BBC computer: Software packages and related materials

Click on the thumbnails for full size pictures which are mostly 1600x1200 pixels / ca. 350 KB.

Elite badges

Here is the Elite badge that Acornsoft sent to people who sent in their 'order of the Elite' postcard with the code they got at Elite level (even outside the UK, despite the card saying the offer was only valid in the UK, at least to the Netherlands, which I found out in the early 2000s, as someone here in NL who showed me his badge (he also was then offered the opportunity to buy a Elite t-shirt, I think I have a picture of it somewhere, will check).
So I should just have sent in my registration card!


I've seen this badge just 4 times (webimages/real) in the last 4 years...
Update 2009: I saw this offered about 4 times on ebay in 2009, so I've seen it about 8 times in total on the web or in real life.
Update 2017: I saw a few more on the Elite:Dangerous forum a few years ago.

Then there is another Elite badge, also apparently from Acornsoft. This is the only one of this kind I've ever seen (Update: I saw another on ebay in 2009, in the same presentation case...). I'm not sure which of these two came first, but I'm pretty sure that this one is a later one, from end of 1985 (the original owner was a bit hazy on details but it is for/of the Acornsoft Elite verion and date about end of 1985; Well, my guess is that after the enamel/chrome badges ran out a new bunch was made that was easier/cheaper to make). Addition 2017: However a few of the black enamel + chrome badges did turn up several years ago, some were sold, and there were others were as given away part of a package deal for a documentary on computer gaming so this is odd if they ran out of badges and made a new batch of different design (I will enquire about the source of those badges that were found).


This seems to be a 2nd Acornsoft badge, likely from end of 1985. It was until 2009 the only one I had seen, then in 2009 I saw the same one in the same presentation case offered. I didn't check ebay for many years so it could be others were offered. I anyone has further information on the origins of these badges, send me an email please!

They're both pretty cool!

Finally a third pin (which looks to be gold plated). Although first advertised as a badge for/from the Acornsoft/Superior version of Elite by the seller, I don't think this is the case. I bought this from someone who worked as a PR consultant for Firebird, and he now thinks he got it from them. This sounds plausible as the Elite figure is gold (yellow) on the Elite boxes of games produced by Firebird, as I've seen on a number of pictures of such boxes, e.g. for the ZX spectrum and PC.

Dave Moore found the following web page which confirms this: http://www.birdsanctuary.co.uk/sanct/s_mem.php which says: "The Elite badge was a very exclusive badge only given to people who reached Elite status, and a few others who worked or did work for Firebird. It has to be said that the Firebird produced badge is not as detailed as the badge originally created by Acorn, but it's still a very nice badge!". I disagree with the "not as detailed" bit, as you can see for yourself above, it's just as good (some parts are a bit less detailed, others a bit more; overall it looks a bit more refined than the Acornsoft badges to me).

I've seen this badge twice: on the above page and the one I have... (addition 2017: And a few years ago I saw a few on the Elite:Dangerous forum which I visited after an enquiry about these badges)

Here are all three of them in natural light:

2017-7-27: Some more stuff related to these badges, such as paperwork, can be found in this thread: https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php/3113-Elite-Badge/. Note that on page 7 (https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php/3113-Elite-Badge/page7 is mentioned about me: "has confirmed he took the photo and still has the badges having earned them on various versions of Elite." This is not quite correct in that I did reach Elite status but I didn't send in my order of the Elite card as I mentioned above as the card says that the offer is valid in the UK only. I wrote in my reply about a query about these badges the following:

I made the photo and I have all 3 badges shown there.

I reached Elite on the cassette version of Elite for the BBC micro. Then ca. 1995, I redid it on the disc version when I bought a second hand BBC micro with disc drive (unaffordable for me in the 1980s). The disc version is better with missions but it's still a boring process to reach Elite after getting enough money and equipment, so the challenge was the early stages, not the later stages of the game...

I also bought the other badges as was clear from each description of the badges such as mentioning original owners.

Note: See also my Elite page on some persistant claims about numbers sold vs. numbers of BBC micro's.


3deep space, with the 3d glasses (which are usually missing, one of those things that tend to get lost...):


I found it very hard to see the 3D effect btw. I kept seeing either the red or the blue image. Maybe it's because of the Eizo monitor I use with my BBC micro? Perhaps I should have tried longer than a few minutes but I had no problems for example seeing the 3D effects in a recent episode of a TV series that had 3D sections, without having to try hard.


Illegal copies of software

The tape on the left from ECD (in delft), on the right from unknown supplier:

The right one cost fl. 55,- for 2 games that would cost ca. fl. 80,- for originals.

See also scans of photocopies that were distributed by ECD, with the prices of those copied cassettes and disks. I.e. fl. 18,- per cassette, and fl.14,- for each additional cassette in case you had bought a BBC computer from them. Otherwise: double the price!

ECD made commercial software for the Atom (AXR 1 and AXR 2 toolboxes, possibly more) and for the BBC computer (Beebtel). I wonder what they thought of others pirating their software...


Programming languages

Interface: Ruston Basic compiler

The Basic compiler is rather restricted (16 bit unsigned integers only for example), and although simple programs worked fine, a bigger less trivial program gave a compile time error which did not make clear what the real problem was, so I gave up on it.

Level: 9 RQ FORTH:


Altra ROMs

Hard to find, so here are a few images to show what their packages look like:

Altra Probe 2:

Altra Basic editor, tube version:

Altra Editor, tube version:


Acornsoft development software

Acornsoft 6502 development package: a macro assembler, disassembler, editor etc. to develop assembler software using the 6502 2nd processor. Already shown in the autumn 1983 catalogue, this package was finally released at the end of 1985:

Acornsoft BCPL, BCPL calculations package, BCPL standalone generator:


Bitstik 2 upgrade kit

The real difference between a bitstik and a a bitstik2 is the software (in particular the plotter software is now included). This box upgrades a standard Acorn bitstik to the later version.

[ All images from subdirs, unsorted. ]


Acornsoft disc types

Acornsoft discs were produced in 40 track format and later in 40/80 dual format. Many different labels were used, 4 types for the 40 track format. If you're a collector, this is bad news! :->

To email me, go to this page