Before Tesla And SpaceX, Elon Musk Worked In Video Games

Photo: Getty
Photo: Getty

Before Elon Musk was shooting his own Tesla roadster into space, he was doing other cool stuff. Like? Making video games, that’s what.

As YouTuber Scott Manley points out (via NeoGAF), Musk has a “forgotten” career in video games. During the 1990s, he worked at Rocket Science Games, and his name appeared in the credits for Loadstar: The Legend of Tully Bodine and Cadillacs and Dinosaurs: The Second Cataclysm. Besides those games, Musk also worked on Rocket Jockey.

“We brought him in to write some very menial low-level code,” said Rocket Science Games co-founder Peter Barrett in the best-selling bio Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future. “He was completely unflappable,” Barrett continued. “After a short while, I don’t think anyone was giving him any direction, and he ended up making what he wanted to make.”


While at Rocket Science, Musk was tasked with writing drivers to allow input devices to communicate with games and hardware. “I was basically trying to figure out how you could multitask stuff, so you could read video from a CD, while running a game at the same time,” said Musk in the bio.

This wasn’t the first time Musk got paid for his game work. Below is Blastar, a title he programmed in 1984. The game was published in South African tech mag PC and Office Technology, netting a then 12-year-old Musk a cool $500.

“In this game you have to destroy an alien space freighter, which is carrying deadly Hydrogen Bombs and Status Beam Machines,” wrote Musk at that time (via Motherboard). “This game makes good use of sprites and animation, and in this sense makes the listing worth reading.”

Originally from Texas, Ashcraft has called Osaka home since 2001. He has authored six books, including most recently, The Japanese Sake Bible.

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I freakin’ LOVED Rocket Jockey. If ever a game needed a reboot, that’s the one. The modern multiplayer/streaming landscape is perfectly suited to the game; It’s entertaining as hell to watch. It’s a skill game balanced by “lol, rekt!” sheer chance/luck moments that can act as an equalizer. And it’s the kind of game that you can pick up fairly quickly, while still being full nuance and techniques to learn... “Easy to learn, difficult to master.”

And, I mean... Now we have real ragdoll physics, for shit’s sake...IT NEEDS TO HAPPEN!!!