Visionary both in its thematics and the execution, WarGames was ahead of its time probably in much more ways than the team creating it could ever anticipate.
In the early 80s the video and co-op games were a huge craze and were featured in many movies, but the computers were still a rare subject in a movie, and very much remained to be so for a long time to come. WarGames was not only one of the first big budget film to feature home computing, but also presented us with one curious, relatable, mischievous youngster that spent his free time phreaking and hacking into remote computer systems. And made it all a huge, exciting adventure.
That adventure quickly gets way out of hand as he manages to hack his way into a computer wired to the thermonuclear arsenal of the United States and thus capable of launching a full scale nuclear assault. The themes of balance of terror and the fear of AI turning against the humankind presented here are just as topical now as they were back in 1983 – if not even more so.
As the movie makers really did their homework with the subject and presented the hacking in believable way – more than can be said about most Hollywood movies to date – WarGames just leaves very little to improve. The great production quality holds up throughout the movie, and the end showdown with Joshua playing Thermonuclear War on the big screen is truly one palm sweating scene, as well as a visual treat.