Xeer

Many moons ago I wrote about where my handle xeer came from. A planet in the classic 8-bit game Elite was called Xeer. Unknown to me, Xeer is also the polycentric legal system of Somalia!

Back in 2003 someone asked to use my hotmail account of the same name but I declined and found out it was something to do with the constitution of Somalia. That Wikipedia page dates from 2009 so at least I can read up on the part of Somali heritage now!

Who or what is Xeer?

I used to go by the handle, “Xeer”. It’s under that name that I coded Commodore 64 demos many years ago. There’s even an entry for me on the C64 Scene Database! Exciting times then, but I’ve often been asked where the name Xeer came from. Now I can reveal it’s very obscure origins.

You may have heard of a space trading game called Elite that was released in 1985. If you haven’t, then don’t worry. You’re a youngster aren’t you? It made serious waves in the games scene for many years and even spawned an awful sequel on the PC a couple of years ago.
Anyway, I came across the game a few years after, probably in 1988 or ’89 and was hooked! I have to be honest, I preferred the shoot-em-up parts to the dry and boring trading bits. Games never lasted very long but it made a lasting impression on me.

One thing led to another, and I became interested in the C64 demo scene, but I needed a handle. Luckily I came across a few cheats for Elite that gave me infinite fuel or some such other nonsense and went looking around the galaxy. Here’s what the galaxy looked like back in the late 80’s.

Elite Galactic Chart

While exploring, I came across the little planet under the cursor above. Can you guess what it’s called? Yup, Xeer. Here’s the info sheet on it.

The planet Xeer

I haven’t seen any large yellow bug-eyed frogs about anywhere but I expect they’ll show up sooner or later.

More Xeer trivia: The traditional Somali Constitution is called Xeer, although the linked page on combackalive.com makes little sense to me. Anyone from that region know more?
For the Elite fans: The Zzap64! review.