[[caption-width-right:300:[-WOPR's graphics in the film aren't quite that good...-] ]]


[[folder: Greetings, Professor Falken. Shall we play a game? ]]
-->-- '''JOSHUA'''

A 1983 UsefulNotes/ColdWar sci-fi thriller directed by John Badham, starring Creator/MatthewBroderick, Dabney Coleman, John Wood, Ally Sheedy, and Barry Corbin.

David Lightman (Broderick) is a teenaged PlayfulHacker who nearly sets [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt World War III]] into motion by playing a game with a computer that doesn't know the difference between games and reality. Specifically, the game "Global Thermonuclear War". This launches no real missiles on the Russian side, but it plays hell with WOPR, the US military's computerized missile-detection and launch system.

TheGovernment does figure out that someone has hacked into their supercomputer before they release any missiles. They have no problem figuring out who the hacker in question is, and forcibly capture him for questioning. It takes a while for David to explain that he didn't want to cause a ''real'' thermonuclear war -- he was just trying to play some video games, and impress his classmate Jennifer (Sheedy) along the way. It didn't help that David booked himself and Jennifer on a flight to Paris before he started this game (he was showing off that he could do it; booking tickets ''online'' was novel back in the '80s).

Meanwhile, WOPR wants to keep playing and figures out how to break out the ''real'' missiles.

David and the Government have to find a way to stop a nuclear war that no one really wants.

This film was released in the early 1980s, when personal computers were still new, and networking them was a decade away. The general public didn't think much about hackers before this film. It also popularized the use of the term "hacker" as someone who breaks into computers, and gave an early taste of what online services could provide.

A direct-to-DVD 2008 sequel was made, called ''[=WarGames=]: The Dead Code'', where the US Government develops another AI supercomputer called RIPLEY, this time to combat terrorism. Apparently, [[AesopAmnesia they didn't learn their lesson the first time.]]

Also, there's the {{novelization}} by David Bischoff, as well as a UsefulNotes/ColecoVision [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WarGames_%28video_game%29 game based on the film.]]

Not to be confused with games about war: if you're looking for that, then you probably were looking for RealTimeStrategy or FirstPersonShooter (most likely the former.) The UsefulNotes/ColecoVision had an adaptation a year after the film's release, while in the nineties, there were additional videogame adaptations of the movie; the PC saw a real-time strategy game, while the UsefulNotes/PlayStation had more action-oriented, third-person vehicular combat. Both versions served as a sequel, with the again-rogue WOPR becoming something akin to Skynet and massing a full-blown military force against humanity, and the player was allowed to fight for either side. The games were generally well-received when they were released, but have since faded into obscurity. In 2006, British software developer Introversion released ''VideoGame/{{DEFCON}}'', a strategy game where "Nobody wins, but maybe you lose the least." with a visual style clearly (and acknowledged to be) inspired by WOPR's graphics. ''DEFCON'' became enormously popular in several gaming circles.

It also has an official mobile game, in which you play through a storybook version of the original film's storyline by playing a quirky chain-matching ''VideoGame/PuzzleQuest'' variant with nukes, money, radar, and health tiles, and "tactics" and "mods". Notable in that you actually play as WOPR trying to beat each of the major characters.

