Jane VaynmanThe best move is not to play

Yes, you know exactly which movie that line is from.

War Games is fun for several reasons (including the putting of the phone on some receiver thing to dial and connect to somewhere. I clearly need one of those). But mostly I like the giant map of the world in the nuclear control room.

The people at Introversion Software also seemed to like that part, as they have made a whole computer game called DEFCON out of it. You pick a continent, set up your ICBMS, subs, radars, etc. and then at some point, nuke all your opponents. I am not sure, but it appears that at least part of the point is to have the screen light up in a nifty pattern.

I caved and tried to play the demo but it didn’t work on my computer. Anyway, I bet it’s more fun than this ‘nonviolent strategy’ game, which my interns played for 30 minutes a few months ago and deemed too slow. But, if you do want to learn how to fix the world while safely hidden behind the computer screen, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has a long article all about negotiation and mediation games.


  1. Phil (History)

    I’ve been playing with this game for a few weeks now. The ABM is unrealistic but the game is phenomenally addictive.

  2. xyz

    The game is awesome. Apparently, there is a community to design modifications to the game, so hopefully we’ll be able to play in a world with less effective ABM, MIRVs, decoys, etc. It’ll be great.

  3. J. (History)

    The demo was buggy for me too, but I was similarly attracted by the concept. The gameplay is almost too simple, but easy to pick up. The process of joining multiplayer games seemed too hard, so I passed. Rather be playing “day of defeat” – WWII first person shooter.

  4. JJ (History)

    Can’t wait for the MAC version to come out, which according to the message board will be in November/December of this year.