Before he became a millionaire at the age of 27, before his company SpaceX transformed space exploration and before Tesla became one of the world’s most valuable car companies, its founder Elon Musk worked in video games. In the early Nineties, Elon Musk was working at a video game company in California’s Palo Alto, writing a multitasker that could read video from a CD while running a game at the same time. “Ancient times,” – he called it in a tweet today, responding to a throwback picture shared by a Twitter user.
“In the early 90s, @elonmusk worked at a videogame company in Palo Alto, where he wrote a multitasker for PC in C++ which could basically read video from a CD while running a game at the same time,” the Twitter user wrote, sharing a throwback picture which shows a young Elon Musk smiling for the camera.
The name of the company, interestingly enough, was Rocket Science. “Fate loves irony,” Mr Musk has joked in the past while talking about his brief stint in the gaming industry.
The entrepreneur co-founded web software company Zip2 in 1995, which would go on to make him a millionaire. He also founded X.com in 1999, which later became PayPal.
In the early 90s, @elonmusk worked at a videogame company in Palo Alto, where he wrote a multitasker for PC in C++ which could basically read video from a CD while running a game at the same time. The name of that videogame company was Rocket Science. Fate loves irony. pic.twitter.com/qAtmgow8MS— Pranay Pathole (@PPathole) April 14, 2021
Elon Musk responded to the tweet to reveal that his work at Rocket Science Games was just his night job. During the day, he worked at Pinnacle Research.
True. Ancient times … Had to flip CPU registers explicitly, as computer was so slow.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 14, 2021
“We brought him in to write some very menial low-level code,” said Rocket Science Games co-founder Peter Barrett, according to video game website Kotaku. “He was completely unflappable. After a short while, I don’t think anyone was giving him any direction, and he ended up making what he wanted to make.”
What Elon Musk made was the aforementioned multitasker. He spoke about his experience in a Twitter thread in 2018.
“In early 90s, I wrote a multitasker for PCs that spoofed the CPU and CD-ROM to act in parallel, so could read video continuously while player sprite moved smoothly,” Mr Musk revealed, adding that it required C++ programming, assembly and direct flipping of CPU registers.
In early 90s, I wrote a multitasker for PCs that spoofed the CPU & CD-ROM to act in parallel, so could read video continuously while player sprite moved smoothly. Required C++, assembly & direct flipping of CPU registers. That company’s name was Rocket Science. Fate loves irony.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 10, 2018
While he may no longer work in the video game industry, Mr Musk is a gamer still. He is known to be a cyberpunk genre enthusiast. Cyberpunk 2077, in fact, is a video game that can be played on the gaming computer inside Tesla Model S.