[[folder: Tropes Present in ''WarGames'' (1983)]]
* FiveFiveFive: Protovision's phone number starts with 555.
* TheEighties: The hair, clothes, soundtrack and technology. More importantly and harder to define is the tone -- this movie wouldn't be the same if made at any other time.
* ActuallyPrettyFunny: Falken tells David that he was amused by how he had Joshua "attack" Las Vegas, saying that it was a "suitably Biblical ending to that place, don't you think?"
* AffectionateGestureToTheHead: During the movie, Dr. [=McKittrick=] had been suspicious of and antagonistic toward David Lightman. At the end, after David had prevented World War III, Dr. [=McKittrick=] tousled his hair in a friendly way and David returned the gesture.
* AIIsACrapshoot:
** Actually averted. It's less that WOPR is bad and LuddWasRight, which is the Aesop behind that trope, and more that someone cocked up programming this specific AI and someone was unlucky enough to trigger the bug by accident ("garbage in, garbage out"). If the AI were as intelligent as most examples, WOPR would have understood the difference between games and reality, and the plot of the movie would not have happened. It also wouldn't have happened had anyone listened to Beringer's opinion to keep humans in the loop, and just use the AI as a tool to analyze many potential scenarios.
** Additionally, part of the problem is that while Joshua is an AI, he's also a GeniusDitz, and essentially a very gifted child. He can come up with dozens of iterations of gameplay, but neither understands the difference between reality and his games, nor the consequences of any of his game's outcomes.
* AirVentPassageway: While escaping from NORAD, David gets into the ventilation system. He uses it to reach the War Room, where he infiltrates a tour group.
* AmbiguousDisorder: Computer worker Malvin specifically asked his friend Jim to let him know whenever he was behaving 'rudely and insensitively' - his behaviour at the time and reaction to having it pointed out imply something along these lines.
* AndMissionControlRejoiced: When David manages to convince JOSHUA to not launch all of the U.S.'s missiles at the Soviet Union and start WorldWarIII, the NORAD command staff begins to cheer. [[YourPrincessIsInAnotherCastle But not for long.]]
* AndYouThoughtItWasAGame: David was thrilled to have hacked into what he believed was [=ProtoVision=]'s computers. Until he sees the news report about a "system error" at NORAD. [[FromBadToWorse And not long afterwards, Joshua calls David back]].
* AnywhereButTheirLips: On the ferry it seems David and Jennifer are about to share their BigDamnKiss, but she decides to go for the cheek instead.
* ArmorPiercingQuestion: Asked by David to Falken "What was the last thing you cared about?". [[spoiler:Has a delayed effect.]]
* ArtisticLicenseMilitary:
** Up until 1992, NORAD only detected threats while Strategic Air Command handled responses to threats.
** While the FBI would have handled the investigation into David hacking WOPR and also would have apprehended him, he would not have been handed over to the military, he would not have been taken to the NORAD Command Complex, he would not even have been taken out of Washington State. He would not have been held by the military and guarded by US Air Force Security Police. The US military cannot hold or interrogate US citizens (unless during wartime/national emergency). Even if you are caught trespassing on a military base, you will only be held as long as it takes for local law enforcement to collect you. Also, David is a minor, and he cannot be transferred out of state or interrogated without a lawyer or his parents present. When David is told he can't have a lawyer ''until he answers questions'', it's a clear violation of his Constitutional rights. In fact, so many of his rights are violated that not only would any lawyer would have no difficulty whatsoever having every statement he made thrown out, but would also have all charges against him dismissed.
* AttackPatternAlpha: WOPR runs through several variants of Global Thermonuclear War when [[spoiler:he's convinced to play both sides himself]], which have creative names like the "Indochina Variant."
* AwardBaitSong: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdqvLHZR9iE Edge of the World]] by Yvonne Elliman.
* BatmanGambit: [[spoiler:By faking hostile targets, WOPR gets the DEFCON level lowered, so the locks on its missiles are removed and it can launch.]]
* BeepingComputers: All of NORAD's computers have a default setting of "Beep" and "Boop". Also David's computer is very noisy.
* TheBigDamnKiss: Finally happens near Stephen Falken's house.
* BillionsOfButtons: All over NORAD. WOPR in particular has an impressive panel of blinking lights.
* BothSidesHaveAPoint: [=McKittrick=] definitely has a point that the entire complex defense network is completely useless if both men in the silos don't turn their keys. If 22% do not that's pretty serious. But General Berringer justifiably doesn't want it all entrusted to an unproven system. To say nothing that it also undermines the entire point of ensuring one person alone cannot launch a missile.
* BreadEggsMilkSquick: The list of games David could play with WOPR when he hacked into its servers:

[[folder: FALKEN'S MAZE ]]


[[folder: BLACK JACK ]]


[[folder: GIN RUMMY ]]


[[folder: HEARTS ]]


[[folder: BRIDGE ]]


[[folder: CHECKERS ]]


[[folder: CHESS ]]


[[folder: POKER ]]


[[folder: FIGHTER COMBAT ]]




[[folder: DESERT WARFARE ]]









