War Games (1983) Reaction & Review! FIRST TIME WATCHING!! - nzwargamer.net

War Games (1983) Reaction & Review! FIRST TIME WATCHING!!

Shan Watches Movies
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This was an unapologetic 80s film that I wouldn’t consider a classic quite yet. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie though. The concepts of AI and Machine learning were fascinating to see, the humor was on point and the film didn’t take it self too seriously. John Badham was a somewhat competent director and the acting by Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy was also pretty alright. Although it has its flaws, I still think this was a very good film to watch on a Sunday afternoon and a warm cup of coffee.

Full Length Reactions to ALL the films I’ve watched and Early Access at Patreon:

0:00 Intro
1:21 The Film
19:01 The Review
26:13 Outro

Hey guys, I’m Shaneel (Shan). Welcome to the channel!
My reaction and review to War Games (1983) for the first time. Hope you enjoy the video!

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60 Comments

  1. In real life for a while, the password to NORAD's (the North American Aerospace Defense Command) mainframe was NORAD. In a way, we should be thanking the teenage hackers of the time for their role in forcing government agencies to improve their security, if the foreign powers of the time (USSR, China) knew how easy it was to hack into the US Defence computers back then, the USA might have lost the Cold War.

  2. 21:55 actually, these kinds of things make perfect sense me. How does a computer program tell the difference ? Just like your brain when it's stuck in the matrix, if your senses give you similar consistent inputs what else would you conclude ?

  3. Yeah, lets take the men out of the loop, anyone heard of Skynet?

  4. This was a powerful movie for me as a kid growing up under the cold war of the 80s. “The only winning move is not to play”.

  5. This must be generational, because this is not a "casual film" at all. Gen X grew up under the constant threat of nuclear annhillation and knowing it could happen at literally any minute. Those were the drills we ran in schools, (like hiding under your desk would offer any protection from a thermonuclear blast, but whatever).
    When The Day After Tomorrow, a TV movie about an actual nuclear war was relased, parents had to carefully weigh and decide whether to even let their young kids watch it – mine did and I was traumatized for life. Peak Cold War under Reagan was terrifying and this fantastic movie is made right at the peak! It deserves a lot of respect.
    Not living under such an existential threat maybe you don't quite grasp why this film was such a HUGE deal. And the actors were phenomenal – across the board. I think some of your criticisms are off base simply because you can't relate to it. When it comes to the 80s – you truly had to be there to believe it.

  6. I have an idea. Sometime this winter, when you know the weather is going to be bad all afternoon or evening, you need to watch two, polar opposite movies about nuclear war, back-to-back. Failsafe and Dr. Strangelove, in that order. Trust the order, Failsafe is meant to be taken very seriously, is full of tension and the ending will mess with your mind. Strangelove, on the other hand, takes it in the opposite direction of comedic absurdity, which, after watching the first, will at least leave you laughing, uneasily, about total annihilation. They both premiered within 10 months of each other, 1963 and 64. They encapsulate the height of the cold war like no other two movies since. They are, quite literally, bookends on the subject of nuclear war, imho.

  7. It's strange that you say you're familiar with the electronics sounds of the 80s and they did a "good job."
    This isn't a re-creation of the 80s, it WAS the 80s! They weren't trying to replicate something from the past.

  8. You were not alive when this film was made, that makes all the difference because at that time MY generation was incredibly worried about both the nuclear war and the emergence of uncontrollable technology. You cannot relate to that time unless you were there.

  9. Guy's trying to prevent nuclear war.
    Kid: "I don't think I should say anything else until I talk to a lawyer."
    Shan: "The smartest thing you just said."
    Me: "Uhhhh… Shan .. we need to talk."

  10. I think in almost all of your plot holes, it is something YOU missed in the film. For example:
    1. Breaking back into NORAD: they were not breaking in at all. You completely seemed to miss that they were coming back because Falken called NORAD and they were telling them to hurry because they had to close the gate. They rammed the gate because they were speeding, and the guards were helping them to get inside before they closed the mountain.
    2. How did Joshua suddenly learn? Well if you know much about AI, you know it is only as good as the training data you provide it. The had Joshua only play games that were winnable, but never any that could really end without a winner if you have a competent opponent. Falken directly addressed this in dialogue and you missed it. It was only when they got Joshua to play itself that the algorithm retrained itself to look for a condition where the minimum resources expended always exceeded the maximum benefit. In AI these are local boundary conditions or local minima and maxima…you can think that is the best solution, but only because you have not been exposed to all possible outcomes. This is not a plot hole, it is still the most massive issue with AI.
    3. How did he escape? Well NORAD is a secure facility, and thus had no procedure for penal and incarceration functions. David was a teenager, and they had largely realized he was not a serious flight threat in such a secure facility, he had largely been cooperative. But you overlook the fact that they are clearly distracted with a larger problem and they have already decided he was not the solution to it. Plus…he hid among a tour group. If you ask me, that is the real plot hole. Would they really have a tour of such a sensitive facility? Unlikely.

