Disney’s first big foray into the realm of computer animation would prove to be a box office disappoiuntmen in 1982, but garner a legion of fans over the years for its revolutionary design work and the influence it still continue to have in science fiction today. Jeff Bridges stars as Kevin Flynn, video game programmer, who is ripped off of several ideas by an unscrupulous power hungry man named Ed Dillinger. Dillinger soon starts a meteoric rise to the top of a powerful global corporation, Encom, while the computer that runs it has become so powerful that it is a life-force unto itself, thinking and talking (not to mention plotting world domination). Flynn tries to hack into the computer to get evidence of Dillinger’s theft, when the Master Control Program sucks Flynn into its own cyber-world, dubbed “the grid”, where programs in the voice and form of the programmers that created them are mere toys by which Master Control Program uses for its own enjoyment. Bruce Boxleitner, Cindy Morgan and David Warner also star in this film by Steven Lisberger.
Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy star in this major hit from 1983, one of the first films to break through into the world of hacking and the burgeoning internet, WarGames. Directed by John Badham, this tells the tale of a teenager who hacks into a database he thinks will allow him to play a not-yet-released video game only to discover he’s in a machine used by the military to launch nuclear missiles in a time of crisis. The computer has games of its own, one called “Global Thermonuclear War”, but the teenager soon discovers that the game may not be a game after all, and the fate of the world hangs in the balance, as the military brass must decide to counterattack what might be a simulation.