Elite is back! A guide for the uninitiated…

A version of this first appeared over at the Gollancz Blog.

I was delighted to hear that classic game ELITE was making a comeback this year, and even more delighted when I learned that Gollancz would be publishing a trio of tie-in novels. But what is thing you call ELITE, you cry? You mean you don’t know?!

Well, I had a similar reaction from some of m’learned (or not) sales colleagues at Orion Publishing, so I put together the following to help them sell it in…

 

Morning all,

It has come to my attention that some of you are struggling to get your heads around the Elite books, so here’s a quick guide for you norms…

Elite was a space trading game launched in 1984. The player could pootle around the universe, going from space station to space station, buying and selling goods. Of course, after a while this got boring and the player would be tempted to sell weapons and narcotics to make more money to buy cool stuff like docking computers (docking was really bloody hard), but this would usually get you blown up by the space fuzz.

It was massively addictive, and I, like many others my age, spent hours hunched over my BBC B computer staring at simple graphics like this…

 

That triangle thing is a spaceship, the dodecahedron thingy with the letterbox is a space station.
That triangle thing is a spaceship, the dodecahedron thingy with the letterbox is a space station.

 

It was a huge influence on gaming, and for years afterwards men (mostly) of a certain age would talk whimsically of Elite and the hours of pleasure it gave them (this was years before internet porn).

Well, of course, nothing stays dead forever these days and now Elite is coming back. Only now it looks like this (click to enlarge for the full cor blimey experience)…

Holy crap! Explosions!
Holy crap! Explosions!
Big space stations! Space ships!
Big space stations! Space ships!
More explosions! More spaceships! Where do I sign??
More explosions! More spaceships! Where do I sign??

The new game has been brought to life via Kickstarter – that is, paid for by fans who will get first dibs at the game.Gollancz saw this and, as part of the Kickstarter, bought the rights to the books. The books are all set in the Elite universe and are quite different:

Elite: Wanted by Gavin Smith and Stephen Deas (writing together as Gavin Deas) is the action-packed one:

9781473201293
Action. Packed in like a contortionist in a steamer trunk.

Elite: Nemorensis by Simon Spurrier is the sexy, violent one:

9781473201279
I don’t know what word means, but it sounds cool!

Elite: Docking is difficult by Gideon Defoe is the funny one:

He wrote the brilliant Pirates in an adventure with... books. And he's not wrong about docking.
Gideon wrote the brilliant Pirates in an adventure with… books. And he’s not wrong about docking.

The current plan is to release the eBooks on 15th May and the three HBs on October 16th.

I hope this all helps and let me know if you need any further info.

All the best,

Mark

 

 

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Published by

unusuallytallstories

Author, screenwriter, and co-founder of the Bestseller Experiment podcast.

3 thoughts on “Elite is back! A guide for the uninitiated…”

  1. What a great game it was! Wasn’t it largely silent? I vaguely remember the odd spaceship noise here and there but otherwise my memory suggests there wasn’t much in the way of noise going on? No doubt that’s going to change in the new version with HD full surround bleeps and roars!

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