Whether you like it or not, Tesla/SpaceX/The Boring Company/Twitter/Neuralink CEO Elon Musk is inherently influential as the planet’s wealthiest person, and his influence covers a lot of ground — including that which is currently going on in the video game world. Not exclusively, since Musk’s year was rather dominated by various, expensive lawsuits, but there was an inescapable amount of crossover.
Gaming has always been central to Musk’s identity as an occasionally charming, mostly evil Übernerd addicted to blondes — the first thing he ever sold was a space shooting game, he was 12 — and this year only tightened that love knot. Some things never change, but we can reminisce anyway. I’ll be your ghost of Christmas past — walk back through Kotaku and the rest of the internet’s past year of pure Musk.
January: Goat Simulator .01
We started 2022 off strong, with Musk offering a teenager $US5,000 ($AU7,450) to stop tracking his private jet (the teen declined) and defending Canadian truckers’ right to die from the novel coronavirus during their anti-vaccine protest. To award him for such a commendable beginning of the year, the creators of cryptocurrency Elon GOAT Token, which regrettably still exists, decided to commission an approximately $US500,000 ($AU745,000) sculpture of Musk’s giant meaty head atop a plump goat skeleton atop a firing rocket, which regrettably now exists.
As Gizmodo writer Shoshana Wodinsky originally said in January, “Regardless of your feelings on Elon Musk, goats, or the word ‘innovation,’ you can’t deny that the statue is unsettling, to say the least.”
February: Is this what you want?
Musk kept the good vibes going, dedicating February to fleshing out his beef with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, donating billions of dollars to a mysterious charity, and trying different ways to make a car do everything other than what it’s supposed to do.
In particular, Musk wanted to make all Steam games compatible with Teslas, which currently have movie streaming capability, arcade games, and more available to access while the car is parked.
“Tesla has recently put a new, faster computer in the Model S and Model X that is geared toward use for video games powered by the AMD Navi 23 GPU,” Jalopnik writer Andy Kalmowitz said at the time. “Games would be playable through the front and rear touchscreens, and Musk revealed there is more storage space to handle additional games on the platform.”
Steam Tesla still seems to be the plan. Musk said he was in the process of testing integration as recently as September 13.
Read More: Elon Musk Wants To Get Steam Games In Teslas
March: 3D chess
Musk’s secret baby with musician (and my queen) Grimes was revealed in March — accidentally, through a Vanity Fair profile — shortly before he got covid, suggested he would create his own version of Twitter (yeah, about that…), and pretended to have a humongous, extraordinary brain because he likes to play The Battle of Polytopia.
But Kotaku staffer Sisi Jiang wasn’t impressed with Musk’s supposedly “much more complex version of chess,” as he called it.
“Polytopia is not as complex as Musk described,” Jiang wrote. “There were more opponents than in a chess game, but its difficulty was inherently constrained by the number of possible actions per turn. Polytopia is an approachable game for newcomers to the civilisation builder genre, but it’s definitely not what I expected from the so-called ‘Player of Games.’”
April: The acquisition from Hell
Musk followed through on his impulse, buying Twitter for $US44 billion ($AU65.5 billion). Cue flames, tidal waves, people screaming about “free speech” but actually meaning to say they want to be racist in public. Through the initial frenzy, though, some marginalised game developers decided to dig their heels in the social site and stay put.
“Despite the public outcry against Musk taking over Twitter, some developers have nonetheless found that Twitter offers unique advantages to their business,” Sisi Jiang wrote. “They’re not uncritical of how Twitter was even before the Musk acquisition. However, they feel that the advantages currently outweigh the downsides.”
May: Musk is maidenless
As Musk’s buyer’s remorse started clouding the sky over his billion-dollar baby, he did like many of us do in times of crisis and turned to video games. He tweeted a lot of objectively counterintuitive Elden Ring advice, which I correctly noted at the time was evidence that “having around a $US250 billion ($AU372.4 billion) net worth turns the grey matter in your brain’s frontal cortex into individual packets of mustard.”
He also decided to get into a Twitter war with video game satire site Hard Drive, refusing to credit it for a headline he reposted.
“The reason you’re not that funny is because you’re woke,” he said then. “Humour relies on an intuitive & often awkward truth being recognised by the audience, but wokism is a lie, which is why nobody laughs.” It’s a weird thing to say, considering he got into the keyboard battle because he reposted a Hard Drive headline because he, presumably, found its “wokism” amusing. But mustard is likely leaking out of his ears as I type this very sentence, and May was a reminder to keep our collective expectations low.
June: Work from home interlude
May also might have been a lesson for Musk — he stayed pretty quiet about games for a while after that. He had other things to worry about, anyway, including an ongoing $US258 billion ($AU384.4 billion) lawsuit alleging Musk facilitated a Dogecoin pyramid scheme and needing to tell people how necessary in-person work is (it’s not).
