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Elon Musk Made This Video Game When He Was 12 Years Old. Here's How You Can Play It

SlashGear 11/27/2022 Eli Shayotovich
Elon Musk posing in Halloween costume © Taylor Hill/Getty Images Elon Musk posing in Halloween costume

Elon Musk is in the news a lot, especially over these last few weeks. He is involved in so many ventures it's hard to keep track: From Tesla (which he didn't actually create) and SpaceX, to Neuralink (implanting computer chips into the brain) and the (not) flamethrower-making Boring Company. His most recent acquisition of the social media giant Twitter certainly hasn't quelled the controversy and chaos that follows the man around like the dust cloud over Pigpen.

You may disagree with his tactics, but it's impossible to assault his business acumen. SpaceX sits behind only TikTok on the list of most valuable private companies. At the same time, Tesla was the second-fastest company — and only one of six in the United States — to hit the vaunted $1 trillion market cap threshold.

Bottom line: One simply does not become the world's richest man (with a net worth of $182.1 billion) without knowing a thing or two about business. It should surprise no one that he was also the inspiration for Robert Downey Jr.'s portrayal of playboy billionaire Tony Stark (via Finance Buzz), the man in the Iron Man suit.

Musk's path to business dominance began at an early age. While attending the University of Pennsylvania, he and a buddy opened a successful nightclub in their rented house. Musk later graduated from Penn with degrees in physics and economics (via Business Insider).

Flipping Businesses Like A Good Entrepreneur

Peter Thiel and Elon Musk at PayPal © Paul Sakuma/AP Peter Thiel and Elon Musk at PayPal

In 1995, Musk was on his second day at Stanford University when he and his brother abruptly dropped out, dove into Silicon Valley's emerging Internet boom, and started Zip2. This company provided city travel guide information to prominent online newspapers. Four years later, Compaq Computer Corporation bought that company for $307 million in cold hard cash and another $34 million worth of stock options (via Biography).

He immediately took that money and co-founded the online bank X.com, which later consolidated with Confinity to become PayPal (via Business Insider). In 2002, eBay bought PayPal for $1.5 billion. Musk pocketed around $175 million from that venture, turned around, and created SpaceX. See the pattern?

Musk was born in Pretoria, South Africa, in 1971. When he was young, his parents feared that he had a hearing problem (via Biography), but it wasn't that he was intentionally ignoring them. Instead, he was getting so utterly wrapped up and focused on his own thoughts that he wasn't aware they were calling out to him. He was later diagnosed with the autism spectrum disorder known as Asperger's syndrome. Symptoms include not responding to their name and obsessive interest in certain subjects, both of which were present in Musk.

In 1979, when Elon was around eight years old, his parents divorced. He and his siblings went to live with his mother because, according to Musk, his father was a "terrible human being." However, he also calls his dad a "brilliant engineer," and believes he got his computer and engineering skills from him.

Blasting Off Into Space And Beyond

At nine, Musk got his first computer, a Commodore VIC-20. Included was a manual that taught the computer language BASIC. Musk learned it in three days and was soon banging out programs. When Musk was 12 years old (in 1983), he came up with the source code for a video game called "Blastar." The goal was to blow up as many alien freighters as you could with your five available ships (lives). The player had to dodge "deadly hydrogen bombs" and "status beam machines." It was a simplistic game reminiscent of "Space Invaders," which came out in 1978.

The code was published in an industry trade magazine called PC and Office Technology in 1984, and Musk was paid $500 for his efforts (via Business Insider and Tech Times). It was never actually made into a game until 2015. Ashlee Vance, a technology reporter for Bloomberg, published a book about Musk that included a photo of his code from that magazine. Tomas Lloret, a software engineer at Google, saw it and turned it into a playable game that anyone with an internet connection can play.

Ironically, during his first venture with the college nightclub, his partner Adeo Ressi recalled the house would be packed with paying customers, and he couldn't locate Musk. He would go upstairs to find him playing video games by himself. At times, Ressi said he didn't think Musk even knew parties were happening downstairs.

Like many of us, Musk is just a nerd (one of his sons is named after comic book character Professor Xavier from Marvel's "X-Men") and an avid gamer as well.

Read this next: Everything We Know About Elon Musk's Hyperloop Concept

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