Salad Saturday Screenshot [19]

This week its a cheerful old screenshot from a game called DEFCON.


I’ve had DEFCON for ages, and I mentioned I’d been playing it in a post pretty much exactly a year ago. It seems like I boot up DEFCON annually, just to remind myself of this cult classic.

I booted it up for my annual reminder a week or so ago, and here’s a screenshot from that play. I set up a game with 6 players. There was me (North America) and my ally (South America) in a three way versus against two blocks of Europe + Africa and the Soviet Union + Asia. A very crude and adjusted representation of the real Cold War – which is what DEFCON’s really getting at.

I sat there and waiting on the countdown to Armageddon as the DEFCON numbers rose and conflicts started escalating, those nuclear arsenals began their fuelling sequences. In a brutal 5 minutes of gameplay once we hit DEFCON 1 and the nukes were unleashed the teams laid waste to the planet in the name of ‘victory’.

This screenshot’s in the last few seconds, as my submarines hidden off the coast of South East Asia unleash their payloads of nukes, obliterating the pretty much defenceless mega-cities of Japan and China. Honestly, in this match that was about I had going for me. My South American ally got obliterated when they fired off their missiles too early against Africa’s western border – where they seemed to have all their anti-missile batteries. It was an uphill fight for us from there really.

My spamming of the coasts of Japan and China was just the icing on the cake of the total defeat of the Soviet Union and Asia though, with just a few of their cities having any survivors at all. The unlikely winners were Europe and Africa, with Africa in particular coming off with hardly any casualties.

Every game of DEFCON is a different one, and yet not at the same time. Over half of the world’s 7 billion people were dead. The world that was left for those few survivors was ravaged by the high radiation of the hundreds of nukes that had been fired in the exchanges. Was the world the ‘winners’ had won control over really one you’d even want to live on? If you ask me, that isn’t a victory at all.

DEFCON’s a game that makes you think for all it’s fun clinical depiction of megalomaniacal destruction. I’ll always recommend it!

Digital Salad –


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