Elon Musk has been reminiscing about his days as a champion level Quake player, although that’s not quite how his contemporaries remember it.
It’s long been known that Elon Musk is a fan of video games, even if the games, and other gamers, aren’t a fan of his. He recently streamed footage of himself playing a Diablo 4 character called IWillNvrDie, where he died several times, and apparently he was booed off stage at a recent Valorant event.
He was also a background character in Cyberpunk 2077 and offered tips for Elden Ring, but the latest revelation is that he was one of the top Quake players in the world back in the late 90s. Or at least he says he was.
‘At one point I was maybe one of the best Quake players in the world. I actually won money in what I think was one of the first paid esports tournaments in the US, we’re doing four-person Quake tournaments and we came second,’ he told podcaster Lex Fridman.
‘I was the second best person on the team, and the best person… we were actually winning, we would’ve come first but the best person on the team, his computer crashed halfway through the game so we came second. But I got money for it and everything. So basically I got skills. Albeit, you know, no spring chicken these days,’ says Musk.
The actual best Quake player in the world is undoubtedly Dennis ‘Thresh’ Fong, who has mentioned Musk being involved in the early esports scene before.
‘Elon Musk, he’s known as a huge gamer, we used to play on the same Quake server, almost every day I’d see him on: Zip2 was his username,’ he said in an interview with DJWheat three years ago.
‘He wasn’t very good, but he’s still an OG – he’s legit when he says he’s a gamer,’ revealed Fong. ‘I saw him every day on this Quake server and a good buddy of mine ended up being the CIO [Chief Information Officer] for every one of his companies.’
Other fans online have also mocked Musk’s claims but it’s less clear whether they were around in the 90s or are just assuming he’s lying.
Given the whole idea of esports didn’t really exist back then, and certainly nobody was keeping any records, its hard to tell exactly how much Musk is overstating his abilities.
There weren’t any proper international tournaments in those days, and barely any national ones for the US, so while he probably did okay in local events, especially as part of a team, he’s undoubtedly imagining he was better than he was – both then and now.
At the moment he seems more obsessed with Diablo 4… and the fact that major companies, including Ubisoft, are pulling their advertising over concerns about antisemitism on Twitter, where Musk himself has been accused of sharing an antisemitic post.
Both Xbox and PlayStation have already removed Twitter from their consoles, but that was over increasing the licensing fee for the API. Musk threatened to sue Microsoft over the issue but so far there’s no indication he has.
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