Elite - Various Items

FrontierAstro Elite Collection 2022

Row 1 (Top):- Acorn Electron Elite, BBC Cassette Elite, BBC Disc Elite, BBC Master Elite, IBM PC Elite, Spectrum Elite, Commodore 64 Elite, Commodore 64/128 Elite

Row 2:- Tatung Einstein Elite, MSX Elite, Apple II Elite, Amstrad CPC Elite (Cassette), Amstrad CPC Elite (Disc), French Amstrad Elite, German Schneider Elite, Nintendo (NES) Elite

Row 3:- BBC Cassette Elite, BBC Disc and Master Elite, Acorn Electron Elite, BBC Master Elite, Atari ST Elite, Commodore Amiga Elite, Commodore Amiga Elite (Firebird), Italian Nintendo (NES) Elite

Row 4:- PC Elite Plus - UK version, PC Elite Plus - US version, Acorn Archimedes Elite, Budget PC Elite Plus, Amstrad Action Elite cassette

BBC Elite In The Media

This is a scan of the full-colour two-page advertisement placed by Acornsoft in the October 1984 edition of Acorn User Magazine. It gives a good overview both of the game itself and also the extras included, such as the novella and flight training manual.
Comparison with other game adverts in the magazine only serves to illustrate how far ahead of the competition Elite and Acornsoft were.

This is a scan of the single-page review of Elite in the October 1984 edition of Acorn User Magazine. Written by Tony Quinn, it is not a full review but it does cover the important aspects of the game and reproduces the familiar mock-up screenshot with numerous ships on-screen. It is worth noting that the retail prices shown are incorrect; BBC disc Elite actually sold at £17.65 and the Electron version for £12.95

Personal Computer News (PCN) magazine was a multi-format weekly publication which ran from March 1983 to May 1985. The edition for the week ending 13th October 1984 featured a one-page review of BBC Elite.The game earned a 10/10 rating, an accolade it shared that week with Roland In Time for the Amstrad CPC.
At the end of a review was a plea to Acornsoft to port the game to the numerous other platforms popular at the time, which duly happened from 1985 onwards, primarily through Firebird.

The December 1984 edition of A&B Computing magazine sported a front cover largely dedicated to the receently released Elite on the BBC and Electron computers. The graphic was the standard Phillip Castle artwork.
Click on the image for a larger version.

Unlike some of their rivals, A&B Computing afforded Elite no particular favours when the review was printed, being somewhat drab in balck and white only. The review contains some factual errors (not all the ships are named after snakes) and some dubious opinions (disc Elite is much better than the cassette version) but is otherwise a well-written and fairly comprehensive review.
Click on the image for a larger version.

Electron User magazine's review of Elite in their April 1985 edition was even more minimalist. No pictures were included, perhaps in an attempt to ignore the lack of colour graphics in the Electron version. The review itself is very positive about the game, however.
Elsewhere in the magazine a reader claimed the black-and-white graphics were easier to read, in any case, and the bug which rendered the Galactic Hyperdrive inoperable in early releases was fine because there were more than enough systems to visit in Galaxy 1!

Also in the December 1984 edition of A&B Computing magazine was a two-page full colour advertisement placed by Acornsoft, revealing their suite of games and programs at that time which could keep a BBC micro owner busy on Christmas Day.
It is not explained anywhere why they feel someone would play Crazy Tracer for twice as long as Elite!
Click on the image for a larger version.

16 months after Elite was released for the BBC and Acorn Electron computers, and possibly to coincide with the arrival of enhanced BBC Master versions of Elite, The Micro User magazine produced a two-part guide to playing Elite in the January & February 1986 editions. The January publication also featured some Elite-based artwork on the front cover, as shown here.

Click on the image for Part 1 to open the full contents.
Part 2 is merely a cheat program and of little practical use.

