WarGames – a bit of nostalgia from the 80s

Occasionally, just occasionally, it seems that you can get an insight into what makes you tick. What has made you into the person you are. Some event, some experience that changed your way of thinking forever. Or at least, I can.

Today, keen to have a dose of nostalgia, I bought the DVD of "WarGames", a movie from way back in 1983. I haven’t been buying a lot of DVDs, because I’m trying to save my money. I’m sticking to a one-disc-a-month rule, although I didn’t buy one in June because May’s was an import, and was a bit above your average DVD price – and besides, it arrived in June. The video shop collection being what it is, I’m tending to make my purchases a bit more esoteric than just your average new release Hollywood stuff. Plus Josh
has lent me a few, two of which I still haven’t watched.

But I have finished watching WarGames. The plot has its flaws – there are some holes you could wheel a tape unit through. But I enjoyed watching it again for the nostalgia value. It brought back memories of the 80s… of Commodore 64s… of eight inch disks… of putting a notice on my bedroom door saying "This is a secure area"… and of waking up in the night, wondering what it would be like when a nuclear war came…

And yes, I think it did change my life in some ways. I know that it was around about that time that I first got really interested in computers. I don’t know if this movie initiated my interest, or just increased it, but watching it tonight, I certainly recalled going – I think twice – to see it in the cinema with my mate Merlin. He already had a computer at the time, and it was about then that I and a lot of our friends started to get them too.

From there, I evolved into a fully fledged geek. I kept with computers right through high school (including a few hacking attempts on the LAN, of course), aimed for the field at uni, and ultimately… well, here I am, working at it. So there you go.

The interesting things about this DVD are that it’s got subtitles in twelve languages, and it’s got sound tracks in five. The Spanish one is pretty funny – I’m probably not the best judge in the world of these things, but the woman doing Ally Sheedy’s voice sounds nothing like a teenager – instead she sounds like she’s probably middle aged.

And what’s with the rating – PG for "medium level violence and supernatural themes"?! What supernatural themes? What, the computer seems intelligent? Is that it? Dear oh dear.

Come to think of it… what violence?

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.