    War Games is absolutely a classic. It was also one of the most influential movies of all time. Reagan watched it and was said to be moved by its implications. It is also said that the Soviet leadership was aware of the film and saw its popularity and message as a reason to believe that nuclear disarmament was politically desirable in the US. It also convinced Congress to pass the first hacking legislation and numerous entities to increase network security. DefCon the hacking conference gets its name from the film.

  11. I remember this film and The Day After, and growing up in the Cold War, really had me worried as a kid about nuclear war in the 80s.

  12. I know if a girl/woman is interested in me if she is coming forward to me and talk with me then.😊😅😂🤣

  13. You were looking for something more serious than MAD?

  14. As for the story being unrealistic, check Able Archer '83 and a bunch of other instances that almost led to WWIII…

  15. It was far more terrifying back in the day for those of us who lived through those times. It was just a terrifying for us as today’s problems are to young people today.

  16. I think the Feds would have picked Jennifer up too. They would have talked to David's parents, they would have mentioned her and she would have had a visit from the Feds.

  17. Lincoln 6 Presents, Adventures of the Road Warrior says:

    You have to realize that Most of the people who are recomending these movies such as this one to you, were like my self about 13 or younger when they watched it back in 83, which is to say it was produced as a Teen Movie before all other things!

  18. W.O.P.R. = step one for Skynet.

    Nothing "casual" about this movie at the time it arrived on our screens…still scary.

  19. Everything in the early to mid 80s was about the Cold War, which was incredibly scary for everyone, especially kids. Remember all the songs we had about it? Sting did Russians, and Elton John had Nikita, then there was the TV film The Day After, and Testament. Everywhere we turned, people were getting nuked lol. I remember something at the time about the filmmakers sending the film over to the Soviet Union and asking Kruschev to watch it? Everybody in the arts communities were trying to send messages to the governments of the world, that's how serious it was.

  20. The sounds of the modems were accurate? They were current at the time. I love your reviews, but you're imagining this movie was made today.

  21. Casual Film?? 😆 It only deals with the complete destruction of the Earth and mankind. I think this movie is much deeper than it appears yes frivolous in scenes but one of my favorite movies. I saw this when I was young and 82 I think probably a VHS rental LOL and was blown away loved it. There is a better film along the same lines it's called The Manhattan project with the dude from 3rd Rock from the Sun about a teenager who builds a nuclear bomb. That's very well done even better than war games I would think

  22. This movie is inspired by two different real events: "The 3 A.M. Phone Call" of 1979 and the early 1980's hacking on the DoD network by two teenagers that lead them to NORAD briefly and forced the DoD to re-design the whole network. The movie is a mix of these two real events.
    The booth phone hack was usual in the 70's-80's but only a few people knew how to do it right. The hack of the NORAD detention's room is possible in theory, because the door system "hears" sound tones coming from the keyboard and David analogically recorded those tones and reproduced them back in the system line where it "hears" the input signals.

  23. If you want deep, watch Threads and The day after!

  24. My wife and I saw this at a theater when it came out. I still watch it from time to time. It's very entertaining. He must have done a lot of hacking to afford such high-tech equipment. I think only business systems used 8" floppy discs. Us normal folks could only afford the 5-1/4" variety.

  25. You must be a CS grad. You know all of the concepts.

  26. Amazing Broderick movie. See Project X (1987). Similar feel with the government programs. You would like it

  27. The concept of hacking was very new then, I don't think the term was even actually learned. That was part of the coolness of this film. WOPR was scary to us as kids.

  28. Crimson Tide is another movie dealing with nuclear war with Denzel Washington.

  29. That'll put marzipan in your pie plate, Bingo! says:

    As a teen I saved up and built my first PC after seeing this movie. Still a PC gamer to this day. It was a magical time.

  30. such a good film. really portrays the importance of futility.

  31. 3:06 3:22 The soldiers know the general state of the Union before going-in. To tell them its real and urgent when there was zero tension before they went-in. It is contradictory to the purpose of the launches.-Ernie Moore Jr.

    Having people In and launching outside of defcon 11300HR or 2358HR is is unayuthorized whim of two people.-Ernie Moore Jr.

    This matter is Not on paper. In the cases of those 22% Not turning the key they was doing their duty-in much the sam manor as shoot combatants, not civilians. The tests are done at times not War times and they should not be turning keys outside of declared war.-Ernie Moore Jr.

