Anyone remember this?

A docking computer still counts as one of the best investments i have ever made.
A docking computer still counts as one of the best investments i have ever made.

I can’t begin to count the number of hours I spent playing Elite in the mid 80’s.  I do seem to recall a period of my life where this occupied pretty much all of my spare time, either playing or chatting about it with friends.

If you are fortunate enough to be too young to remember this game, Elite was a landmark. It was the first truly open world sandpit, where your actions determined how the game would unfold.

The idea was simple.  You have a small, minimally armed ship, 100 creds and a rating of ‘Harmless’.  Progress to a rating of ‘Elite’ and amass riches beyond the dreams of avarice.

How you got there was up to you.

You could be a nice guy and trade, amass legitimate profit, arm your ship to the gills and progress to more lucrative (but more dangerous) trading routes. Or you could be  a bad guy, prey on traders, steal their cargo and sell it for yourself. Of course being the bad guy was the ultimate get rich quick scheme, but it came at a price. You would soon find that trading systems would send waves of police ships to blow you away the moment you appeared in their system.

Or you met a bounty hunter.  Heavily armed ships would appear and start blasting away at you for no apparent reason. You became a man with a price on his head.

You would see this a lot…

elitefire
It was an honest mistake guv’ honest.

…as you tried to fend off pretty much every ship that took a dislike to you. Which was all of them.

So you made your choices and took your chances. Pretty much everyone that I knew that played this game, opted for somewhere in between. Do a spot of lucrative trading, but also should opportunity arise, happily run off with someones cargo.

The one thing that was missing from this game was online interaction with other players.  Back in the 80’s before the days of the internet, there was very little in the way of online gaming.  There were a few Multi User Dungeon games (MUD) but they were on the whole pretty grim compared to todays online multiplayer experience.  Its not to say that Elite wasnt social though, friends would chat about the systems they had discovered, give each others tips on trading routes and outline missions they had triggered.

But…there wasnt the satisfaction of knowing that as you flew through the debris of a ship you had blown away,  there would be someone on the other side of the world, shouting and waving their fist at the screen as you made off with their hard earned cargo.

All that is about to change though.

I came across a Kickstarter project for Elite: Dangerous a couple of months back. The goal of this project is to amass approx £1.25 mill’ to create an Elite for the 21st century. I was taken with the possibility to the extent where I put £40 into the pot to back it.

(One of the perks of backing it is that I get to name a non player character in the game – if I name this character after myself, i have the opportunity to annoy possibly thousands of people I have never met)

The Kickstarter project was successful with enough money to not only proceed with the project, but also to add new player ships into the mix too.

Here’s the link to Elite Dangerous Kickstarter for more details.

Of course the graphics are vastly updated… this is the version from the 80’s.

 

and this is the updated Elite: Dangerous version

The big difference though, isnt the graphics – its the gameplay. For me, the most important aspect of this new Elite is  the possibility to reach out to other gamers from all over the world, destroy their ships and steal their cargo.

The date for release is March 2014.

Sounds far away – but I suspect it will be here before you know it.

If you cant wait though, why not take a step back in time and play the original?