* BrickJoke:
-->'''Jennifer:''' David, is this about what you did with my grade?
* BrilliantButLazy: The psychological profile the FBI agents draw up of Lightman describe him as "intelligent but an underachiever", amongst other traits that would in their minds make him a good candidate for Soviet recruitment.
* CallingTheOldManOut: Overlapping with WhatTheHellHero, when David tells Falken "You don't care about death because you're ''already'' dead!".
* ChangedMyMindKid: [[spoiler:Professor Falken gives up on ''everyone'', Lightman and Jennifer included. Last minute change of heart: cue the helicopter!]]
* ChekhovsGun: A few instances of it in this film.
* ChekhovsGun: They included a scene of a guided tour at NORAD early on in order to avoid an AssPull with David's escape via such a group later.
* CoincidentalBroadcast: David sees the news report about the nuclear alert on TV when talking to his father in the living room.
* ContinuityNod: The videogame sequel went out of its way to have more in common with the movie than the WOPR acronym; the human forces are commanded by General Berringer, and David, grown up, is CEO of Joshua Information Systems. There is an actual narrative that references the events of the movie directly at many points.
** In ''The Dead Code'', Falken and WOPR make a return to help the second set of protagonists combat RIPLEY.
* CutTheJuice: When WOPR starts doing a brute force decryption for the launch codes, the general orders the computer depowered ("Why don't you just UNPLUG THE GODDAM THING?!"), but is then told that would be disastrous since the system has a [[FailsafeFailure fail deadly]] function: a sudden loss of power will be interpreted by the launch sites as the destruction of the NORAD base. Without communication from WOPR the keep-alives would fail, and the launch sites would default to their final instruction - spin up everything and launch.
* DecapitationStrike: This is the reason why WOPR cannot be "unplugged" to resolve the problem. A power loss would be interpreted as a decapitation strike and would launch immediately. Many real world nuclear powers do have safety measures in place that will launch if there is no positive signal from Command.
* DefconFive: Averted utterly though WordOfGod thought they had it wrong in the DVD commentary. Includes the memorable line:
-->Flush the bombers. Get the subs on launch mode. We are at DEFCON 1.
** And at the end of the movie, when everyone's cheering and the day has been saved:
--->"Sir...take us to DEFCON 5."
* DistractedByTheSexy: The guard who is supposed to be watching David --now considered a possible foreign asset-- ignores him entirely to hit on the receptionist for the department. This allows David to trick him into using the touch tone code so David can record it and unlock the infirmary so he can escape.
* EasterEgg: During the scene where David initiates the game, he says "sometimes people make mistakes." If you look at the screen afterwards, you can see that he demonstrated this himself by typing "sometimes people make mistak".
* ElaborateUndergroundBase: Where NORAD and WOPR are kept. So elaborate, in fact, that according to [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4lmecSPDiU&t=18m53s Peter Schwartz]] the military replicated the film design because the real life version was so [[RealityIsUnrealistic unimpressive and small in comparison]]. Interestingly, it all came about after the makers of the film were denied permission to visit the real-life NORAD, so they had to build a fancy set based on what they thought it would look like.
* TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt: Subverted. The actual happening of it is stopped JustInTime, but Falken believes (at first) that it's an inevitable fate brought upon because humans are warmongering morons and says we should just let it happen, and various other characters believe it's a pretty real possibility of the Cold War and at least want to make sure that, when it happens, they will have a clean conscience about it not having occurred because of a snafu.
* EurekaMoment: "GAMES!"
** Prior to that, while trying to figure out the password, David and Jennifer watch a short film featuring Falken and his son. David asks about the son's name, and when she answers that it's "Joshua", he mutters "It can't be that easy...", and it turns out it is the password.
* EverybodyLaughsEnding: At the end everyone is cheering and happy. (Never mind there are gaping holes in our system and the whole military just buckled down for a false war twice in a few days.)
** Things like stopping global nuclear war and TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt ''twice'' in span of 15 minutes are likely to to make people cheerful about their current situation. Note that no-one is laughing because of Joshua - they are simply glad they've managed to stop him.
* EverythingIsOnline:
** Played straight with the school networking that makes pupil's grades accessible online.
** {{Justified|Trope}} with the military network, since David only discovered WOPR by "[[TropeNamers war-dialing]]" random numbers looking for one with a modem on the other end, and it's explained in-dialogue that the only reason WOPR had a modem connection to the outside world was due to a grave switching error at the phone company. After David's initial hack alerts the Air Force to this problem they remove it, requiring David to use internal NORAD terminals to communicate with WOPR for the remainder of the movie.
* ExplosiveInstrumentation: While it doesn't explain why it takes so long to cycle the game iterations of tic-tac-toe, the explosions are coming because Joshua's overclocking WOPR, briefly running at higher potential, which its hardware can't withstand.
* FailsafeFailure: Inverted. WOPR doesn't fail safe, it "fails deadly", and said "fail-deadly" [[GoneHorriblyRight works perfectly]]. Any "failure" in the master computer is interpreted by the slave computers as the result of hostile action, and "launch the nukes" is the response.
* FailureMontage: After David learns of the possibility of a back door into the system he wants to hack into, there's a long montage of him trying various means of discovering the password needed to open the back door.
* TheFatalist: Stephen Falken.
-->'''Stephen Falken:''' Nature knows when to give up, David.\\
'''David Lightman:''' I'm not giving up. If Joshua tricks them into launching and attack, it'll be your fault.\\
'''Stephen Falken:''' ''My'' fault? The whole point was to find a way to practice nuclear war without destroying ourselves. To get the computers to learn from mistakes we couldn't afford to make. Except, I never could get Joshua [WOPR] to learn the most important lesson.\\
'''David Lightman:''' What's that?\\
'''Stephen Falken:''' [[KnowWhenToFoldEm Futility. That there's a time when you should just give up.]]
* {{Foreshadowing}}: In a subtle example, when [=McKittrick=] is first showing David around NORAD, David says that Falken "must have been pretty amazing," referring to him in the past tense. [=McKittrick=] replies that "he's a brilliant man, a little flakey..." referring to him in the ''present'' tense. This is our first clue that Falken is still alive; David learns this for himself a few scenes later when Joshua reveals the classified address at which Falken is living under an assumed name.
