The Guff


In The Pile on April 2, 2011 at 6:43 pm

“A strange game, the only winning move is not to play” – WOPR (War Operation Plan Response), WarGames 1983 – the concluding statement offered by the machine on the nature of nuclear warfare.


A friend of mine was kind enough to lend me his copy of the 1983 classic ‘WarGames‘, albeit a French version. I’m a sucker for old-school tech films like this, Tron and even Back To The Future – it amazes me when I see how far technology (namely computers) have advanced within such a short space of time. We’ve progressed from using our phones to dial into the Internet to expecting the Internet on our phones within a few decades. It’s astounding. But when I stopped reminiscing about 200 MB hardrives and dial-up Internet for a moment, WarGames had a slightly more relevant message to remind me of.

There are some many games in life that are better off unplayed.

Now, I concede  the majority of life’s problems aren’t as manic, insane or complex as nuclear warfare; yet I think we can all learn something from WOPR’s statement. I’ll be the first to admit I play with fire far too often;  i’ve got the ugly burns to show for it. At times I feel kinda similar to WOPR – playing the same jinxed games repeatedly, hoping for different results. I’m pretty stupid like that. But here’s hoping that also like WOPR, i’ll one day be able to learn my lesson.

I’m much more fortunate than WOPR though: my decisions don’t decide the details of nuclear war, my scales are much smaller and my fallout less catastrophic. I don’t even need to bother my head about ‘acceptable loses’. I’ve still got room to play with.

Here’s hoping, for me and humanity.


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