Elon Musk is a charming, ridiculously smart, incredibly successful businessman.
- REUTERS/Danny Moloshok
He’s spent his career bucking the status quo, and he seemingly has too many jobs.
He’s the CEO of Tesla Motors, the incredibly successful company behind the rebirth of all-electric vehicles. He’s also the CEO of SpaceX, a company that exists to “revolutionize space technology, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets.” He also serves as the chairman of SolarCity – a company focused on making solar energy commonplace.
When he’s not busy transforming transportation, space travel, and energy use, Musk plays video games. Well, he does lots of other things, but video games are one of those things. And it turns out that Musk has excellent taste in games. Here are some of his favorites that we gathered from a Reddit AMA and his Twitter account:
“Overwatch” isn’t just a good game – it’s the best game that came out in 2016, folks. And Musk has been playing it because he has fantastic taste in games. He was quick to get hip – his first tweet about the game was in June, soon after the game launched in May.
And, because Elon Musk is Elon Musk, he’s playing the game on PC. Not only is the game prettiest there, but it’s the platform on which he has the most control over performance. And if we know anything about Musk, it’s that he has a thing for being in control. The guy is the CEO of two major companies, at once!
BONUS: His main is Soldier 76, which I’d personally call a bit on the boring side. He’s a good character, no doubt, but as a main? Come on, Elon. You’re more sophisticated than that.
On paper, “BioShock” isn’t anything special: a first-person shooter set in an underwater city that has fallen into disrepair.
In reality, “BioShock” is a genre-pushing, narrative-driven shooter that questions the base-level concepts of how video games work. If I said any more, I’d ruin the game.
That said, it’s not a huge surprise that Musk is a fan: The game is an Ayn Rand-inspired exploration of objectivism, capitalism, and power. It’s also a tremendously stylish, innovative game.
The “Mass Effect” series
- BioWare / EA
Moving to a subject that’s near and dear to Musk’s heart, the “Mass Effect” series focuses on space travel, interstellar diplomacy, and the future of the human race. He’s called the second game in the series “one of the best games ever.”
And he’s right: “Mass Effect 2” is seen by many as one of the best games ever made. Presumably he’s getting pumped for the launch of “Mass Effect Andromeda” this coming March!
The “Fallout” series
- Bethesda Game Studios
The “Fallout” games are notorious for being kind of a mess. They’re glitchy and they’re buggy, but that’s part of the charm. The gimmick for the “Fallout” franchise is infinite choice. You want to kill that major character? Go right ahead – but don’t expect the game to hold your hand after that.
The latest entry in the series, “Fallout 4,” takes place in postapocalyptic Boston. It offers the same level of player choice that previous games did, and it rounds it out with fantastic storytelling. The game’s main plot may not be too endearing – another staple of the franchise, for better or worse – but the dialog between characters and the side-mission stories are some of the best storytelling in video games.
The “Civilization” series (of course)
- Firaxis/2K Games/Take-Two Interactive
It should come as no surprise that Musk is a fan of the “Civilization” series. As the name insinuates, it’s a game all about building and maintaining a civilization, from nomadic wanderers to space-faring pioneers.
Considering that’s how Musk sees the entirety of actual human civilization, we’re less than shocked to find out he’s playing out potential outcomes in a video game.
Unlike several games on this list, the “Civilization” franchise has existed for decades. At this point, the series is a classic – each new entry becomes a sales monster with tremendously long legs. Simply put, “Civilization” fans tend to be loyal, smart, and dedicated.
“Saint’s Row IV”
- Deep Silver
The “Saint’s Row” series is aggressively silly. It’s vulgar and stupid, and it takes those things very seriously – but in a good way. In “Saint’s Row 3,” the very first mission has the player parachuting into a penthouse party, machine gun in hand, while Kanye West’s “Power” blasts in the background.
“Saint’s Row IV” continues this tradition: The game’s main character has ascended from street-gang leader to US president (imagine that!). As such, the game is full of ridiculous setups for the characters. It’s a silly third-person shooter, no doubt, but it has a surprising amount of comedy soul. Given that Musk tends to like shooters “with a story,” this game makes a lot of sense as a favorite of his.
“Kerbal Space Program”
Of all the games Musk has shown interest in, “Kerbal Space Program” is the most directly applicable to what he does for a living. In “KSP,” you’re tasked with building a spaceship. You know, like what he does at SpaceX.
After building the ship, you’ve gotta figure out how to take off and land. And that’s where things get tremendously hard – just like in real life with SpaceX’s Falcon rocket!
- Blizzard Entertainment
It doesn’t get much more foundational than the original “Warcraft,” a game that debuted in 1994 and set the standard for dozens of similar games and spin-offs. Perhaps you’ve heard of the massively multiplayer online game “World of Warcraft”? It derives its characters, story, and world from that of the original “Warcraft” – a tremendously popular real-time strategy game.
The gameplay is somewhat simplistic by today’s standards, as are the graphics (clearly), but that doesn’t make it a bad game by a longshot. It’s a classic, and it also serves as a great demonstration of how long Musk has been gaming.
- The Matrix
Despite Musk’s prolific nature – his list of lifetime accomplishments is staggering, especially given his young age – he believes reality could be a very sophisticated video game. But even though he believes we’re pawns in an alien race’s video game, he’s still striving to do incredible things. Does that make him a great player or a terrible player? Maybe neither! After all, we’re not even sure this is a game.