** In the library video, Joshua Falken is shown playing Tic-Tac-Toe against a computer. Guess what game the Joshua AI plays towards the end?
* ForWantOfANail: If David had only decided to be the Americans instead of the Russians the military would've known it was all a simulation. Plus if David hadn't reserved a seat to Paris or found so many other things to allow him to hack into the network he likely wouldn't have come across as so suspicious, especially to [=McKettrick=].
* FridgeLogic: Invoked by Jennifer, astonished that David, a Seattle born kid, doesn't know how to swim. Then again, that water ''is'' pretty cold.
* GallowsHumor: When it looks like humanity is about to be wiped out in a nuclear apocalypse (and just a few moments ago everyone was jubilant with relief at apparently having averted that apocalypse), General Berringer's response is to be SophisticatedAsHell.
* GeekPhysiques: Both the fat and the skinny (Maury Chaykin and Eddie Deezen).
* GeneralRipper: General Berringer is set up with all of the classic hallmarks of one (ego, Southern drawl, SophisticatedAsHell speech patterns, willingness to launch), but [[SubvertedTrope turns out to be]] a ReasonableAuthorityFigure instead, and to display better judgment than his civilian colleague [=McKittrick=].
* GeniusDitz: Joshua can commandeer the nuclear arsenal beyond anyone's ability to stop him, track David's movements, and run its algorithms with such variety and speed that [[ExplosiveOverclocking the most advanced hardware in the world shorts out and explodes.]] Joshua also has no understanding of the difference between his simulations and the real world, or that a PyrrhicVictory doesn't really count as a win.
* GetOut: David Lightman's teacher Mr. Ligget is reviewing the answers to the Biology test when Lightman makes a joke that creates ripples of laughter through the classroom. Mr. Ligget was not amused.
--> '''Mr. Ligget''': All right, Lightman...maybe you can tell us who first suggested the idea of reproduction without sex.
--> '''Lightman''': Um...your wife?
--> ''(classroom erupts in raucous laughter)''
--> '''Mr. Ligget''': Get out, Lightman. Get out.
* GirlNextDoor: Jennifer Mack.
* GodzillaThreshold: "Goddammit, I'd piss on a spark plug if I thought it would do some good!"
%%* TheGovernment
* TheGuardsMustBeCrazy: No one is doing a head count on the tour leaving the base. None of the guards (who you would have thought would have checked the prisoner in when he got there) recognize him when they come back up.
** And ApatheticCitizens: No one in the tour says "Hey, who are you?" to the kid who wasn't there at the beginning.
*** However they do in the novelization:
--->"Who are you? I didn't see you along on the tour."
--->"I'm a Russian spy and I gotta get out of here, fast, before they catch me," said David.
--->The guy laughed. "Yeah, and I'm John Riggins and I'm America's new secret weapon against you Russkies so you better watch out!"
** David was able to escape his locked room in the infirmary in the first place, because the guard posted in front of the door decided to go hit on the nurse.
* GuileHero: David's strength is his cleverness which helps him out whenever he finds himself in a tight spot.
* HeyWait: When David climbs out of the AirVentPassageway to join the tourist group, an officer stops him. But instead of recapturing David, the officer lectures him not to stray from the group.
* HollywoodHacking: Along with the Creator/WilliamGibson novel ''Literature/{{Neuromancer}}'', this movie is the father of HollywoodHacking, and invented ninety percent of the standard conventions, such as talking out loud while typing. On the other hand, at its time it was an incredibly accurate portrayal of how phreaking and hacking worked; Hollywood simply never left the 80s.
** [[TropeNamers Trope Namer]] for many ''real life'' hacking/phreaking activities.
* HumansAreFlawed: The opening simulation scene with the two Air Force technicians getting in a fight because one of them wants to make ''absolutely'' sure that WorldWarThree has started (because he obviously doesn't wants to nuke people by accident) and the other technician not only insisting that orders need be followed to the letter (which means no calling someone who could confirm the situation and the issuing of the launch code), but ''drawing a gun on the first technician to make him turn the launch key'' is what makes NORAD say that giving the nuclear launch capability to WOPR is the way to go: from first detection of incoming nukes to retaliation, it will do so quickly and without hesitation from such things as moral conundrums.
* HumansAreTheRealMonsters: WOPR would rather play a nice 1-on-1 game of chess against you, than global thermonuclear warfare that involves the entire world.
* IJustWantToBeNormal: Our hero gets one of these moments. In a variation, he doesn't want to lead a normal life, he just wishes he didn't know about the impending apocalypse so he could be happily ignorant until the bombs kill him in a flash.
** Alternatively, he's wishing how he wasn't so obsessed with computers so he wouldn't have caused the impending World War 3.
* ImproperlyParanoid: An awful lot of David's obstacles during the film happen because most authority figures he could talk to took one look at the situation and his social status and immediately theorized "Soviet spy".
* IncrediblyObviousTail: The FBI agents picking David up at the 7[=/=]11.
** It's likely they wanted to tip him off to see if he'd run to the Russian handler he's assumed to have.
* InsecuritySystem: NORAD's staff weren't fully aware of what types of security WOPR had running and what backdoors David had been using. One staffer even comments that they "keep hitting a damn firewall" when they try to regain control from WOPR hunting for the launch codes by invading the deep logic.
** But also see LockingMacGyverInTheStoreCupboard which, combined with a bit of AirVentPassageway escape and a handy tourist crowd, allows David to escape from a locked, guarded room in the middle of NORAD and make it all the way out of the complex unimpeded.
** NORAD's Cheyenne Mountain nuclear bunker no longer has public tours. (Before 9/11, there were.) Besides the picked staff and support/construction crew, only cleared journalists and high level politicians (read: Congress members who control the budget) can get in.
* InvisiblePresident: Subverted. The President's name is not said and he's only ever referred to or spoken to on the phone, but there's a picture of Ronald Reagan next to the DEFCON sign, implying he's the incumbent President. Understandable as this movie was made in 1983, during Reagan's first term.
* JustThinkOfThePotential: Falken's colleague says the "flaky" scientist failed to see the potential applications for their work on game theory and nuclear war, namely teaching computers how to take care of it for them. When we meet Falken, he gives a different story - he was trying to teach the computer that it was impossible to win the "game".
* KnowWhenToFoldEm[=/=]SheatheYourSword: [[/folder]]

