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WarGames: Defcon 1

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WarGames: Defcon 1
European cover box
Developer(s)Interactive Studios
Publisher(s)MGM Interactive
Director(s)John Whigham
Richard Hackett
Producer(s)Robb Alvey
Jim Banting
Robert Rader
Sean Wilson
Designer(s)Leigh Griffiths
Satty Mann
Programmer(s)Ian Bird
Andrew Oliver
John Whigham
Richard Hackett
Artist(s)Stephen Thomson
Writer(s)John Badham
John Tarnoff
Composer(s)Tommy Tallarico
Fabian Del Priore
Platform(s)PlayStation, Windows
  • EU: June 1998 (PS)
  • NA: 29 July 1998[1][2]
  • EU: 21 August 1998 (PC)
Genre(s)Tactical shooter, Real-time strategy
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

WarGames: Defcon 1 (known simply as WarGames on PC) is a video game for the PlayStation and Microsoft Windows developed by Interactive Studios and co-published by MGM Interactive and Electronic Arts (in North America, MGM Interactive solely published the game). Although both versions possess the same missions and content, the PlayStation version is a tactical vehicle-shooting game while the PC version is a real-time strategy game (similar to Jeff Wayne's The War of the Worlds). The game is loosely based on the movie WarGames; the story was scripted by John Badham, director of the original film.[3]

PlayStation version[edit]

The player plays as NORAD or WOPR. The game takes place 20 years after the film: WOPR attempts to exterminate humanity and NORAD tries to stop it.[4] During a mission the player takes control of a vehicle and can change the controls of any vehicle the team has—for example, while NORAD has heavily armored and armed tanks and aircraft, WOPR possesses exotically futuristic mechs and hovercraft. Vehicles can recharge ammo by obtaining powers. The player can command their team to send resupply on ammos, repair damage units, attack, or follow the player's main vehicle.


WarGames: Defcon 1 features 2-player split screen VS. or Co-op.[5] The Co-op allows the players to play all single player levels with a partner. Unlike most multiplayer games, the screen is split diagonally.[5]

PC version[edit]

Unlike the PlayStation version, the PC version is a real-time strategy game,[6] in which the player can control different units at once. The missions are identical to the PlayStation version.

The electronic registration program included on the game CD contained the Marburg computer virus; playing the game would not cause the player's computer to be infected with the virus, but registering it electronically would.[7]


WarGames: Defcon 1 was one of the few strategy games of its time to not use a tile system, instead allowing troops to be place and moved freely across the landscape. Team leader John Whigham commented, "While this is of great benefit to the player and to the game in general, the programming nightmares it raises have given us more than one sleepless night over the last few months."[8] The game was showcased at E3 1997[9]


The PlayStation version received favourable reviews, while the PC version received average reviews, according to the review aggregation website GameRankings.[10][11] Next Generation called the former version "a fun romp that is, unfortunately, a bit on the short side. A two-player combat option alleviates this problem somewhat. The bottom line? If you have a second player handy, get it. If not, rent it – it makes for a good three-day weekend of fun";[26] and called the latter "a fairly competent and well-crafted game. It just doesn't take the genre in any new direction and feels like little more than a me-too effort."[25] Mark Kanarick of AllGame gave Defcon 1 two-and-a-half stars out of five, saying, "I like what MGM Interactive is trying to do in WarGames Defcon 1, but the game just seems to far out there for someone who is not a strategy/wargame enthusiast to grasp. I think it is enjoyable for those looking for a 'different' game, but there is nothing substantial here to warrant anything more than a rental."[30]


  1. ^ GamePro gave the PC version two 4/5 scores for graphics and sound, 2/5 for control, and 2.5/5 for overall fun factor.
  2. ^ GamePro gave the PlayStation version three 4.5 scores for graphics, sound, and control, and 4.5/5 for overall fun factor.


