Today, you probably know Elon Musk as the man behind tech companies like SpaceX and Tesla, putting massive investments in new technologies with big implications for the future. No less significant or world-altering, Musk used to work in videogames. Musk’s game credits have never been a secret, but they’ve come back to prominence thanks to YouTuber Scott Manley (the guy who does all those Kerbal Space Program videos), who broke down Musk’s contributions to the world of games over the years.
These are the best space games on PC.
Those gaming credits mostly come from Rocket Science Games, one of many studios in the mid-90s formed to produce FMV games for blossoming CD technology across PC and Sega CD. Among those titles is Loadstar: The Legend of Tully Bodine, a game thematically appropriate to Musk’s later fame where you defend a space train over massive monorail network on the moon. It’s pretty much Sewer Shark, and it’s aged about as well as you would expect.
Musk’s work at Rocket Science was pretty much all low-level code, and this was just a night job - by day, he was working at the Pinnacle Research Institute on ultracapacitors. Musk also worked on the animated shooter adaptation of Cadillacs and Dinosaurs, but his game work doesn’t extend much beyond those titles in the 90s. Though if you look up his name in a game credits database, you’ll find it in the “special thanks” segment of sci-fi titles like Mass Effect: Andromeda.
Back even further, though, Musk wrote a tiny shooting game for mid-80s computers called Blastar, with the source code getting published in South African tech magazine. It’s now playable in a browser, but fair warning: it’s likely the worst Space Invaders knock-off you’ll ever see. Musk more recently called it “a trivial game… but better than Flappy Bird,” and even that might be overselling it. Still, he was paid $500 for its publication before moving on to bigger things.
We may also soon see another Musk credit in Borderlands 3, if things pan out.