WarGames

Question: At the beginning of the film, who were the two men in uniform and why did one pull a gun on the other?

Chosen answer: They were erroneously alerted that an actual nuclear attack was underway, and they had been trained to respond by firing a nuclear warhead. However, one soldier was unconvinced that the US was actually under attack, and he wanted further confirmation from his superiors. The other soldier insisted that they follow protocol and fire the missiles. One man alone cannot launch the missiles, it takes two, and the one with the gun is attempting to force his partner to follow through on launching the weapon.

raywest Premium member

Question: Since David told McKittrick that he thought he was only playing a game and at the time didn't know that he hacked into WOPR, McKittrick tells him that they're still on Defcon 4. Why would it still be on Defcon 4 instead of it going back to Defcon 5 after David confessed everything?

Answer: McKittrick doesn't believe David. He thinks he's covering for accomplices...most likely Russian spies.

Jason Hoffman

Question: Although I don't know for sure, I believe I read somewhere that the voice used for Joshua was John Wood (Falken) recording words backwards then reversing the tape so the words would come out forwards but in a machine-like sound. Is this correct?

Chosen answer: Writer Walter Parkes explained they had John Wood read the dialog backwards to give it a flat tone (i.e. Game a play to like you would). Then after rearranging it they would synthesize and process it to give it an electronic quality.

Bishop73

Question: How exactly did David hack into WOPR?

Chosen answer: While wardialing every number in Sunnyvale, California to find the game company's number, he found a number that led to a back door into the WOPR.

Captain Defenestrator Premium member

Question: When Joshua calls David back, why doesn't David just instruct Joshua to "end game"?

Chosen answer: The short answer to your question is that, had David instructed Joshua to "end game," and had it succeeded, there would be no movie. In context, at that juncture, he was just freaked out about being unable to lose the connection to Joshua. Further, he probably didn't try at that point because he did not yet realize the magnitude of what was transpiring. Recall it wasn't until later in the film that he even realized that Joshua didn't draw distinctions between fantasy and reality, or that the game was running to its logical conclusion with actual weapon systems. Had David even tried to end the game, it probably wouldn't have worked. Joshua had to learn the lesson of futility (playing tic-tac-toe) before abandoning the game's objective.

Michael Albert

Question: Can a general change the DefCon unilaterally?

Chosen answer: It's unlikely. To my understanding, the DefCon level, which ranges from 5 to 1, with level 1 indicating almost imminent nuclear war, is changed by orders of the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the U.S military joint chiefs of staff. In the film, it's probably safe to assume that General Beringer (Barry Corbin) was working under orders in consultation with higher-ups at the State Department, and had instructions as to what circumstances would warrant a change in the DefCon level, and given the authority to do so. In U.S History, our DefCon level has only been ordered to level 2 one time, during the Cuban Missile crisis. The 9/11/2001 attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon resulted in an order by then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to DefCon 3. (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DEFCON).

Michael Albert

Question: In the first scene of NORAD where the technicians first notice the incoming missiles, some of the people start saying sentences with the word "confidence" in it. What does "confidence" mean (in relataion to the military)? Does it mean like how sure they are of something?

Chosen answer: The term "confidence" in this case is referring to a statistical element such as confidence interval and confidence level. The discussion of this element is beyond the scope of this answer. Suffice to say, the term "confidence is high" is a terse way of stating that the confidence level as a percentage is 95% or higher and the data sampled (in this case, computing a probability that the attack is real) is accurate.

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Quotes

David Lightman: [On the computer] Hello, are you still playing the game?
Joshua: Of course. I should reach Defcon 1 and release my missiles in 28 hours. Would you like to see some projected kill ratios?
David Lightman: Sixty-nine percent of the housing destroyed. Seventy-two million people dead. [Types into computer] Is this a game or is it real?
Joshua: What's the difference?

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Mistakes

When they launch the F-16's to intercept the Soviet "Backfire" Bomber, the picture shown is of two F-15's. In addition, no F-16's were stationed in Alaska to handle air defense duties, this was handled exclusively by F-15A/C's.

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Trivia

Closely listen to the TV playing in the background, when Mathew Broderick comes home from school, before all his trouble starts with the Feds. The local news is on, and is saying "a fire broke out in a prophylactic recycling factory."

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