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Elite on the BBC Micro and NES

Fully documented source code for Elite on the BBC Micro and NES

BBC Micro Elite screenshotBBC Micro Elite screenshotBBC Micro 6502 Second Processor Elite screenshot

This site contains the original 1984 source code for the classic space game Elite, with every single line documented and (for the most part) explained.

You can read over 100 deep dives into how Elite weaves its magic, and explore a collection of modern Elite hacks that take the game to a new level. Check out the quick start guide for more suggestions.

The following versions of Elite are covered:

Note that the source code has only been released for the BBC Micro cassette and 6502 Second Processor versions, so some of the code in the other versions has been reconstructed by hand from a disassembly of the original game binaries (but most of it is still the original 1980s source).

NES Elite screenshot

Elite was written by Ian Bell and David Braben, and was published by Acornsoft (for the Acorn market) and Imagineer (for the NES). The original sources were released some time ago by Ian Bell on his personal website.

My hope is that this site will be useful for those who want to learn more about Elite and what makes it tick. It is provided on an educational and non-profit basis, with the aim of helping people appreciate one of the most iconic games of the 8-bit era.

Suggestions for your visit

To start your journey into the secrets of Elite, you might like to try the following:

If you prefer a lighter theme for your Elite explorations, you can change the site's colour scheme by clicking the icons in the top-right corner.

If you want to play with the code

If you are interested in building a working copy of Elite from the source, then you'll enjoy exploring the accompanying GitHub repositories, each of which contains fully commented and buildable source code for a specific version of Elite:

These repositories can be assembled on modern computers to produce working game discs that can be loaded into a BBC Micro, an Acorn Electron, a NES or an emulator. If you want to experiment with the code, this is the place to go.

Similar projects

And finally, you may also be interested in my other software archaeology projects:

Right on, Commanders!

Mark Moxon