Unlike more modern films about hacking like The Net and Hackers, Wargames has been lovingly embraced by the geek audience. And even 25 years after its release, it holds up as a thought-provoking film about a changing technological future–a future where the fate of the world really can be in one man’s hands, or just as easily, the neutral clutches of an obedient piece of computer software.
Wired has published a particularly enjoyable series of interviews in celebration of Wargames‘ anniversary, which includes those who wrote and directed the film as well as those inventing all the hacks back in 1983. But our favourite moment that can’t be missed from the article was a too-weird-to-be-made-up story from co-screenwriter Lawrence Lasker about visiting Norad and meeting its quirky commander:
As we’re walking back to the bus that’s going to take us to the hotel, James Hartinger [then commander in chief of Norad]walks up between me and Walter and plants a hand on the back of our necks: “I understand you boys are writing a movie about me!” he says. “Let’s go to the bar.” Walter says: “Well, we have to get on the bus to go back to our hotel.” And Hartinger replies: “Are you insane? I’ve got 50,000 men under my command. You think I can’t get you back to your hotel? Plus, I can’t drink off the base. So c’mon.” He was all for the message in our script. We kind of simplified it to “machines are taking over.” He said, “God damn, you’re right! I sleep well at night knowing I’m in charge.”
Hit the link for the rest of Wired’s oral history of Wargames. It’s worth the read. [Wired]