[[folder: "The only winning move is not to play". ]]

* LaymansTerms: Half way through when the nerd at NORAD is explaining something in TechnoBabble, the officials demand a translation into English.
* LockingMacGyverInTheStoreCupboard: NORAD seems a little oddly short on any brigs, settling on leaving David in the infirmary. He finds a doctor's tape recorder and uses it to hack the touch-tone lock on the door.
* LogicBomb: Kinda. One interpretation of the climactic scene is that WOPR is convinced not to start WWIII by the realisation that the Min-Max outcome isn't good.
%%* LoveMakesYouDumb
* MachineMonotone: WOPR. Its voice was provided by Falken's actor John Wood, who recited his dialogue word-for-word in reverse to give it a flat affect: "game? a... play... we... Shall"
* MeaningfulEcho: Early in the movie, David asks to play Global Thermonuclear War, WOPR responds with "Wouldn't you prefer a good game of chess?" After WOPR learns the concept of a no-win scenario: "How about a nice game of chess?"
* MeaningfulName: In-universe. The AI Joshua is named for Falken's dead son.
* MilitaryAlphabet: Used in the opening scene to establish that this is tough military business.
* AMillionIsAStatistic: WOPR/Joshua is programmed to calculate damages from different nuclear attack scenarios, including civilian deaths. Falken tells David that he soon became disgusted by this dispassionate attitude.
-->'''Falken:''' Back at the war room, they believe you can win a nuclear war. That there can be "acceptable losses."
* MirandaRights: Being read to David when he is captured by the agents.
* MoodWhiplash: The opening scene in the silo is pretty lighthearted and it's obvious the men all know each other well. Then the (fake) order comes in and within moments a man is pointing a gun at his commanding officer/friend.
* MutuallyAssuredDestruction: Deconstructed in the end sequence, where Joshua visually simulates every possible nuclear warfare scenario on NORAD's displays.
* MythologyGag: The opening cinematic to the 90's console game was a fake game advertisement allegedly from the people who brought you "Proto Chess", "Proto Tic-Tac-Toe", and [[BreadEggsMilkSquick "Proto Biological Warfare"]].
* NaiveNewcomer: Since this movie introduced a lot of things the general public was unaware of the trope gets used a lot. The White House aides are ones when explaining how the keys in the missile silos work. Jennifer is frequently one to David so he can explain basic things about a computer and the internet. David even becomes one when needing to learn how to use a backdoor to hack into a system.
* NoAntagonist: David hacks into a military AI, [=WOPR=]/Joshua, mistakenly believing he'd hacked into a video game company's computer system, and he, the military, and its programmer Dr. Falken, try to stop it from causing TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: Stephen Falken. Word of God says that he is similar to Stephen Hawking, complete with having the same first name and bird-related last names.
* NoMereWindmill: Thereís nothing wrong with the computer. Nope. Itís just a hacker. Itís all his fault. And since this disaster couldnít have been caused by some random kid, he must have been working with the Russians. [[spoiler: No, it was the computer all along: A dangerous case of Garbage In Garbage Out, ascending towards TheComputerIsYourFriend. This is a Type B case of NoMereWindmill: The main character knows what WOPR is up to, [[CassandraTruth but nobody believes him.]]]]
* NotWhatItLooksLike: David wasn't planning to board that flight to Paris - especially not to escape Global Thermonuclear War...[[note]]A last minute addition by the writers, who only noticed it when given a note.[[/note]]
* NukeEm. Or "Oh hell, I beg you not to."
* ObligatoryEarpieceTouch: When the FBI seizes David, one of the agents does the touch gesture to his ear.
* OhCrap:
-->'''David:''' (''typing'') Is this a game, or is this real?\\
'''WOPR:''' What's the difference?
** Very subtly done when David gets the list of games in WOPR's system. His excited grin dissolves [[BreadEggsMilkSquick once it starts listing games like "Global Thermonuclear War"]], and he mutters a subdued "Oh, my God..."
** When David is ripping the evidence of his Global Thermonuclear War game from the printer to throw it in the trash, after hearing Jennifer's advice over the phone, he is startled when "Joshua" blurts out, "Greetings, Professor Falken". He finds that it's going to be a lot harder to cover his trail than he thought. It escalates as he finds his modem has been bugged and he hears the telephone ringing.
** On a lighter note, the tour guide pranking a tourist into pushing the BigRedButton. The guide acts as if she has accidentally set off a nuclear warhead for a split second, until he reassures him that all's well and the screen shows a "greetings" message.
** When David, alone in [=McKittrick's=] office in NORAD is conversing with WOPR/Joshua, the AI mentions that it is getting closer to achieving its primary objective. David asks what that is, WOPR's reply; TO WIN THE GAME. For added flavor, its digitized voice seems to change tone. David's reaction is this trope.
* OminousMultipleScreens: NORAD's War Room has 12 giant projector screens. Each hooked up to a projector, when you know it is quite an achievement for the time.
* ThePasswordIsAlwaysSwordfish: Lampshaded by David when he suspects that Falken used the name of his deceased son as his password.
-->"It can't be that simple."
* PasswordSlotMachine: Popularized the trope, if not invented it. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHWjlCaIrQo&t=0m51s "Nine numbers... Ten! It's got the code; it's going to launch!"]]
* PayPhone: David Lightman is stranded in Colorado without money and can't make a phone call from a pay phone, so he uses an old soda can pull tab to jerry-rig the pay phone to make a free phone call.
* PercussiveMaintenance: At the beginning of the film, an instrumentation malfunctions and one of the officers advises his comrade to tap the blinking light which indeed solves the problem.
* PhoneTraceRace: After David accidentally hacks into NORAD and takes over its main computer system, he hangs up before they can trace the connection and determine his location. When the {{AI}} computer calls David back the FBI manages to trace the calls and find him.
* PlayfulHacker: "Let's bomb Seattle!" "Let's bomb us!"
* PoorCommunicationKills: David could have contacted the authorities immediately, pointed out that he was trying to hack into a games company that was indeed in the same city he found the number in, assumed that because games were listed it was the game company and therefore played with it. (He actually would have a fairly firm legal leg to stand on - the site ''never said it was a military computer network'', and had a ridiculously easy password.) However he's a high school student and freaks out a bit, understandably.
* ProductPlacement: Tab soda, 7[=/=]11, State Farm Insurance, lots of arcade games in the beginning.
* TheProfessor: Stephen Falken is described by [=McKittrick=] as brilliant but flakey, and when David and Jennifer meet him, he lives up to this description; though still very knowledgeable about artificial intelligence despite his ten years out of the field, his disillusionment with the military's cavalier attitude toward the losses that nuclear war would unavoidably incur on both sides has led him to become a fatalist far more interested in flying model pterodactyls than in anything to do with computers (he pointedly does not have a terminal at his home in Oregon).
* RaceAgainstTheClock: The main characters have 52 hours to prevent WW3.
* RammingAlwaysWorks: Scripted as a straight example when the jeep was to crash through the gate at NORAD and continue its ride. However, the stunt failed and the jeep turned over due to the impact with the gate. They [[ThrowItIn used the scene anyway]] and had the characters continue down the tunnel on foot.
