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Elite on the BBC Micro and NES

Different variants of each version

All the versions of Acornsoft Elite on this site have had a few different variants released over the years. For example, the BBC Micro disc version was launched with a couple of serious issues (the "refund" and "asteroid" bugs), so Acornsoft quickly released a new variant containing a set of fixes. And then there are the various unofficial variants and source discs put out by the authors, as well as extended versions like Elite-A.

This table lists all the different contemporary variants of Acornsoft Elite that I know about. Note that in the first column, "Cassette" and "Disc" refer to the BBC Micro cassette and BBC Micro disc versions respectively. The links will take you to more information for each variant, where you can also find download links and a detailed list of what makes that variant unique. For officially released variants, the relevant Acornsoft product code is shown.

To avoid confusion, I haven't included any of the modern versions of Elite that are available from this site (such as flicker-free Elite, Teletext Elite or the Elite Universe Editor). The following is a list of variants from the 1980s; see the Elite hacks section for details of more recent developments.

VersionVariantProduct detailsDate

Cassette

Ian Bell's source disc

Acornsoft SBG38 (TBC)

1984

Cassette

Ian Bell's text sources

TBC

1984

Disc

Ian Bell's game disc

Acornsoft SNG38

1984

Disc

Stairway to Hell archive

Acornsoft SNG38

Acornsoft SNG47

1984

Disc

Sideways RAM version

-

1984 (TBC)

Electron

First release

Acornsoft SLG38

1984

Electron

Every Game Going archive

Acornsoft SLG38 (TBC)

1984

6502SP

Acornsoft SNG45 release

Acornsoft SNG45

Acornsoft SNG47

1985

6502SP

Ian Bell's source disc

-

1985

6502SP

The Executive version

-

1985 (TBC)

Master

Acornsoft SNG47 release

Acornsoft SNG47

1986

Master

Master Compact release

Superior Software

1987

Elite-A

Released version

From Angus Duggan's site

Late 1980s

Elite-A

Angus Duggan's source disc

-

Late 1980s

This table is not necessarily comprehensive, but it contains every 1980s variant that I have analysed, plus the first Electron release with the broken galactic hyperdrive, which I am still trying to track down for inclusion, and the BBC Micro sideways RAM variant, which I have yet to analyse.

I've also listed the details of official products, where applicable. Note that different variants can be released via the same product SKU; for example, the original BBC Micro disc version, released by Acornsoft as SNG38, has some bugs in the launch version that were later fixed, so the Acornsoft SNG38 product contains at least two variants. Interestingly, most of the official Acornsoft releases contain version numbers buried in the code; for example the BBC Micro cassette version contains a zero-length file called "V1" at the end of the tape, while the BBC Micro disc version's $.ELITE loader program contains a REM statement referring to "BBC Version 1" (a REM that changes to "Version n" in the multi-version SNG47 release). However, this number seems to stay the same for all the different variants of a given version, so it isn't terribly useful when trying to talk about the different variants.

Note that "TBC" in the above means that I am still working to confirm whether the variant on this site matches an official release byte-for-byte. It turns out I'm not much of a software pirate, and extracting binaries from the copy-protected originals is proving to be tricky (which is the point, I guess!). I am also not sure whether Ian Bell's text sources variant of the BBC Micro cassette version was ever officially released; investigations are ongoing.