Elite Systems

Elite Systems is a British video game developer and publisher established in 1984 as Richard Wilcox Software.[1] It is known for producing home computer conversions of popular arcade games.[2] Elite also published compilations of games on the Hit-Pak label and budget price re-releases on the Encore label.

Elite Systems
IndustryComputer software
Software publishing


Under the name Richard Wilcox Software, only one title was published: Blue Thunder for the ZX Spectrum, Atari 8-bit and Commodore 64. In August 1984, the group was relaunched under the name Elite Systems,[3] expanding the team to include graphic designers Rory Green and Jon Harrison; programmers Neil A. Bate, Chris Harvey, Andy Williams and Stephen Lockley; administrators Paul Smith and Pat Maisey; and Wilcox's brother Steve handled sales and marketing.[1] Its first release under the new Elite Systems label was Kokotoni Wilf,[1] which also carried the first of their anti-counterfeiting holograms on the cassette inlay card.[3]

By 1986, the team was hiring freelancers and developing many home computer licenses of arcade machines. Ghosts 'n Goblins, for example, was converted to the Spectrum by freelance programmer Nigel Alderton and graphics designer Karen Trueman, plus Elite's regular team. The Aldridge-based headquarters housed a row of arcade cabinets for games that were being converted. Their hardware had been hacked so the team could analyse the games to ensure an accurate, licensed conversion.[2]

At the 1986 Golden Joystick Awards, Elite was awarded "Software House of the Year" by Computer and Video Games magazine. In 1989 it got a "Game of the Year" award for Paperboy by the British software industry.[4] Converted by Neil Bate, Chris Harvey and Jon Harrison, with the BBC Micro and Atari ST versions produced by a second Andy Williams who joined the company in 1986.

Elite Systems began creating video games for the NES and Game Boy in the early 1990s through its associated development house MotiveTime.[5]

In 2005, the publication Retro Gamer credited the Elite team in Volume 2-Issue 1 as Richard Benton, Matthew Hyden and Steve Wilcox.

In 2010, the company began selling versions of classic ZX Spectrum games licensed from the original developers for iOS and Android systems. However, in 2014 numerous complaints were made by those developers that they had not received any royalties due to them by Elite Systems.[6] Steve Wilcox responded in a statement on their website[7] where he claimed he was "working towards" making all outstanding payments with 28 days and that the games were being withdrawn from sale in the meantime.

In April 2014, it was reported that Elite Systems had fully repaid the overdue royalties and cancelled the contracts it had with the unpaid developers.[8]

List of mobile gamesEdit

List of older gamesEdit


  1. ^ a b c "News Input - Elite Under Way". CRASH (9): 43. October 1984.
  2. ^ a b Smith, Rachael (May 1986). "Your Sinclair" (5): 56–57. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. ^ a b "Frontlines – Holo Victory?". Your Spectrum (9): 3. October 1984.
  4. ^ Retro Gamer magazine, issue 65. Pages 53, 54
  5. ^ "The British Invasion". Nintendo Power. Vol. 23. Nintendo of America. April 1991. p. 47.
  6. ^ F, Casey (2014-02-03). "Elite Systems Blaster". Leviathyn.com. Retrieved 14 May 2016.
  7. ^ Wilcox, Steve. "Temporary Withdrawal From App Stores". Elite Systems. Elite Systems. Archived from the original on March 6, 2014. Retrieved 14 May 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  8. ^ Corriea, Alexa Ray (2014-04-30). "ZX Spectrum keyboad maker pays overdue royalties". Polygon.com. Vox Media. Retrieved 14 May 2016.

External linksEdit