  1. ^ GameSpot staff (29 July 1998). "New Releases". GameSpot. Ziff Davis. Archived from the original on 28 January 1999. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  2. ^ Muldoon, Moira (31 July 1998). "videogames.com's Game Calendar [date mislabeled as "March 14, 2000"]". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on 21 April 1999. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  3. ^ "Sneak Previews: WarGames". GamePro. No. 114. IDG. March 1998. p. 64.
  4. ^ "WarGames: Defcon 1". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 104. Ziff Davis. March 1998. p. 60.
  5. ^ a b "WarGames: Defcon 1". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 106. Ziff Davis. May 1998. p. 47.
  6. ^ "In the Studio". Next Generation. No. 32. Imagine Media. August 1997. p. 19. MGM Interactive is the most recent publisher to catch the real-time strategy bug. ... A PlayStation strategy title of the same name is following, but will be distinctly different in design.
  7. ^ Bates, Jason (13 August 1998). "WarGames Plagued by Virus". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  8. ^ "NG Alphas: WarGames". Next Generation. No. 36. Imagine Media. December 1997. pp. 144–45. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  9. ^ Johnston, Chris (9 June 1997). "MGM's E3 Lineup". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 19 January 1998. Retrieved 26 July 2022.
  10. ^ a b "WarGames for PC". GameRankings. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on 9 June 2019. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  11. ^ a b "WarGames: Defcon 1 for PlayStation". GameRankings. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on 1 May 2019. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  12. ^ Rausch, Allen (23 July 1998). "WarGames". Gamecenter. CNET. Archived from the original on 16 August 2000. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  13. ^ Hunter, Scott (25 August 1998). "WarGames". Computer Games Strategy Plus. Strategy Plus, Inc. Archived from the original on 29 May 2003. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
  14. ^ Clarkson, Mark (November 1998). "Your Move–If You Want It (WarGames Review)" (PDF). Computer Gaming World. No. 172. Ziff Davis. p. 324. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
  15. ^ Edge staff (September 1998). "Wargames [sic] (PC)". Edge. No. 62. Future Publishing. p. 95. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  16. ^ Edge staff (August 1998). "Wargames [sic] (PS)". Edge. No. 61. Future Publishing. p. 96. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  17. ^ EGM staff (September 1998). "WarGames: Defcon 1". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 110. Ziff Davis.
  18. ^ "Wargames [sic]: Defcon 1". Game Informer. No. 65. FuncoLand. September 1998.
  19. ^ Boba Fatt (August 1998). "WarGames". GamePro. No. 119. IDG Entertainment. p. 87. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  20. ^ Boba Fatt (September 1998). "WarGames: Defcon 1 Review for PC on GamePro.com". GamePro. No. 120. IDG Entertainment. Archived from the original on 14 February 2005. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  21. ^ Hubble, Calvin (September 1998). "WarGames Review". GameRevolution. CraveOnline. Archived from the original on 10 September 2015. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  22. ^ Ryan, Michael E. (10 August 1998). "WarGames Review [date mislabeled as "May 2, 2000"]". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on 27 January 2005. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  23. ^ Gerstmann, Jeff (7 August 1998). "WarGames: Defcon 1 Review [date mislabeled as "May 2, 2000"]". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  24. ^ Bates, Jason (18 August 1998). "WarGames". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  25. ^ a b "WarGames". Next Generation. No. 46. Imagine Media. October 1998. p. 134. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  26. ^ a b "WarGames: Defcon 1". Next Generation. No. 46. Imagine Media. October 1998. p. 130. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  27. ^ "WarGames: Defcon 1". Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine. Vol. 1, no. 12. Ziff Davis. September 1998.
  28. ^ Lee, John (October 1998). "WarGames". PC Accelerator. No. 2. Imagine Media. p. 108. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  29. ^ McDonald, T. Liam (October 1998). "WarGames". PC Gamer. Vol. 5, no. 10. Imagine Media. pp. 204–5. Archived from the original on 10 December 1999. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
  30. ^ Kanarick, Mark. "WarGames: Defcon 1 - Review". AllGame. All Media Network. Archived from the original on 15 November 2014. Retrieved 30 March 2021.

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