Remotely-working game developers know the truth. After Musk sent Tesla employees an email with the subject line “Remote work is no longer acceptble [sic],” devs on Twitter had to disagree.
“The video game industry creates way more exciting products than a Tesla,” Kotaku senior writer Ethan Gach reported PlayStation animator Robert Morrison saying. “And we are all thriving working remote.”
“A writer from Eidos Montreal, meanwhile, pointed out that her team’s ‘ideas and innovations’ weren’t suffering as a result of cutting down on long office commutes,” Gach continued.
July: Wife watch
Another quiet video game month for Musk. And quiet in general, as Musk focused most of his energy into demurely (and unsuccessfully) ducking out of his Twitter acquisition.
So let me will myself into talking about Musk’s alleged affair with Google co-founder Sergey Brin’s wife, reported by The Wall Street Journal. According to the Journal, the 2021 liaison dangereuse was “brief,” but destroyed Musk’s friendship with Brin, as having sex with people’s wives is wont to do.
August: Domino effect
“Whether it’s random jokes made for Twitter or paintings that look like they were made by actual human beings, artificial intelligence’s ability to create art has exploded onto the scene over the last few months, and while this has been great news for shitposts and fans of tech, it has also raised a number of important questions and concerns,” Kotaku senior editor Luke Plunkett wrote on August 25.
“The reason for this is of course because there are, as there always are in these times, financial considerations at the heart of this movement, some of which are mixing in the same circles as so many other dystopian technological creations,” he said. “OpenAI, the lab behind Dall-E, was co-founded by Elon Musk, and already there have been million-dollar sales of NFT artworks generated by artificial intelligence. And that’s just the start.”
September: They’re all in on it
The biggest September event on Planet Musk was his texts with various tech and society goons, released as part of his Twitter imbroglio, at that point a growing malignant mole and legal battle.
“The texts provide a fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpse at 21st century dealmaking in the tech sector,” Gizmodo senior writer Matt Novak said. Things got clearly messy, with Musk at one point “both texting his brother about starting a new social media company while also texting with [former Twitter CEO Parag] Agrawal about not wanting to serve on the board anymore.”
October: It begins
Elon Musk walked into Twitter headquarters holding a disembodied porcelain sink so he could say he “let that sink in,” laugh sheepishly in a silent, cavernous room, and make God cry. He decided to buy Twitter after that aforementioned legal battle started looking grim for him, and stepped into his CEO shoes the last week of October. That same week, gaming news Twitter @Nibellion shut down.
“Nibel didn’t break stories but rather had an almost preternatural ability to tweet about them before anyone else,” Kotaku editor John Walker wrote on October 31. But in light of a failed attempt to monetise those tweets with Patreon and Musk’s reign looming, Nibel decided to call it quits.
“I do not trust Musk and his seemingly infinite immaturity,” he said in a Patreon post. “I do not think Twitter will fall apart instantly but that it could die a slow death. Why waste more time?” @Nibellion currently exists as a private shell of its former self.
November: True madness
Musk really made up for those more relaxed summer months in November, when his grip on the internet made it start to fissure.
“The latest in a seemingly never-ending list of dire consequences for Twitter users in the wake of Elon Musk’s purchase is a very predictable one: after overhauling the site’s verification system, a flood of fake — and yet still ‘verified’ — accounts have begun using the platform to fuck with people,” Luke Plunkett reported on November 9. Because of Musk’s insistence to democratize the infamous blue check through a monthly $US8 ($AU12) subscription (now suspended), Mario seemed to flip people off directly from the (fake) official Nintendo account and (fake) official George Bush reminded everyone that he loves bombing Iraq.
“The internet-wide shorthand for a trusted account — you’ll find blue ticks everywhere from Instagram to Depop — is now almost worthless on Twitter,” Plunkett wrote.
Also, Twitter got rid of about half its 7,500 workers, and now it’s held together by a couple of curly fries and crossed fingers.
December: Full of Diet Coke
That brings us to the present day. Did you learn something about yourself, society, or the goodness of man? No? “I told you these were shadows of things that have been. That they are what they are, do not blame me!”
As Dickens predicted, in December, we discovered that Musk sleeps in the shadow of four caffeine-free Diet Coke cans and two replica guns, one of which is from Deus Ex: Human Revolution.
“The caffeine-free version destroys my gut microbiome enough to make me forget my pain,” my friend Mark said about the situation at the time.
Yeah, humanity deserves to end soon. It’s not getting much better than this.
What was your favourite bad/weird/good/alleged Musk moment this year?
The Cheapest NBN 1000 Plans
Looking to bump up your internet connection and save a few bucks? Here are the cheapest plans available.