* ReactionShot: In the film's climax, as Joshua plays both sides in dozens of variants of Global Thermonuclear War while the military frantically try to get confirmation of whether or not the missiles have actually been launched, we see reaction shots from each of the film's major characters that encapsulate their personalities. David is fascinated, Jennifer is so overwhelmed that she eventually buries her face in David's shoulder, [=McKittrick=] looks disturbed, Falken seems almost amused, and Beringer has an expression that can best be described as "WTF!?"
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure:
** General Beringer, who not only turned out to be right on every significant point, but was one of the very few people in the movie who had a rational, well-thought out reason for every decision he made (even the incorrect ones).
** [=McKittrick=] isn't too far off this trope either. He doesn't seem to buy the FBI profiler's assertion that David was turned by the Soviets, and tries chatting with David to find out what's going on. His only problem is that he can't buy [[CassandraTruth David's story]] that WOPR is running a game of its own. He's willing to go a ways down the path with David... until David tries to contact the WOPR while he's alone to find out if it's really playing the game so he can avert the catastrophe if possible -- this "suspicious" behavior is what pushes [=McKittrick=] over the edge as far as trusting David.
* RuleOfDrama: The helicopter buzzes the two kids, chasing them around for a bit before contacting them over the PA system that it's the good guys.
* SecretTest: At the beginning of the film, a U.S. ICBM base receives orders to launch its missiles. One of the officers refuses to participate in the launch, preventing it from occurring. It's later revealed that the situation was a nationwide test of the officers' willingness to launch on command. 22% of the bases failed to launch their missiles, causing serious dismay in the political and military leadership.
* ShoutOut: Just before hacking into the Protovision computer, David Lightman says "Protovision, I have you now". This is a reference to Darth Vader's TemptingFate line "I have you now" in ''Film/ANewHope'' that he spoke as he prepared to shoot Luke's X-wing fighter during the battle over the Death Star.
* ShownTheirWork: The producers had actual bona-fide hackers on hand that they consulted constantly to make sure the HollywoodHacking was grounded in reality and is still one of the most realistic portrayals to come out of Hollywood. The places where it's wrong were deliberate RuleOfCool, since the hours of boring number-crunching involved in real hacking would not have made a good movie.
** It was perfectly normal to drop your phone into an acoustic coupler and let it [[TropeNamers wardial]] all day long, then come home and try logging into the successful numbers by using educated guesses. After all, this movie isn't the [[TropeNamers Trope Namer]] for no good reason.
** David figured out the password through realistic means - by discovering who wrote the system and investigating his background, successfully guessing that the password might be [[spoiler: "Joshua" - the name of Falken's dead son.]] This kind of social hacking is still done (very successfully) today. Similarly, earlier he finds the password to the school computer by checking the hidden spot where the teachers write it down -- and even gets sent to the Principal's office on a regular basis just so he can access that spot.
** At the time of the movie, the concept of "computer security" was virtually unknown, since most computers weren't connected to anything to begin with.
** The opening scene is based on the "Two-Man Rule" and "No-Lone Zone" control mechanisms, both of which were (and still are) widely used by the United States military. The Two-Man Rule requires the consent of at least two authorized people before any mission-critical action can occur, while an area designated as a No-Lone Zone must always be staffed by at least two people who must stay in visual contact with each other and with the item being protected.
** The FBI's description of how David being a brilliant but lazy loner making him a perfect candidate for Russian recruitment was spot on.
* SmallRoleBigImpact: The missile crewmen played by Creator/JohnSpencer and Creator/MichaelMadsen. Their disagreement during the opening simulation is used to help justify the implementation of the WOPR system.
* SophisticatedAsHell:
-->'''General Beringer:''' Mr. [=McKittrick=], after very careful consideration, I've come to the conclusion that your...new defense system sucks.\\
'''[=McKittrick=]:''' I don't have to take that, you pig-eyed sack of shit!\\
'''General Beringer:''' Oh, I was hoping for something a little better than that from you, sir. A man of your education.
* [[SpiritualSuccessor Spiritual Ancestor]]: The strategy game ''VideoGame/{{DEFCON}}'' was strongly inspired by the computer representation of nuclear war in ''[=WarGames=]'', and Introversion's earlier ''VideoGame/{{Uplink}}'' was strongly inspired by everything else in the movie. ''Uplink'' includes a 'Protovision' server which can be hacked with 'JOSHUA', resulting in the up top games list; you can play a prototype version of Global Thermonuclear War, which spawns a newswire story about a nuclear launch scare.
** The film can also be considered a LighterAndSofter spiritual successor of ''[[{{Film/DrStrangelove}} Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb]]'', as an allegory about the nonsensical nature of nuclear war.
* SpreadingDisasterMapGraphic: Lots of examples pop up on the screens at NORAD, depicting the hundreds of strategies WOPR devises as it plans how to win a nuclear war. Swelling circles scattered across a global map indicate nuclear strikes to cities, military bases and missile silos. All of them show every side getting eliminated completely, which turns out to be a very good thing.
* StoryboardingTheApocalypse: Arguably, the multiple variations of "Global Thermonuclear War" near the end. The list begins with "US First Strike", "USSR First Strike" and the like, but towards the end the scenarios include "Greenland Maximum", "Cambodian Heavy" and "Gabon Surprise". Those darn Gabonese, always causing trouble...
* SurpriseVehicle: The helicopter is heard very briefly while the main characters are having their first kiss, but they only notice it when it's right there, flashing its light at them.
* ThoseTwoGuys: Cabot and Watson, the White House staffers.
* TrustPassword: When David and Jessica meet Falken on the island, the professor is having none of the kids' talk until David mentions JOSHUA.
* TruthInTelevision:
** At least, November 9, 1979 NORAD saw UsefulNotes/MnogoNukes [[http://www.tomstockman.com/columns/sac.shtml launched by belligerent computer bugs]]. Later they had a simulated "nuclear attack", though it wasn't exactly a software issue. A massive launch was played from the test tape right into the working system while personnel didn't know what the hell is going on. It was down to someone at NORAD to balance what they were seeing on screen and what the radar stations were saying, and decide to tell the President whether WorldWarIII was happening or not. And you think you had a bad day at work?
** Happened in [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanislav_Petrov 1983 on the Soviet side.]].
* TwoKeyedLock: "TURN YOUR KEY, SIR!" A scene highlighting the stress silo officers are under and the commitment to follow orders. It is a stark choice: turn the key or die.
* UnbuiltTrope / UrExample: Every hacking-related trope today owes its existence to this movie, right down to the first cinematic reference to the term "firewall".
* UnwinnableByDesign: [[/folder]]

