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The only winning move...
October 2, 2006 5:46 PM   Subscribe

DEFCON, based off the real alert levels (and Wargames), is a game about killing innocent civilians.
posted by pantsrobot (60 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
And it will soon be ported to Macintosh by Ambrosia Software. (Disclosure: I moderate their forums.)
posted by Captaintripps at 5:51 PM on October 2, 2006


Ah excellent, this game is way too much fun. It has a "speed" mode if you don't want to bother waiting for nukes to land in realtime, but it's also possibly the most stressful game I've ever played
posted by pantsrobot at 5:53 PM on October 2, 2006


How about a nice game of chess?
posted by brain_drain at 5:56 PM on October 2, 2006


it's basically exactly the game you imagined, back in the 1980s, when WOPR asked if you wanted to play Global Thermonuclear War. I've only played a couple times, as they've been working out Steam issues, but it's both elegant and subtle.

After the first nukes hit, the background music changes, and becomes much more somber. They don't treat it lightly or with humor. If anything, it's a bit clinical and detached, very understated, yet slightly horrifying on some level.

It's both a good game AND a way to send a chill or two down your spine.

My read of the FPP's wording is that the poster disapproves of this game, but I can't imagine a better way to spread the message that nuclear weapons are bad. Seriously. A couple plays through this thing should have anyone with any empathy at all thoroughly convinced.

But that's an after-effect. During the game it's just fun blowing stuff up. :)
posted by Malor at 5:57 PM on October 2, 2006


Buy now.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 5:59 PM on October 2, 2006


If you're interested in buying it, btw, it's $15 via Steam... you don't even have to visit a store. Electronic delivery. It's a little more if you order a CD from the manufacturer, Introversion.

They've done two other excellent games; Uplink, which was phenomenal at the time, but is showing its age a bit now, and Darwinia, which was a seriously kickass (although short) game from last year. These guys do GREAT work.
posted by Malor at 6:01 PM on October 2, 2006


Ah, a Steam game? I bought Half-Life 2 but considering that something on my system didn't like Steam or vice versa and I had to go digging in warez groups just to play a game I bought, I guess I shouldn't even bother trying. Looks neat though.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 6:03 PM on October 2, 2006


Looking at their screenshots, it looks like they're combining the spare, single-screen graphics of their "Uplink" with the gorgeous lighting and color effects of "Darwinia." It's certainly the prettiest global murder simulator I've ever layed eyes on.
posted by Iridic at 6:03 PM on October 2, 2006


Oh! Cool! A new name from the Darwinia guys!
posted by brundlefly at 6:07 PM on October 2, 2006


My read of the FPP's wording is that the poster disapproves of this game,
No no no no no no no. This game is fantastic.
posted by pantsrobot at 6:10 PM on October 2, 2006


just bitter after losing 58 million people :)
posted by pantsrobot at 6:11 PM on October 2, 2006


I second the strong recommendation of Uplink and Darwinia. These guys are indie game geniuses.
posted by TonyRobots at 6:19 PM on October 2, 2006


The game is available via Steam or via digital download from Introversion Software (although the Steam version costs less). The pre-order price on Steam was $9.95, which I can definitely agree with. (Steam rocks as far as I'm concerned -- but I've never had any problems at all with it.)

About a week ago, the pre-buzz on Defcon encouraged me to check out Darwinia, which I'd heard of but knew almost nothing about. What a fantastic little game that is. (It's hard to describe, but think "Cannon Fodder" + "Lemmings" with an artificial-life theme.)
posted by neckro23 at 6:24 PM on October 2, 2006


Missile Command—now with death toll!
posted by Merlyn at 6:27 PM on October 2, 2006


Shall. We. Play. A. Game?
posted by zardoz at 6:30 PM on October 2, 2006


"A strange game. The only winning move is not to play."
posted by Iridic at 6:41 PM on October 2, 2006


I love this game. Played a friend 1v1 last night and was totally obliterated, but not before I killed 22 million in Mexico and S America. Yay for nuclear apocalypse!!

I'm so excited it's being ported by Ambrosia. Will it be playable cross-platform multiplayer?
posted by blastrid at 7:00 PM on October 2, 2006


"I can't imagine a better way to spread the message that nuclear weapons are bad."

*blink*

People actually have to be told this?
posted by ZachsMind at 7:20 PM on October 2, 2006


sweet, hadn't realised this had been released! it is just a tad depressing though, especially when cities you either have family in or are in get nuked.

