Friday, July 25, 2008

"Shall We Play A Game?"

Last night, I attended a 25th anniversary screening of "War Games" last night. As you can imagine, a sizable portion of the audience were hackers, programmers, and various other geeks and nerds.

For those of you who, like me until last night, have not seen the film, it features a very young-looking Ally Sheedy (pre-Breakfast Club) and Matthew Broderick (pre-Ferris Bueller) who accidentally hack into WOPR (War Operations Plan Respondse), NORAD's battle simulation and war advisory computer system. Thinking that he has contacted the website of a video game company, he begins a game of "Global Thermonuclear War." Unfortunately, WOPR can't tell games from reality, leaving NORAD to believe that the Russians have launched a massive attack on the USA.

The crowning moment, though, came about three-quarters of the way through the picture, when the screen froze up and went dark.

"The VHS tape broke!" someone shouted.

"Nope," another joker said, "It was Beta."

A moment or two more, and a slender gray bar appeared at the bottom of the movie screen. In the left hand corner was a button marked START, sporting the Windows flag. That's right. A movie about a computer malfunction ceased to function properly due to (what else?) a computer malfunction!

1 comment:

Diesel said...

Dude, they had the 25th anniversary screening of that film at Google. I wasn't in that day, but a coworker got me a Defcon 3 hat! (Apparently there was a lot more competition for the higher Defcons).