When I was a young boy just breaking my teens and discovering computers and games I came upon a game called Elite. Set in space within a galaxy where anything is possible you could bounty hunt, trade with aliens, build space ships. At first I was not that taken with it. I must've restarted the game over 20 times until I finally docked my ship without pranging it against the station walls.

After I had saved enough for a docking computer I set off on my first kill mission only to end up dead, and dead and dead again. If it wasn't the damn pirates taking me out it was the Thargoids. ‘Harsh’ I thought and that was that, I went off to play atik atak. I never again played Elite...

Until, in my later teens Frontier: Elite 2 was released for the Atari ST and the Commodore Amiga 500. My parents had just bought the Amiga, our first family computer (which quickly became MY computer) and I saved and spent my pocket money on the sequel hailed as the second coming.

I got lost in this game for years. I became very efficient at killing and collecting bounties, using my ships superior military drive to overtake targets in hyper-drive and waiting for them at their exit. Bang, they always died and I got rich. I quickly became a legend and eventually achieved the elite pilot status, one of my greatest achievements (sad I know). I used to love dog-fighting in the upper atmosphere against the Viper police and using gravity to slingshot my ship around white dwarf stars. The awesome-ness of sitting on the red planet Sirrocco and seeing it’s sister planet, a huge ringed gas giant slowly rise above the horizon was a sight not unlike the eclipse in the movie Pitch Black. Flying my nimble ship between the massive cargo ships or flying out to the farthest point of a solar system to catch freighters jumping in from other systems. This game was a blast. In my virtual retirement I became quite a solid miner and could land a 10000 tonne Panther on a moon to harvest it’s precious minerals.

One fateful day I was looking at the immense star map and decided to take a long journey into the unknown. At a distance of 70,000 light years I set a destination. I knew I could scoop hydrogen from gas giants to be used as fuel and I took a supply of food and water. Unfortunately my crew and I never returned, 2 years into the journey my hyper-drive malfunctioned and I was left out of fuel, between stars in deep space with no chance of return. I was lost to the void.

If you have never played Elite then you are missing the one of the best retro gaming experiences available. EVE Online is Elites spiritual successor (Until David Braben finally releases Elite IV) and Frontier is in my opinion still a greater game than EVE Online. Sure it has its faults (only 1 ship could be owned and it was not online at all which eventually made it become a little stale) but I have never been so absorbed by a game before or since. I can only prey that either EVE Online wakes up to the fact that, erm, it’s set in space or Braben finally releases what is expected to become his legacy, Elite IV.

Frontier: Elite 2