WarGames: 25 Years Later

David Konow writes:

"In the late spring of 1983, a little-know movie hit the big screen and introduced audiences to a new world of technology filled with things that audiences had never heard of before: Hackers. Artificial intelligence. Supercomputers. Firewalls. Backdoor passwords. War dialing. Defcon. And of course, an interesting simulation called Global Thermonuclear War.

When "WarGames" arrived during the height of the Cold War, it combined cutting edge computer technology with a modern military thriller. The concept was simple enough: a bright high school student accidentally accesses a military supercomputer called WOPR (War Operation Plan Response) and begins playing what he thinks is a game. Except it's not, and soon he discovers that the "game" he's playing may very well trigger World War III with the Soviet Union. Directed by John Badham ("Saturday Night Fever," "Blue Thunder") and starring Matthew Broderick as the iconic high school computer whiz David Lightman, "WarGames" became a sleeper hit and took American audiences, largely unfamiliar with computers and high-tech, by storm. Consider how Broderick's character had an IMSAI 8080 microcomputer that he connected to a modem via an acoustic coupler. "WarGames" was a blockbuster film about computers before the phenomenon of the personal computer, arriving before Apple's famous 1984 Super Bowl commercial for the Macintosh."

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