    You can test going through procedure. You can time it but it must be known as a test. Also test if the soldier will head shot a soldier who does not turn the key [Blanks]. But, a soldier kills when commanded; yet ,is Not to Murder.-Ernie Moore Jr. Without the thickness of war in the atmosphere a good soldier might not turn the key with out it being a service to the country. They are trained in the U. S of A. to have mental toughness. so fake orders when your heart knows it's fake might be read as a red flag. Where your order to defend has truth the good soldier that does not kill without a honest basis that soldier in honest war in true command will turn the key without hesitation 100% U. S. of A. let it not be time.-Ernie Moore Jr.

  32. 3:26 Woooowwwww. you got that it runs simulations it was great how you conveyed that and that you got it at all was very nice.-Ernie Moore Jr.

  33. The movie where I fell in love with Ally Sheedy.

  34. Funny. For those of us that were of that era with our modems and wardialers, this IS a classic.

  35. You have no idea, at all, why this movie, is much much more, than just any movie. You need to watch some others reviews with better skills than yours, you'll see what you missed.

  36. I am surprised you did not see the seeds of SKYNET in this film. Clearly, the idea of giving a computer control of the nukes was the same as in Terminator.

  37. The writers who wrote the script might be too hungry to call WOPR, WOPR. Burger King, anyone, yo?

  38. The missile shots were done with bigatures, which are large scale miniatures. It's old school practical effects. The reason why it looks so real is because the models were real. This is how shots of the spaceships in Star Wars (pre-Special Editions), the ships of 2001: A Space Odyssey, some of the underwater shots of The Rig from The Abyss, the exterior shots of the colony from Aliens (as well as the dropship from the film) looked so amazing.

    "I wonder how this worked." Basically, for phones back then, for payphones, all you'd need to do to trick the phone into thinking you deposited change into it was to use a piece of metal to touch the inside leads in the receiver. Basically, it makes the phone system think you deposited coins. In fact, there was a style of phone hackers known as phreaks, who found ways to bypass phone systems. The phone systems were so easy to trick back then, the first phone "phreak" was a man named John Draper, who discovered he could make free phone calls using a toy whistle that he found in a box of Captain Crunch cereal. In fact, later on, the phone company tried other systems to counteract these "phreaks", but they discovered you could hook up a microcassette recorder, recording the tones the phones made when you dropped in five dollars worth of quarters into the phone, hang up and get the money back and then play the tones back to get free phone calls without ever having to spend a quarter.

    The funny thing is that because of this film, the world became introduced to the concept of hackers and computer hacking.

  39. You're looking at this 40 years later. Back in 1983, this was nail-biting stuff and the humor was for relief of the tension. We were in the cold war and the technology was cutting edge. I sat in the theater watching this completely on edge, and we all cheered at the end. You have to put it in the context of the time. Yes, a summer film, entertainment, but what a ride at the time!

  40. To me this has always been one of those underrated super gems, together with 13th warrior and Top Secret. It may be hard to see the thrill of connecting to other computers now, but back then in the commodore 64 era it was an amazing thought, which added to the excitement.

  41. Machine learning isn't new, basic research was done in the 60s. As far as early AI in movies is concerned, you can also look at The Forbin Project.

    The screenwriters of War Games also wrote Sneakers, which is another excellent demonstration that hacking is about social engineering (also has an excellent cast).

  42. If you enjoyed that old font, you should check out another 80s Cold War era war response oriented fun sci film about AI, SHORT CIRCUIT with Johnny 5, and well, the sequel is debateable, but has a fun "Holding Out for a Hero" montage.

  43. I disagree with your assessment of this film not being a 'classic'.
    How does one determine a film has achieved 'classic' status?
    This film was evocative of its time. It generated a lot of cultural quotes still used in other productions and daily use. It had a cultural impact at the time. Whether you saw it then or an hour ago, regardless of what generation you belong to, the film remains memorable, unforgettable. It was both a 'first' and a 'best' of its subgenre of film.
    When people think of computers or AI running things, the four films that most often spring to mind is HAL in "2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968), Joshua/WOPR in "WarGames" (1983), the Terminator T-800 robot in "The Terminator" (1984) franchise, and the machine reality of the world of "The Matrix" (1999) franchise. These are the most recognized iterations of control in the 'hands' of computers and machines. Even the android David in the film "AI" (2001) or the strong story of Sonny in "I, Robot" (2004) doesn't register as strongly as these first four, nor do the earlier appearance of the androids of "Blade Runner" (1982). I think that clearly sets "WarGames" up as a classic film.
    I agree the filmcraft was largely pedestrian and the acting could have been better (this was 2 years before Sheedy did "The Breakfast Club" and 3 years before "Ferris Bueller"), but the story is the thing that makes this film a classic. The existence of all life on Earth in the balance as a machine plays a 'game', as put in motion by a teenager. It was a unique story in its time and satisfactorily-communicated. It's a classic.

  44. if you had watched the movie in 1983 you would have enjoyed it more.

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