Elite was a ground-breaking Role Playing Game for the BBC Microcomputer (later released for other platforms). Released in 1984, Elite was one of the first 'open world' games, offering a huge universe for the player to explore as they wished. The game incorporated multiple game elements, including trading and space-combat, and used 3D wireframe graphics to great effect.
Elite was written by David Braben and Ian Bell who met at university in Cambridge.
The player is placed in the role of a newly qualified privateer pilot of a spacecraft, currently docked at a space station in orbit of the planet Lave (one of hundreds in the galaxy). They are given a small amount of money and are free to then make their own way in the universe. Money can be earned by buying and selling a range of goods (flying to other planets where those goods can be sold for profit).
Earnings can be used to purchase upgrades for the players ship, including fuel and weapons, or capability improvements such as stronger shields or more cargo capacity. With enough money, you can purchase better ships.
Travel around the galaxy leads to encounters with other ships. Some are neutral, while others may attack in an attempt to destroy you for your cargo. On rare occasions, you may also encounter the alien 'Thargoids' in their distinctive octagonal ships.
As a new player, you are assigned a ranking of 'Harmless'. As you progress through the game, you can improve your ranking with the ultimate goal of reaching the rank of 'Elite'.
Navigating around the galaxy involves a mix of normal flight, high speed 'jumps' within a solar system, and Hyperspace (for travel to other systems).