Elite Systems

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Elite Systems Limited
Elite Systems - 1.jpg
Founded Late 1983
Headquarters Walsall, West Midlands, England
Website elite-systems.co.uk
Other Names Richard Wilcox Software
Hit Pak

Elite Systems Ltd. (also known as Elite) is an English game development company founded by Brian Wilcox and his sons Steve and Richard. They were known for their Commodore 64 games such as Airwolf, Commando, and Ghosts 'n Goblins.

Elite used the following names:

  • Richard Wilcox Software was the initial company name. On 1984-09-27, Crash magazine reported the rename to Elite Systems Ltd.
  • Hit Pak (late 1986–1988) was a publication label for compilations of new and mostly old games.
  • Encore (1988–1990) was announced as a company founded to re-release Elite's best games for £1.99.
  • Motivetime (late 1989–c. 1999) was a subsidiary originally intended for console games. Most of Elite's developers would move over to Motivetime who would pay their employees bonuses based on the company's profits, but over time, the profits eventually reduced to virtually nothing. One of the developers guesses that Motivetime kept their profits deliberately low so as not to pay out big bonuses, for example by leasing computer equipment and office space off Elite at inflated prices and using some of the remaining Elite staff as "consultants".

In 1986 or 1987, Elite temporarily changed some employees to freelancers. Some people founded competitors Future Concepts, Arc Developments, NMS Software. Many ex-employees hired Mark Cooksey, mostly freelance, and often uncredited (particularly when Cooksey was employed elsewhere). Some Elite games (especially on the NES) do not have credits either, but it is unknown why.


Music Development

Around 1988, Elite got Mark Cooksey an Akai S950 sampler, a Korg M1, and Notator for the Atari ST.

Commodore 64

On games, according to HVSC, the first two soundtracks and driver are by Neil Bate. In February 1985, Mark Cooksey joined and was given Bate's driver for his first games. Apart from that, everyone used their own drivers. Programmers often asked Cooksey to arrange their favorite songs, believing computer music to be a gray area in copyright.

On loaders, Elite initially used Novaload's example song, and from September 1985 to April 1986, Living on Video, again arranged by Cooksey upon an unnamed programmer's request.


All of Elite's NES games were composed by Mark Cooksey. He wrote the music in Notator on an Atari ST, and would use a utility to convert his music to his sound driver. Mark would use the same sound driver for his work with Spidersoft on their game Cliffhanger (NES) and NMS Software for a couple games.

Audio Personnel

Picture Gallery