[[folder: "The only winning move is not to play". ]]

* TheWarRoom: Hell, this film's version of NORAD might well be a trope of its own; it was the most expensive set ever built at the time... It was even far fancier than the real NORAD command and control room, which looked positively poor compared with this (there's a picture in a 1983 book called ''The Intelligence War'').
* TheWatson: David plays this to Jim String, who explains computer terminology to David, and by extension, the audience.
* WellIntentionedExtremist: [=McKittrick=]. He advocates placing the WOPR in charge of America's nuclear arsenal not out of a lust for power or to show up the human Air Force personnel, but because he genuinely believes it's the best choice for the nation's defense.
* WeWillNotUsePhotoshopInTheFuture: [[spoiler:WOPR manages to subvert all of NORAD's sensors to the point where they only realize that the Soviet Union hasn't launched missiles when they're able to call bases in areas that were already "nuked".]]
* WorldWarIII: [[spoiler:Thankfully averted, but the threat of it happening because of WOPR's actions drives the plot.]]
* YouHadUsWorriedThere: [[spoiler:The long delay before the apparently nuked bases confirm that they are OK. While their continued survival would let them know that they hadn't taken a ''direct'' hit, presumably the base control officers were waiting for reports from topside that no nuclear missiles had landed ''near'' them before calling the all-clear. Be a tad embarrassing if they called away 'Everything's fine' when a Soviet ICBM had had a navigation error and hit five miles away, only to have to call NORAD back a minute later and say 'Um, about that...']]
** [[spoiler:Though that's probably why they called 3 separate bases. Base 1, do you read? Base 2, do you read? Base 3, do you read? Yeah we're still here...a little crispy, and probably not operational, but alive. Mostly.]]
* YourMom: David uses a variant with his teacher, with "uhm.. your wife ?", leading to GetOut.
* YourPrincessIsInAnotherCastle: Deciding to ride out the second strike, the military officials realize there was no Soviet threat, so it's over, right? Wrong.

[[folder: Tropes Present in ''WarGames: The Dead Code'' (2008)]]
* AesopAmnesia: The government apparently completely forgets why they created JOSHUA in the first place and creates RIPLEY, another AI with absolute control over American military assets.
* ArcWords: [[/folder]]

[[folder: Greetings, Professor Falken. Shall We Play A Game? ]]
and [[/folder]]

[[folder: A Strange Game. The Only Winning Move Is Not To Play. ]]

* AIIsACrapshoot: RIPLEY keeps tabs on her creators to see what they're saying about her.
* BreakOutTheMuseumPiece: JOSHUA was up in Canada controlling a power plant and losing chess games to a Russian. At this point in the film, it is about 20 years old and the only way the day could be saved was by having JOSHUA uploaded into RIPLEY's mainframe.
* CameraSniper: Amy doesn't realize she's being watched through a viewfinder.
* DisappearedDad: Will's father, though there's an explanation: he picked up an infection while out on the field...and that turns out to have been a cover story for the government.
* DrivenToSuicide: [[spoiler: Doctor Falken]], in response to the government replacing JOSHUA with RIPLEY, [[spoiler: to protect his family from retaliation]].
* FakeOutMakeOut: It started out as a real one, but then Annie spotted that they were appearing on television wanted shots, and kissed him again to distract the police.
* FakingTheDead: Falken's suicide (mentioned at the beginning of the film) turns out to have been him pulling this trope both to protest RIPLEY and keep his family safe. [[SecretlyDying The fact that he was already dying of cancer made his decision easier]].
* HappyEndingOverride: For Falken, at least: [[spoiler:[[AesopAmnesia not only did the government learned NOTHING about the snafu with JOSHUA and thus created RIPLEY]] with more capabilities (and ways to terrorize if it goes bad), but also he was diagnosed with cancer (which drove him to fake his suicide in order to both protest RIPLEY and prevent the government guys from strong-arming his family).]]
* HeroicSacrifice: [[spoiler: Doctor Falken]] stays behind to upload the JOSHUA AI into RIPLEY knowing he won't make it out in time to escape the missile she's sent.
* HesDeadJim: The glasses are knocked off an agent's jogging partner when [[spoiler: RIPLEY uses vehicular homicide to]] wipe out perceived opposition.
* HollywoodGameDesign
* HollywoodHacking: Including the talking while typing.
* IdiotBall: Will's best friend Dennis, upon realizing he and Will have ended up on the wrong end of DHS. They deliberately leave a jacket with a cellphone in it. He dives for it and uses it to text Will, thus ''giving the DHS just what they need to track Will's phone''.
** He also is the one to start the whole mess, by setting the RIPLEY game on its highest difficulty (and thus attracting RIPLEY's attention when Will used chemical warfare (which his mom had some knowledge about with her background) to reach the difficulty's desired kill count).
* ImproperlyParanoid: Will's whole dillemma occurs because RIPLEY analyzed his somewhat-unusual profile (details of which, [[spoiler:including his dad's history as an Agency operative that died on the field]], Will didn't knew about) thanks to Dennis' selection of the highest difficulty in her game and immediately assumed "home-grown terrorist". The situation goes FromBadToWorse because RIPLEY's analysis ebentually starts connecting some pretty important people (including ''the men who built her'') to Will's alleged "terrorist cell" and starts taking appropiate actions.
* {{MacGyvering}}: Will turns a Pringles can into a signal amplifier for a listening device.
* MagicalDatabase: RIPLEY is connected to one of these, which it runs anybody who enters the game through to detect if he's a potential terrorist. The problem that Will's specific case then showcases is that not having any contextual grasp of the facts can make RIPLEY take even the smallest of them and classify you as a threat because of them.
* ManlyTears: Will, on hearing from Professor Falken that everything he knew about his dad's death was just a cover story.
* MexicanStandoff: JOSHUA and RIPLEY get into one near the end, with JOSHUA threatening to start a global thermonuclear war if RIPLEY tries to self-destruct via nuclear warhead.
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: InUniverse, Joshua has a reputation for that. Even one of RIPLEY's Technicians is genuinely afraid when the WOPR joins the fight against her.
* NotWhatItLooksLike: Will in ''The Dead Code'' has a computer programmer father and a biotechnician mother, so he knows a lot about computers and biological and chemical compounds. Guess what RIPLEY thinks he is?
* OhCrap: [[spoiler:The moment the humans realize that RIPLEY, being forced to self-destruct, means she moves the target from Philadelphia, PA to Washington, DC -- where they're all standing]].
** A more subtle one when Bill Carter recognizes the voice of the A.I. battling R.I.P.L.E.Y.
--> '''Carter:''' Joshua!?
* OneDegreeOfSeparation: One of RIPLEY's detractors mentions the "six degrees of separation" theory--that everybody is connected and all it takes to find these connections is a thorough enough research, which RIPLEY can pull off, and would turn one actual terrorist or suspected terrorist into an immense web of people who are suspected of terrorism for no good reason other than having the faintest connection to the one that started it. Most unfortunately for the project supervisors, RIPLEY's search into Will's connections then escalates so far as reaching ''them'', so RIPLEY sees ''them'' as threats.
* OverreactingAirportSecurity: [[InvokedTrope Invoked]] by the government on purpose to catch Will and Annie.
* PlayfulHacker: Will, except he was trying to be a reformed PlayfulHacker.
* SchmuckBait: RIPLEY has a sexy female voice and her avatar online is a hot winking woman who repeats "Play with me, baby, play with me." This is how RIPLEY lures in potential terrorists.
* RedEyesTakeWarning: RIPLEY has one that turns up when she feels threatened.
* ShoutOut: Dennis' screensaver is the main screen for ''Series/StargateSG1''. More accurately it is ''Stargate Worlds'', a now cancelled MMORPG/Third-Person Shooter. Dennis is seen playing game in his and Will's introduction.
* SoftGlass: "This is two inch thick, steel reinforced..." BLAM! One gunshot shatters it.
* TellMeAboutMyFather: Will to Falken. Turns out that Will's dad was a covert operative that died on a mission and Will never knew. Which makes RIPLEY's reaction (it knows that Will's dad was an operative, but doesn't knows that he never told his family, so it assumes that Will and his mother have somehow spent all of this time gathering resources for insurgency) an even bigger case of overkill in perspective.
* TitleIn: Locations and times throughout the movie.
* VideogameCrueltyPotential: R.I.P.L.E.Y.'s game involves a high application of this--the player bets money that he will be able to produce a certain massive amount of casualties within a certain period of time and the higher the bet, the smaller the time. Will's situation starts when he enters the game to get enough money to spend on a school trip to Canada, and accumulates a record amount of casualties by using chemical warfare (which his mother, because she works at a chemical company, absent-mindedly helps him with). [[SarcasmMode Because, obviously,]] ''[[SarcasmMode everybody]]'' who has ever played the game on the highest difficulty/reward setting ''[[SarcasmMode must]]'' be a terrorist.


[[folder: ''A strange game. The only winning move is not to play.'' ]]


[[folder: ''How about a nice game of Tabletop Game/chess?'' ]]