1001 Video Games
Elite appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.
The book Game On! From Pong to Oblivion: The 50 Greatest Video games of All Time contains a chapter on Elite.
Elite's two creators, Ian Bell and David Braben, were not on the best of terms for a long time, ever since development on Elite 2 was cancelled. This erupted into open confrontation during 1999-2000 when Bell decided to release all versions of Elite as freeware. The dispute was settled and all files relevant to Elite and Braben's version of the matter can be found in Ian Bell's website.
The ZX Spectrum version used Lenslok as copy protection. Lenslok was a physical device with a lense unique to the game which had to be used to decipher a code (more information here). The first few hundred copies of the game were delivered with a faulty Lenslok device, rendering the game unusable.
Two versions were supplied with the DOS release, Shaded and Line Drawn. At the selection screen this message is displayed regarding the shaded version: "...but unless your machine is powerful (6MHz 80286 or greater) it will not run very quickly and you should select the line drawn version."
The package came with a novella about how your father sacrificed himself and saved you by dumping you in the lone escape pod in the ship, and how you managed to "acquire" this ship that you are driving at the beginning of the game.
Many of Elite's original releases are now available on Ian Bell's (one of the game's developers) homepage. These include hard to find MSX, NES and BBC Micro versions, to name a few.
This was apparently the first game, or among the first games, to have a fan club.
Game On exhibition
Elite is being exhibited as part of the "Game On" exhibition in places like the London Science Museum. David Braben also gave a lecture as part of the exhibition in 2006.
Ian Bell's brother, Aidan Bell, enjoyed a spell of success writing for musical theatre; sooner or later his muse led him to his brother's enormous success story, which (believe it or not) resulted in 1989's completion of Elite: the Musical, furthering the storyline set forth in Robert Holdstock's novella The Dark Wheel. The book and lyrics, with mp3 recordings, (c) Pink Hippo Productions Ltd, can be perused.
Whether or not this musical has ever been produced on the off-Broadway stage is unclear, though one figures the chances are slim to nil.
Elite (as of 2009) holds fours Guinness World Records. These are for the most format releases for a space trading game, being released on 25 different formats, the first space trading game, the first game to use Lenslok copy protection (the ZX Spectrum version) and the first space game to use procedural generation.
- The docking sequence is borrowed from the movie 2001 - A Space Odyssey. Also, the music ("On the beautiful Blue Danube") used in this sequence is the same as in the movie. The only difference is, that the space station looks different, but the one who played the sequel to Elite, namely Frontier: Elite II, knows that this got corrected...
- The second worst pilot rating, "Mostly Harmless", is an obvious reference to Douglas Adams's "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" book series. In the books, "Mostly harmless." is the entire contents of the Hitchhiker's Guide article about Earth. One of the books is also called "Mostly Harmless", though it was published after Elite hit the shelves.
Most of the ships, which can be cycled through in start-up with F9/F10, in the game are named after snakes. There's a few exceptions such as the Moray and Gecko.
ZX Spectrum 128K version
Enhanced version for ZX Spectrum 128K was released which introduced three new missions and fixed a number of bugs.
Game Art Beyond
In 2018, Elite was selected as one of the biggest classics on the Commodore 64 by the creators of the C64 graphics collection Game Art Beyond. Elite was honoured with a high resolution title picture (based on Atari ST title screen artwork) in a special C64 graphics format called NUFLI, along with a new, much extended C64 interpretation of the C64 Elite theme and docking computer music.
- Amiga Power
- May 1991 (issue #00) - #75 in the "All Time Top 100 Amiga Games"
- Commodore Format
- February 1991 (Issue 5) - listed in the A to Z of Classic Games article (Great)
- July 1993 (Issue 34) - Modern Classics: FRP & RPG
- March 1994 (Issue 42) Heaven – The Path to Righteousness: 20 Essential Games
- November 1994 (Issue 50) – #6 The All-Time Top 50 C64 Games
- Computer Gamer
- 1985 - Game of the Year
- February 1986 (issue #17) - Included in the list Spectrum Collection (the best Spectrum ZX games since 1985 by editorial staff choice)
- 1985 - Best Game Overall
- GameStar (Germany)
- Issue 03/2013 – One of the "Ten Best C64 Games“
- Golden Joystick Awards
- 1984 - Best Original Game
- Happy Computer
- Issue 02/1986 - #2 Best Game in 1985 (Readers' Vote)
- Issue 04/1987 - #12 Best Game in 1986 (Readers' Vote)
- 2000 - #12 Top PC Games of All Time
- Next Generation
- 2008 - #1 Best Game of the 1980s
- Retro Gamer
- October 2004 (Issue #9) – Best Game Of All Time (Readers' Vote)
- Telespiele (trade show)
- 2007 - One of the 16 Most Influential Games in History
- Times Online
- 2007 - #3 Most Influential Video Game Ever
Information also contributed by Kasey Chang, Pseudo_Intellectual, SDfish, sgtcook, SharkD, Silverblade, woods01 and FatherJack
Trivia contributed by Rebound Boy, Chentzilla, Coreus, Zeppin, Patrick Bregger, mailmanppa, Malte Mundt, Jo ST, FatherJack.