In December 1984 Acorn News magazine published this article on Elite, together with a photo of the two authors (Ian Bell is on the right)

Elite Gathering, Nottingham - October 2009

At the gathering to celebrate 25 years of Elite, origami sheets for Elite ships were handed out. I managed to get mine signed by David Braben, Ian Bell, Mark Bolitho (origami expert) and Rob Holdstock. Click to the top image to the left to see this.

The bottom image shows a short account by Mark of how Elite origami almost made it into the game packages for the non-Acornsoft releases.

Elite artwork - Philip Castle

For the Acorn versions of Elite, renowned airbrush artist Philip Castle was commissioned to produce the cover artwork. It appeared both on the outer box and on the cover of the novella "The Dark Wheel". It has become an iconic image in the history of computer gaming.

Micro Mart Issue 1076 - October 2009

Micro Mart was a UK-based weekly computer magazine. In October 2009 they printed an article celebrating the 25th anniversary of Elite. Within that article is an image from FrontierAstro showing the complete BBC disc Elite package

Acornsoft Revs manual advert

1984 was an amazing year for the BBC micro as not only was Elite released, but the best 8-bit racing simulation also came out - Revs.
As with Elite, Acornsoft packaged Revs with printed booklets, in this case a Formula 3 Driver's Handbook and a Special Revs Racing Programme. The latter discussed the layout of the Silverstone racing circuit, its history and featured adverts for other Acornsoft products, namely Aviator and Elite.
The picture here is a scan of the Elite advert, which was printed in black and white. Gloria Slap is one of the AI racers in Revs.

After Leeds-based Superior Software bought the rights to Acornsoft's range of games, they re-released the game in new packaging and catered for the new range of BBC machines. This advert, in the February 1987 edition of Electron User Magazine, features the original cassette releases for the BBC and Electron, plus a new version of the 5¼ inch edition, which catered for BBCs with Second Processors plus the BBC Master. For an extra £5.00 the 3½ inch Master Compact version could be bought.

Elite t-shirts

Below left is an Elite-style t-shirt from the now-defunct ntk website. The wording along the bottom reads "WWW.NTK.NET : IN-JOKES FOR OUTCASTS"

To the right of that is a more recent t-shirt offered for sale on ebay, featuring the familiar Elite logo in gold

To mark 30 years since the release of the original Elite, Frontier Developments issued a limited edition t-shirt in September 2014

The front features the famous Elite artwork and the reverse has a small black-and-white logo with the words 'Thirty Years On The Frontier'

Tracker was a game published by Rainbird for a variety of formats in the mid to late 1980s. It was a strategy/action game where you piloted your Skimmer craft through a series of mazes with the ultimate goal of destroying the Centrepoint computer entity. The reason the game is mentioned here is the novella which accompanies the game, also called Tracker and written by British author James Follett.

The novella seems to pay homage to Elite by a number of references, including an orbital station above the planet Lave and a trader encountered there who pilots a Cobra spacecraft.

The Tracker novella can be purchased from Amazon for the Kindle e-reader as part of a trilogy of computer game tie-in novellas written by James Follett entitled Batteries Not Included

Elite - Adverts

To the left is an original poster promoting Elite for the Commodore 64 & Commodore 128 upon its release in the USA in 1985
The rights to release all non-Acorn versions of Elite were owned by Telecomsoft - an offshoot of the British telecommunications company now known as BT. It published a vast number of games in the 1980s under the Firebird brand, as seen here

In the UK, Firebird undertook a big advertising campaign in computer magazines as each version of Elite was released. Many of the 8-bit versions were released in 1985. Below are two of the adverts which appeared in computer game magazines of the time

Elite Memorabilia

The UK's Royal Mail postal service released a variety of video game related stamp sets in January 2020. Amongst these was the Limited Edition Gamer Collection Pack.

In this were individual information cards with a corresponding stamp attached to them for the following games: Elite (1984), Dizzy (1987), Populous (1989), Lemmings (1991), Micro Machines (1991), Sensible Soccer (1992), Wipeout (1995) and Worms (1995).

There was also a small booklet with further information on each game, plus a Certificate of Authenticity for each of the 2500 copies produced. This was all contained within a silver presentation tin.

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