What is Frontier: Elite 2?
Frontier: Elite 2 is the first sequel to the classic game of the 1980s, Elite. It was written in five and a half years by David Braben, and published by Konami Inc. and Gametek. The game was released in October, 1993 and was top of the charts in the UK for the best part of 1994. It was the best selling game in Europe in 1993 according to Gallup, and won the Live & Kicking Game Award the same year.
The game is highly complex, yet very simple and therefore can appeal to many different age groups and gaming tastes. Frontier is basically a space trading game, offering combat and adventure role-playing scenarios. In it, you start as a pilot in a mediocre ship on a mediocre planet in a system known as Ross 154, near our own Sol(ar) system. There is no set path to the game - you can do literally what you want to do. If you want to make money, you can trade goods. If you want to kill people, you can become a bounty hunter. If you want to fight, you can join the Navy. The game is entirely open and only ends when you want it to. You can fly anywhere in the entire Milky Way Galaxy, buy new ships, meet people, explore unknown systems and planets, run from the police... you get the idea.
Frontier (FE2) was the long-awaited sequel to Elite, a game which you have probably heard of. Elite was released initially in 1984 on the BBC Micro, and then versions were produced for every major format at the time. Elite was the number one game of the 1980s and the game that defined a whole new genre. It was highly original and critically acclaimed, and in 2000 was voted the best game of all time in a poll by the Bits Team at Channel 4 Television (UK). Frontier itself spawned a sequel, called Frontier: First Encounters, sometimes also known as Frontier 2 or Elite 3. 'FFE' is a whole different game to FE2, though on the surface it appears to be very similar, with slightly enhanced graphics and a few extra gameplay additions. In truth, it is in many ways the superior of FE2, despite being horrendously bugged on release. Many people, including myself, prefer the simplicity of the earlier game. A fourth sequel in the series, the already infamous Elite 4, has apparently been in development on and off since 1999. If it ever does appear, it probably won't be called Elite 4.
Frontier was written by British programmer David Braben (who also wrote the excellent Zarch for the Acorn Archimedes) in the early 1990s and is estimated to have sold 500,000 copies and probably thousands have been pirated. It is no longer available to buy in the shops but is available as shareware from the Elite Club. David Braben is the head of his own very successful games company Frontier Developments and their web site can be visited at www.frontier.co.uk.
What is the EBBS?
It's the 'Elite Bulletin Board System', a web forum created and launched in June 2000, by Dylan Smith. In its heyday of 2000-2001 it was extremely active, but interest has slowly waned ever since. Up until 2008 there was a web version, and most credible Frontier Elite Universe (FEU) web sites had their own customised link to the EBBS. The web link was closed to posting due to lack of demand and an increase in spam. However, the NNTP uplink remains.
To access the EBBS via NNTP, just point your news reading software at nntp.alioth.net, and add group "alioth.ebbs".