"Elite is a seminal space trading computer game, originally published by Acornsoft in 1984 for the BBC Micro and Acorn Electron computers. The game's title derives from one of the player's goals of raising their combat rating to the exalted heights of "Elite." It was written and developed by David Braben and Ian Bell, who had met while they were both undergraduates at Jesus College, Cambridge. Non-Acorn versions of the game were published by Firebird, Imagineer and Hybrid Technology.
Elite was one of the first home computer games to use wireframe 3D graphics with hidden line removal. Another novelty was the inclusion of The Dark Wheel, a novella by Robert Holdstock which influenced new players with insight into the moral and legal codes to which they might aspire.
Elite's open-ended game model, advanced game engine and revolutionary 3D graphics ensured that it was ported to virtually every contemporary home computer system, and earned it a place as a classic and a genre maker in gaming history. Elite was a hugely influential game, serving as a model for more recent games such as Eve Online, Freelancer, Jumpgate, Infinity: The Quest for Earth, Wing Commander: Privateer, the Escape Velocity series and the X series of space trading games."
Source: Wikipedia, "Elite_(video_game)," available under the CC-BY-SA License.
From the back of the box (BBC edition):
Elite is the first in a new generation of 3-D space games featuring interstellar travel in a distant cluster of galaxies in the outer universe.
Command your Cobra space ship in a fantastic voyage of discovery and adventure, a supreme test of your combat, navigational and entrepreneurial skills. Trade between countless planets, using the proceeds to equip your ship with heat-seeking missiles, beam lasers and other weapons - corporate states can be approached without risk, but unruly anarchies may be swimming with space pirates. Black market trading can be lucrative but could result in skirmishes with the local police and a price on your head!
However you make your money, by fair means or foul, you must blast onwards through space annihilating pirate ships and hostile aliens as you strive to earn your reputation as one of the Elite!
Developed by Ian Bell and David Braben