258: Everybody Dies in DEFCON

Everybody Dies in DEFCON

DEFCON took the odd premise of playing out a thermonuclear war that kills all human life on earth and made a damn fine strategy game. Jonathan Glover talks to Introversion four years after their apocalypse-inducing title resulted in so many human casualties.

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Woo! Introversion! I've been a fan of them ever since Uplink. I didn't care for Darwinia so much, but DEFCON was great again. I'm very happy to hear they're making another game. Should be interesting!

DEFCON is a marvellous game. It has a brutal simplicity and the subject matter is chilling. I feel wrong for playing it as you are killing millions of people with a single move. Chess is an abstraction of war where large units and brutal violence are boiled down to wooden pieces making their way across the board. You don't really think about the lives of the pawns as they die to protect your king as you don't see them as people. For me the chilling part of DEFCON is when you first realise that you've stopped seeing your cities as people to save, but numbers on a board.

Slightly off topic did anyone play the "Wargames" game? It was an RTS for the PC.

thenumberthirteen:
DEFCON is a marvellous game. It has a brutal simplicity and the subject matter is chilling. I feel wrong for playing it as you are killing millions of people with a single move. Chess is an abstraction of war where large units and brutal violence are boiled down to wooden pieces making their way across the board. You don't really think about the lives of the pawns as they die to protect your king as you don't see them as people. For me the chilling part of DEFCON is when you first realise that you've stopped seeing your cities as people to save, but numbers on a board.

You pretty much summed up my entire thoughts about this.
It's really chilling when you watch as a bombardment of about 60 missiles launched from your country strike down on America and South Africa.

I'm still to acquire any other Introversion games, but I've heard their other titles are absolutely brilliant.
EDIT: Also, the Escapist theme is really cool, just throwing that out there.

I think my most emotional gaming moment ever was with DEFCON.

I remember I was playing a game online, and I was getting thrashed. I finally let off a salvo of nukes on Europe, and killed 100 million people in one fell swoop.

"Woo!" I exclaimed. "I just killed 100 million people!"

That was swiftly replaced with the infinitely harrowing "Oh my god, I've just killed 100 million people..."

I felt bad for ages after that. No other game has done that.

Still, it's funny that Introversion's actually just 5 people.

Nice article.

Antiparticle:
Woo! Introversion! I've been a fan of them ever since Uplink. I didn't care for Darwinia so much, but DEFCON was great again. I'm very happy to hear they're making another game. Should be interesting!

Same here! Defcon was so awesome! I still play it every so often with friends!

A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?

This is a great game. Really makes you think when you play it.

Pretty chilling article. I've been thinking about getting Defcon for a while now, but I've always been lazy. I think I may hit the steam store now...

Dang this sounds cool. I should look for a copy... it's sold through Steam, right?

Brilliant game, shame I have been unable to join without massive latency at uni. For six months. Bye bye, skill.

Nice, DEFCON stuff. Great game, although people leaving is a problem.

Always thought it was a great idea, and I totally agree that aesthetically it hasn't aged a bit, both in visuals and audio.

But I never got very good at it. I think mostly because there's almost no sense of satisfaction for successfully killing a few more million people. This I guess marks the only game I've ever played that is interesting even though I don't really find it overly fun. The Children Of Men of games.

I have that game on my flash drive. Small, simple, fun...kinda scary thinking about ending the world

Welp. DEFCON is the most messed up RTS I've played so far.

Ive always had a soft spot in my gamer heart for DEFCON, despite the fact I suck immensely at it. Its just a beautiful game all the way through. The background music always gets me, the distant sound of a woman crying just evokes this haunting feeling.

I downloaded the DEFCON demo a while back on Steam. Reading this article was making me think of going ahead to buy the full game. Does this game have an active mutiplayer community? :o

Hmmm, might pick it up on Steam..

Well.....Never knew this game before. Thank You then Mr. Glover. I am currently forcing my weak ass connection to download the Demo.

This article is fantastically written! I especially enjoyed the overall build-up punctured by the 'DEFCON X' lines. It really encapsulated the spirit of DEFCON within the writing itself.

Well done, I hope to read more from you in future.

- HateDread

The thing that really sets the mood is the sight of your enemy (or yourself) covered in a green shroud as more nukes strike.

In the end you congratulate yourself for manage to contain 90% of that green shroud on you enemy's turf ... but then you realise ... like the radioactive clouds of Chernobyl, all it will take is the wind to blow it across the world to poison the Earth.

I still play it occasionally on my laptop at uni ... it is great for lectures ... of course the people behind you watching you play may think you're a little morbid.

Well, thanks to this I just bought DEFCON off of Steam. Not too many people were playing online, though. I'm gonna get tired of beating the AI soon. Maybe we should make a DEFCON Steam group...

The music and background sounds and the visuals really help with the mood. Especially the woman crying and the other people in the background.

God_of_badgers:
A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?

No, let's play Global Thermonuclear War.

Surprised nobody else caught it ;)

Must have watched it about 2 or 3 weeks ago.

Absolutely adore this game. Nicely written article. It's always a bit unnerving to see the city you're actually sitting in go up in a blaze of white on the screen. Nothing quite like it.

Yozozo:

God_of_badgers:
A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?

No, let's play Global Thermonuclear War.

Surprised nobody else caught it ;)

Must have watched it about 2 or 3 weeks ago.

I didn't see the comment but I expected something like it to be on here, ninja'd.

I loves me some Defcon. But I'd note the thread title's wrong (though grimly entertaining!)...few games I've played actually resulted in the total annihalation of the human race. In fact, the reality that SOMEONE would live (and that it would probably be whoever shot first) kept the idea of a "winnable nuclear war" going for decades.

poiuppx:
Dang this sounds cool. I should look for a copy... it's sold through Steam, right?

Yep and yep, want a copy now... how did i miss this when i came out...

Nice article about an underappreciated game. One of my friends got me to play DEFCON with him, and I've been hooked ever since. Any pub for it is a good thing.

However, although I hate to pick nits, on the first page? The past tense of 'rid' is 'rid'. 'Ridden' is the past tense of 'ride'.

Even six years later, this game and article hold up, nice writing!

 

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