I had to laugh when I was clicking around during the endgame to make sure I hadn't left any nukes unused. I like my apocalypses bleak as fuck. can't leave any alive.
posted by 6am at 7:50 PM on October 2, 2006


Such a creepy game. As the globe descends into nuclear obliteration, a woman sobs quietly in the background. Someone recites the lords prayer through a distorted comm channel. The exploding bombs make a soft rumbling sound as millions die.

CREEEEPY.
posted by tomble at 7:53 PM on October 2, 2006


I have always wanted to play this game.
posted by phrontist at 8:00 PM on October 2, 2006


Bought and have spent many hours in Uplink. Hate Steam. Buying as soon as I get off work. Damn them, damn them to hell for borking up my budget...
posted by Samizdata at 8:02 PM on October 2, 2006


Reminds me of the old ANSI bbs door Global Thermonuclear War, which, yes, was a ripoff of the one in wargames. Nuke sims are one of the oldest gametypes.

Any other mac users trying to run this under parallels? It's a total dog for me.
posted by butterstick at 8:27 PM on October 2, 2006


Anyone remember Theatre Europe on the C64? You had to dial an IRL phone number for the password to perform a nuclear strike. You would hear babies crying and then the V/O would say, "if this is what you really want, the password is 'MIDNIGHT SUN'." Or something like that.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:30 PM on October 2, 2006


Reminds me of the old Apple ][ game NORAD, in which you attempted to defend US cities from Russian missiles. You couldn't actually bomb them, as I recall, and the game inevitably ended in devastation and horror.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 8:44 PM on October 2, 2006



posted by Eideteker at 8:52 PM on October 2, 2006


So now we're equating nukes with nipples?

Okay, I'm in.
posted by Captaintripps at 8:54 PM on October 2, 2006


I think I finally found a reason to use the SVGA input on my new ginormous teevee.

I just gotta figure out how to explain the NORAD sim that is the living room to my girlfriend...
posted by butterstick at 9:09 PM on October 2, 2006


It's rather good (if hard).
posted by greycap at 11:13 PM on October 2, 2006


Sigh. Killing zombies is fine, even destroying cities in SimCity with giant robots was kinda neat. But this... very creepy, very sad. Very depersonalized, too.

I wonder if some boys play games of annihilation because they feel jealous that they can't 'give' life through the process of giving birth - so they take life away instead through destruction instead of creation. It's another spin on the idea of 'war as menstrual envy'. Too bad, because boys do a great disservice to the sane men out there who don't get off on annihilation.
posted by rmm at 11:45 PM on October 2, 2006


Looks cool. If it's half as good as Darwinia was I'll be pleased, especially for $10.
posted by aerotive at 11:51 PM on October 2, 2006


RMM--you're way overanalyzing.
posted by aerotive at 12:05 AM on October 3, 2006


Well, we all know that no women play games, right?
posted by influx at 12:20 AM on October 3, 2006


I really suck at global warfare.
posted by ryoshu at 12:27 AM on October 3, 2006


Do I get to have sex with Ally Sheedy!?
posted by tkchrist at 12:30 AM on October 3, 2006


Well. I know that women only play World of Warcraft because they wish they had penises, so maybe rmm is on to something.

Well. Penises and pointy ears.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 12:49 AM on October 3, 2006


Eeeh. Spent a good chunk of the weekend at the peace memorial museum in Hiroshima. Going to have to pass this up. I love video games of all kinds, but this will truly make me sick.
posted by dreamsign at 2:12 AM on October 3, 2006


I remember feeling physically ill the first time an enemy (I think it was the French) nuked one of my cities in Civ 2... There was something about the siren, then the pause, then the little mushroom cloud gathering above the millions of dead... From that point on I refused to ever build or use nukes in any similar game. Hell, when I played MoO2 I always invaded their planets instead of bombing them, even if they were klackons.

So as much as I like the sound of this game, I won't play it.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 2:59 AM on October 3, 2006


After playing Darwinia, I've been an Introversion software die-hard. I'm currently killing hours upon hours with Uplink, which is really just a single windowed interface. And now DEFCON, which is the same deal.

And it works. I'd submit that in terms of creepiness, DEFCON and its crying women and static/Lord's Prayer combo beats Doom 3 in all its rendered glory.

Keep your fancy graphics. Give me something I can use my brain on.
posted by quite unimportant at 4:05 AM on October 3, 2006


Self link, but you guys might appreciate this. Defcon setup large.



