Anyone with a bit of age on ’em may read that title and in their head hear Joshua saying it in that menacing, computerized voice that I will forever associate with Global Thermonuclear War and complete annihilation of the world.
By now, you’re thinking… “What IS she rambling on about??”
This weekend, Chris and I reached new levels of geek when we decided to dig out our copy of War Games – a movie released in 1983 starring (a VERY young) Matthew Broderick. It was one of the first mainstream cybercrime, cyberterrorism flicks to hit the scene. Basically, the kid, played by Broderick, was attempting to hack into a computer game company to obtain their new games before they got released to the public, but ended up hooking into NORADs nuclear monitoring and defense system and launched a simulated nuclear war between the US and the Russians. It was a simulated game, run by the computer – but no one at NORAD knew it was only a simulation.
The movie is a virtual, nostalgic graveyard of computer equipment, including (but not limited to) – Imsai 8″ Floppy Discs, Commodore PET’s, TRS-80’s, Sinclair ZX-81’s, Apple II’s, Atari’s, Odyssey2’s, Vic20s, Commodore 64s, ZX Spectrums, classic voice synthesisers, 300 baud acoustic couplers, mass prefix dialers, dot matrix printers, mainframe computers taller than my house – – not too mention Galaga arcade machines!
We had great laughs when the kid goes into a phone booth, unscrews the mouthpiece of the phone and uses the pull tab ring off a can of Coke to get a dial tone – – then dials the number he needs on the rotary dial pad. The hairstyles and clothes were worth a chuckle or two, as well.
Though, the movie still holds a universal truth – even in present day. At the end of the movie, when Joshua is done playing Global Thermal Nuclear War, pitting the Americans against the Russians – – basically bombing the literal crap out of everything in every possible scenario, Joshua (the computer) designates there are no winners. In the game of Global Thermal Nuclear War, there are no winners and the only way to win the game is to not play it.
Joshua: : A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?