Friday, December 26, 2008

26DEC2008, Oolite/Elite...

Starfalcon's Log 2084031:05:31
1107.7 Cr
Legal Status: Clean
Rating: Mostly Harmless (13)

Just made it to “Mostly Harmless” Rating a few kills ago. Mostly just running food from Agricultural Worlds to Industrial Worlds and back with a load of computers... Once I could afford the ECM, Beam Laser and Energy Bomb I just prayed I'd not run into anyone. But now, I don't need to run anymore. In fact, its kinda fun collecting bounties on Pirate scum! Scanner Targeting Enhancement has helped me PID the bad guys before they start shooting! Excellent! Fuel Scoops make bounties even more profitable. Maybe someday I'll get Docking computers... NAH! Waste of money with my skills! Bigger guns! Thats what I need!

Star Falcon's Log 2084031:14:19
149.5 Cr
Legal Status: Clean
Rating: Poor (16)

3 more kills, now I'm in the “Poor” rating, moving up in the world. Made some good dough on the trade run and some Platinum an Asp Mk III left floating in space after I vaporized em'... Probably lifted it off a merchant! What goes around comes around Pirate Scum!

Fun huh? Well, I think the world of copyrighted pay for a copy soon to be obsolescent games have missed an incredible opportunity that the world of Freeware and Open Source has picked up on. What gamers really want! Well, at least gamers like my family.

My Dad, brothers and myself are PC gamers for good reason. Ever since my Dad purchased a Commodore 64 back about the time I was born he's been playing computer games off and on. That also means, that my brothers and I got privileges to play on my dads C64 once in a while once we go old enough. That means lots of homework and chores were completed with the extra motivation to get thirty minutes of time on the C64... That meant games like “Gunship”, “Jumpman” (which could be divided up between us by dying or missions...). “Elite” however stands out as one of the most addictive games during this formative childhood gaming time frame.

Elite required the egg timer to be in use. Mainly, there is no linear structure to it besides attaining the Elite Rating. We never played long enough to bust Average, or even Dangerous. That's probably a good thing, we got lots of playtime outside during the summers to as a result of that... Along with the fact that we were playing our C64 during the age of Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo, and the 386/486 processors with a smoking 25/33 MHz, in other words it was already obsolescent when we started. This is the primary reason we never surpassed Average Rating. We'd moved on in our teens to play Wing Commander: Privateer, X-Wing, and Tie Fighter! Excellent games each, especially Privateer... However, they just didn't have the same charm Elite had. It is wonderful what the creators of Vega Strike have done to revive Privateer, however that is another article in and of itself...
...This article is about the nostalgia of the first space trade fighter pilot game we remember, and quite possibly among the first ever made back in 1984. Just check out the Elite/Oolite Wiki for all the details of the history of this incredible ground breaking series!
What I've been playing right now is the Oolite version of the Elite Series, its the latest up to date game featuring some smashing Open GL graphics with the same style of play of the original game I remember on the C64! There are minor improvements that help incredibly, such as Navigation Buoys that greatly assist docking without computers!

While Wing Commander: Privateer, Freelancer, Vega Strike, and Vega Strike: Gemini Gold (the Privateer remake!) have served well for filling this critical gap in the space combat/trade flight simulator genre, Elite/Oolite will forever hold that special place in my heart for being the first. Companies that make state of the art games that cost money should take note in the revival of this style of space flight sim in the Opensource/Freeware world. Its addictive, its fun, and its not overly bound to a linear course... Lucas Arts, where you at with the single player smuggler game? What the hell! George Lucas invented the genre just about with Star Wars back in 1977 that more than like inspired the creation of Elite in first place! Yet they never left the track of the incredible X-Wing series beyond the linear X-Wing Alliance which had the potential to insert Lucas Arts into this realm as king! Instead, you have rely on MMORG and pay per month, the biggest rip off ever... I feel like they've squandered the opportunity! I hope the opensource/freeware world takes charge of the MMORG version of the space flight combat/trade simulation... After all, the big bad game companies sure as hell haven't done it, and they've dropped every version of that ever made...

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