It was 30 years ago today, on June 3, 1983, that WarGames was launched into theatres. While the computer equipment involved has invariably increased in complexity and power over the intervening years, the story of young computer genius David Lightman infiltrating the NORAD war plans computer and leading the world to the edge of mass destruction retains it powers, while reducing the feigned complexity of nuclear war down to the simplicity of a game of Tic-Tac-Toe.
Issued in an era where home computers were just starting to enter the public consciousness and online activities practically unheard of, WarGames had a lasting impact, both in its realistic portrayal of the world of computer hacking, as well as the idea of letting computers and their binary attitudes take over decision-making in the military industrial complex.
It’s also a damn fun ride. You can jump to the story of the production of WarGames here on TDE, and read my review of the movie over at Ten Point Review. It’s either that, or a nice game of chess.
WarGames was a seminal video game movie from 1983 that helped solidify the public’s view of hackers and computer nerds, as well as introduced an entire generation to the idea of networked communities and connected computers, albeit connected by a blazing fast 300 baud dial-up modem. You can read more about the history of WarGames and two other classic early 80’s video game movies here on The Dot Eaters.
In that article, I mention an atrocious direct-to-DVD sequel mounted by MGM in 2008 called WarGames: The Dead Code, released to dovetail with the 25th anniversary of the original. Currently in development, and hopefully with better prospects, is another WarGames sequel from MGM. Recently, the writer for the project has been named, one Noah Oppenheim. He is an unknown commodity in feature films, with TV producer credits on The Today Show and Hardball with Chris Matthews, as well as a few reality series. Recently, though, Oppenheim has been swept up in a recent mania over famous escape-artist and psychic debunker Harry Houdini, as the planned writer of The Secret Life of Houdini, which will add the fictional ‘secret spy’ to Houdini’s list of accomplishments. Oppenheim has also been pegged as the writer of the adaptation of a young-adult book called The Maze Runner.
Coming in to the WarGames project with a slightly more solid film background is Seth Gordon, previously named as director. Gordon’s latest outing was Horrible Bosses, released this year and garnering a 69% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. What might make Gordon the best man to helm a project updating a classic video game movie is his work directing, shooting and editing The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, a wonderful documentary that detailed one man’s attempt to wrest the all-time Donkey Kong high-score crown from the flamboyant Billy Mitchell.
With King of Kong on his CV, it gives one hope that Gordon and his crew will show the classic WarGames the loving treatment it deserves in an updated sequel.