These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Contested Sequel: There was a direct-to-TV sequel of this film, released in the 2000s, in which WOPR/Joshua, an elder Dr. Falken, and various friendly hackers have to fight a modern game server with military applications (apparently in that order, seeing how many people game on her) named RIPLEY. This one has considerably more real-life damage — there is no real thermonuclear war, but there are some devastating non-nuclear attacks on American infrastructure.
Fridge Horror: Imagine what might have happened when he started playing the game-that-wasn't-a-game with the computer controlling the entire U.S. nuclear arsenal if David had decided to start launching missiles from the U.S. side...
Nothing. NORAD would detect missile launch, call up the silos and find out that this is a simulation. Soviets would never know anything is happening because they aren't getting data from JOSHUA.
Was WOPR only given control of the nuclear arsenal, or might it have been responsible for other WMDs as well? If so, what might have happened if David had opted to play Theaterwide Biotoxic And Chemical Warfare instead?
Again, nothing, since the United States had no chemical or biological weapons.
Sequelitis: Most people have no idea that a sequel was made. This is a very good thing. Filmed a full two decades after the original, The Dead Code features only one returning character, played by a different actor (two if you consider WORP/Joshua), and has little to do with the original film outside of a handful of connections. It also features some of the worst writing and acting ever committed to celluloid.
"A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?"
It's a rare movie that does it without demonizing anyone on either side or reducing them to cliche' stereotypes.
Values Dissonance: How many modern viewers facepalm when they see the list of passwords on a sheet of paper right next to the computer? In fact, if you're reading this website, that's likely exactly what you've been told not to do ever since you were big enough to hit a spacebar. (Anyone in tech support, or who enjoy Not Always Right and similar "customer service hell" anecdotes, knows that this still happens today.)
Ironically, depending on the level of control you have over your workspace, this is becoming less of an issue; very frequently today, if someone has physical access to the system, you're doomed anyway as far as security goes. Though on the other hand, it does make it easier to cause mischief quickly.
Tropes found in War Games: The Dead Code include:
Anvilicious: Dr. Falken gives a little speech about how he designed the WOPR to work in tandem with RIPLEY rather than against her. The last word of his speech is "Bipartisanship". This in a movie that came out the same year Barack Obama was elected President.
Tropes found in the videogame adaptations include: