Elite is a space trading video game, written and developed by David Braben and Ian Bell and originally published by Acornsoft for the BBC Micro and Acorn Electron computers in September 1984. Elite's open-ended game model, and revolutionary 3D graphics led to it being ported to virtually every contemporary home computer system, and earned it a place as a classic and a genre maker in gaming history. The game's title derives from one of the player's goals of raising their combat rating to the exalted heights of "Elite".
Elite was one of the first home computer games to use wire-frame 3D graphics with hidden line removal. It added graphics and twitch gameplay aspects to the genre established by the 1974 game Star Trader. Another novelty was the inclusion of The Dark Wheel, a novella by Robert Holdstock which gave players insight into the moral and legal codes to which they might aspire.
The game was followed by the sequels Frontier: Elite II in 1993, and Frontier: First Encounters in 1995, which introduced Newtonian physics, realistic star systems and seamless freeform planetary landings. A third sequel, Elite: Dangerous, began crowdfunding in 2012 and was launched on 16 December 2014, following a period of semi-open testing.
Elite proved hugely influential, serving as a model for other games including Wing Commander: Privateer, Grand Theft Auto, EVE Online, Freelancer, the X series and No Man's Sky.
Non-Acorn versions were each first published by Firebird and Imagineer. Subsequently, Frontier Developments has claimed the game to be a "Game by Frontier", to be part of its own back catalogue and all the rights to the game to have been owned by David Braben.