Yesterday’s magazine section of The Guardian included an extract from a forthcoming book entitled "Backroom Boys: The Secret Return of the British Boffin" by Francis Spufford.
The extracted chapter details the fascinating story of the duo responsible for creating what is, in my humble opinon, the greatest computer game of all time: Elite.
"Suddenly, the player’s spaceship wasn’t just a nimble 3D firing platform: it was a cargo hauler as well. And trading implied places in which to trade. The game needed serious three-dimensional geography. And things to trade. And prices. And markets… The new wishes multiplied. They kept going.
Perhaps the reason they kept going was that they wanted the universe they were building to feel solid: like a science-fiction novel that rings true because all its inventions are consistent with each other."
One of the game’s developers, Ian Bell, has a website where he posts published versions of Elite for various aging platforms. He and the other developer, David Braben, don’t get along much these days.
Ah, nostalgia… it just isn’t what it used to be.