We children of the 80s may remember the decade for its great music and head-scratching fashion, but that’s only because we were kids back then. Ask your parents what the 80s were all about, and they’ll probably mention the Soviet Union at least once in the conversation.
With that in mind, we at Bestofthe80s are proud to present our very first ‘theme week’. This week’s topic? None other than The Cold War.
Following the American boycott of the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, things really started getting interesting. We kept hearing about things like communists, missile silos, and Leonid Brezhnev.
Then in the summer of 1983, we got a crash-course in international politics (along with a lesson on how to jimmy a pay phone). War Games hit theaters in June, and all of a sudden life wasn’t all Pac-Man (yep, we love it!) and Saturday morning cartoons (yes, them too!).
Matthew Broderick is David, a computer whiz who’s bored with the same old arcade games. On the quest to find something more exciting, he accidentally hacks into the NORAD server (codenamed Joshua), which uses games of strategy for training.
“Would you like to play a game?”
David likes the sound of ‘Global Thermonuclear War’, and all of a sudden he’s launching fake missiles at the US, Joshua is preparing to retaliate, and the entire US military-industrial complex is watching, wondering what the hell is going on… Before long, we’re at DefCon 1.
The authorities are hot on David’s trail (though he has no idea what he’s done wrong), gal pal Jennifer (Ally Sheedy) is along for the ride, and no one can figure out how to turn the computer off. How bad was it? General Beringer, we think, put it best: “Goddammit, I’d piss on a spark plug if I thought it’d do any good.”
Eventually David and Jennifer find Joshua’s programmer, Professor Falken (whio, as it turns out, was the father of real-life Joshua), and he helps them figure out that a simple game (or five hundred) of Tic-Tac-Toe could save the day. Sure enough, just in the nick of time, order is restored, and we return to DefCon 5.
Whew, that was close.
“A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?”
We ♥ War Games.