Sunday, February 5

Elon Musk and his little-known career in the world of video games


When we hear about Elon Musk Today and the first thing that comes to mind are his Tesla cars, his SpaceX rockets and satellites and even his crazy things in the form of flamethrowers, tunnels to avoid traffic (more or less) or buy 10% of Twitter. Musk is currently 50 years old and during his youth he did not seem to think about electric cars or space rockets, since much of the time was dedicated to video games.

The billionaire CEO of some of the most innovative companies in the world was very different from when he was 12 years old, come on, almost like any other person. Elon Musk wanted to be a video game programmer and in 1984 he had the opportunity to publish his first game: ‘Blastar’.

Elon Musk: that inexhaustible source of ideas and projects that range from a robot for the home to a colony on Mars

Restlessness and creativity

Be careful not to confuse Musk’s ‘Blastar’ with the 1983 arcade ‘Blastar’ or the 1993 Amiga ‘Blastar’. No, this game is older and was programmed by a young Elon in 1983. The game was published in 1984 when Elon was 12 years old thanks to the fact that he sold it to the South African magazine ‘PC and Office Technology’ for 500 dollars. Money he used to buy another computer, comics and an edition of ‘Dungeons and Dragons’.

Elon Musk Video Games

‘Blastar’ appeared on page 69 and was signed by “ER Musk”, which would be his stage name as a video game programmer. Musk sold the video game under the following description: “In this game you must destroy an alien space freighter, which carries lethal hydrogen bombs and ‘status beams'”. Broadly speaking, ‘Blastar’ was a simplified version of ‘Alien Invaders’ where the objective was to shoot down enemies before they killed us.

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30 years after being published, ‘Blastar’ came to light again thanks to Musk’s mother, Maye Musk, and Ashlee Vance, who published it in the biography of the now CEO of Tesla. Tomas Lloret, a reader and fan of Elon, decided to adapt it to HTML5 and put it online for free so that everyone would know about the beginnings of Elon Musk.

blast

And Rocket Science Games arrived

Already in 1994 and 23 years old, Elon Musk was another recent graduate and arrived in Silicon Valley looking for any job that seemed interesting. This is how he came to Rocket Science Games, a small studio that created video games for the Sega CDat that time where most stories were supported by live-action scenes.

As Scott Manley points out, Musk appeared in the credits for games like ‘Loadstar: The Legend of Tully Bodine,’ ‘Cadillacs and Dinosaurs: The Second Cataclysm,’ and ‘Rocket Jockey.’ Within this studio, Elon was in charge of writing first level basic code, in addition to writing and programming drivers that would allow you to control the games from various controllers.

Peter Barrett, co-founder of Rocket Science Games, mentioned in Musk’s biography that his attitude was completely erratic, since it was difficult to give him instructions because in the end he always ended up doing what he wanted. For example, a button: after becoming the largest shareholder of Twitter, the first thing he has done has been to push the “Edit” button.

At the end of 1995, Musk decided to leave the world of video games to focus on the Internet, renewable energy and space projects. And from here, the rest is history. The one who began developing a version of ‘Space Invaders’ has become the richest person in the world with a estate of 219,000 million dollars.

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