The Joy of Geeks

I started reading this article in the Guardian. It started off talking in loving detail about two teenagers’ first computers in 1981. The teenagers names were dropped in a way that made me think I should know who they were, David Braben and Ian Bell. This clearly being a computerish article, I consulted resident geek No 1 (Daz). He ummed, said he thought he recognised one of the names but wasn’t sure.

So I read on, hoping for enlightenment. It described how they’d both gone to Cambridge, met up and started working on a game together. The title of the game, Elite, was dropped in a similar, accidental-on-purpose fashion. Still none the wiser, I tried out this title on the other resident geek (Ian).

Ian stuck his head through the banister and burbled for five minutes including phrases like “the first truly genius game”, “It was really cool with trading and shooting people” and “It’s ELITE! How could you not have heard of this?” and then wandered off to see if he could find anything about it on the net.

So it seems I am the only one who hasn’t heard of this. Elite came out in 1984 when I had more important things on my mind (turning 4, adopting the girl next door as my big sister, trying to climb the back fence). It has a apparently fell into the black hole between the true antiques, Pacman and Space Invaders, and the games I started to play in the late 80s, along with anything on the Spectrum.

But I live with geeks and have therefore be not only educated in the wonder that is Elite but supplied with a link to a Java version. Which I present here, whether you have sat here thinking “What is she talking about?” or happily reminiscing about the hours you wasted at it the first time.

Cross-posted to my LJ along with lots of other pointless gubbins.

(I have also spent the last hour arguing with Daz about whether he is a geek.)