere someone wrote that the retro gaming experience is not a focus of a retro computing forum)