And for the record, this game is really good.
posted by Lord_Pall at 5:29 AM on October 3, 2006


i suck at the internet. Try

THIS
posted by Lord_Pall at 5:29 AM on October 3, 2006


Who remembers "Do you have change for 10,000,000 people?"
posted by eriko at 5:37 AM on October 3, 2006


This game makes me very, very afraid of the concept of SDI.
posted by empath at 6:10 AM on October 3, 2006


Lord Pall: now you just need actors that act busy and work at consoles full of buttons and lights and you have your personal NORAD!
posted by darkripper at 7:40 AM on October 3, 2006


Eschaton, for sure.
posted by Dr.James.Orin.Incandenza at 8:11 AM on October 3, 2006


rmm: Too bad, because boys do a great disservice to the sane men out there who don't get off on annihilation.

Except there's no annihilation, because it's a game. People play games because they are fun, not for whatever dime-store pyschobabble people come up with.
posted by spaltavian at 8:30 AM on October 3, 2006


I wonder if some boys play games of annihilation because they feel jealous that they can't 'give' life through the process of giving birth - so they take life away instead through destruction instead of creation. It's another spin on the idea of 'war as menstrual envy'. Too bad, because boys do a great disservice to the sane men out there who don't get off on annihilation.

When the revolution ushers in a new era of peace and tranquility for all mankind - we're going to pull your legs off just for kicks.
posted by vbfg at 9:47 AM on October 3, 2006


Hmmm....if they could only bridge it into the lose-game scenario of "Balance of Power"...
posted by Ogre Lawless at 10:03 AM on October 3, 2006


Am I the only one who thinks that having babies is overrated anyways?
posted by Bageena at 10:15 AM on October 3, 2006


Eriko : I remember saying that. I can't for the life of me remember the name of the game, but playing it as a drinking game was always entertaining.
posted by fnord at 10:18 AM on October 3, 2006


Creepy, creepy game. Especially in how cold everything is. The demo was pretty well done.
posted by grouse at 11:26 AM on October 3, 2006


I bought this game. It rocks. Just sayin'.
posted by kalessin at 11:58 AM on October 3, 2006


gaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh where were you 8 months ago when i had to write a grad paper on this idiot shit!?
posted by Doorstop at 12:44 PM on October 3, 2006


It looks cool, but I wonder if it's just Balance of Power with better graphics (which would be cool, because Balance of Power was a fun, if frustrating, game).
posted by bardic at 12:48 PM on October 3, 2006


Or what Ogre Lawless said.
posted by bardic at 12:48 PM on October 3, 2006


My husband showed me this game a few days ago. I was creeped out by the music, but he was very much in favor of it.

I also said (of the population loss counter) that it reminded me of Nuclear Proliferation*. So, yes, eriko, I totally remember.

--
*Could have also been Nuclear Escalation or plain old Nuclear War.
posted by parilous at 1:10 PM on October 3, 2006


"I wonder if some boys play games of annihilation because they feel jealous that they can't 'give' life through the process of giving birth - so they take life away instead through destruction instead of creation. It's another spin on the idea of 'war as menstrual envy'."

"Yeah! That must be why men produce so many great works of art - it's a counterfeit of the female reproductive process! Whereas women, being fertile, have already satiated that creative drive, leaving them with hacks like Angelou."

I think DEFCON is very cool, as a political statement as much as a game. This link get the plus.
posted by kid ichorous at 1:26 PM on October 3, 2006


blastrid: On cross-platform, multi-player, my ASW magic eight ball says all signs point to yes (though it won't confirm or deny that this is so).
posted by Captaintripps at 2:30 PM on October 3, 2006


This post made me download the demo. Gameplay and music and whatever everyone's mentioned is fine, but the programming's crap. I haven't managed to complete an online game without getting dropped, my video card crashing, etc. For a 2-D game it's awfully subject to graphical slowdowns, and for some reason you sometimes download 15-30 seconds worth of data when you join a game (that's not started, so there's nothing to download.)
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 7:50 PM on October 4, 2006


Bardic: I wonder if it's just Balance of Power with better graphics

I used to love all kind of BoP, but this is pretty different. As someone mentioned upthread, it's what happens at the end of BoP when you lose hard. The gameplay is like an accelerating game of chess, as you descend through the DefCon levels over the course of about 3-5 hours of gametime. You basically position and execute massive 80s nightmare Global Thermonuclear War - no manufacture, no avoiding war, just set up your subs and radars and watch the end of the world.

It's probably one of the best games I've played in a while, and absolutely one of the most unsettling ever.
posted by freebird at 12:05 AM on October 9, 2006


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