The top 10 Amiga games of all time

Stuart Sumner
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In the final part of our rundown of the best titles ever to appear on the feted Commodore Amiga, we reach the top ten. But which paragon of software entertainment got the top slot?

2. Frontier: Elite 2

 

frontier-elite-2

The sequel to the brilliant Elite, Fronter: Elite II is a space trading and combat game from David Braben. Released in 1993, it landed nine years after the original, with its switch to 16-bit computers bringing vastly improved graphics (no more wireframes!) and sound.

It was ground-breaking in many ways. It was the first game to feature procedurally generated star systems, putting all the recent fuss about No Man's Sky into some sort of context. Intriguingly, the game generated these systems by aggregating the total mass of material within an early star system into planets and moons, all allegedly in accordance with the laws of physics. A random element of material distribution was added in order to stop each system looking identical.

The flying model is also strictly physics-based, in this case Newtonian. So if you're flying at several thousand kilometres per second in one direction, turning the ship to point in a different direction will have no effect on your trajectory, since the ship's momentum will keep it travelling on the original course. However, there is an autopilot that takes care of most of the flying, with combat usually being the point that most players assume control themselves.

Also in keeping with reality, space is pretty big (distances and planets are all represented on a 1:1 scale). Whilst any ship worth its salt will have a hyper drive enabling quickish jumps to other systems, actually traversing a system from the point where you jump in to the planet or station you're interested in can take many hours real-time even for a fast ship.

Obviously that's not a great in-game experience, so there's a handy feature to accelerate time so that even a long trek across a huge binary star system can be dispensed with in minutes. Provided you don't run out of fuel.

Much as in Elite, in Frontier the player is left to make their own way in a vast and uncaring universe. Want to be a pirate, a trader, a mission runner, a courier, pilot a passenger ship or join the military? Or how about some blend of some or all of these? Frontier places no restrictions besides simply being able to afford to purchase, outfit and crew a ship capable of fulfilling the player's fantasies.

Braben programmed the game in 68000 assembly language. It allegedly features around 250,000 lines of code.

It had mostly favourable reviews, and went on to sell over 500,000 copies. The latest iteration, Elite: Dangerous, is still being expanded and improved by Braben's latest outfit, Frontier Developments.

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