Tag Archives: ian bell

Late to Space Games Part 3: Frontier Elite II

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Part 1
Part 2

Frontier: Elite II is one of the most mind-blowing games I’ve ever played, purely on a technical scale. Unlike the first Elite, I’m not just impressed with Frontier just became it came out 21 years ago. It really might be the most technically incredible open-world I’ve ever seen in a video game. It’s also further improved my perspective on what people hope No Man’s Sky will be.

Like the original, Frontier is a free download these days so I really suggest you at least take a look at it. There’s even a high-resolution widescreen version at that link. All that said, I can definitely understand why basically nobody else repeated the absolutely insane scale of Frontier. Its main identifying design decisions really set it up as more of a speculative simulation of space travel than a fun game. Continue reading

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Late to Space Games Part 1: Elite (1984)

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One game genre that’s mystified me over the years has been space flight simulators. The buzz surrounding No Man’s Sky convinced me to finally plan to investigate them this year. Part of the reason people are so mystified with the game is because it’s part of a genre that almost doesn’t exist on consoles. So, for a while you might see a lot of posts on this blog about space games. I decided to start off with one of the first and probably the most influential — the original 1984 Elite, well, a version of it at least.

On one hand I was always intimidated by how complex the flying mechanics of Wing Commander or X-Wing look. On the other hand I wondered how games about trading goods like Freelancer could ever be fun, even if it is in space. Even the title “Freelancer” sounds like some kind of economics job description that’s anti-fun. It’s one more area that makes PC gaming look much more intimidating than it actually is. I think I made the right decision in starting my trek through this genre basically from the beginning. Continue reading

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