Update, 11/29/20: It’s a very different Thanksgiving weekend here in 2020, but even if tables were smaller and travel non-existent, Ars staff is off for the holiday in order to recharge, take a mental afk break, and maybe stream a movie or five. But five years ago around this time, we were following a newly declassified government report from 1990 that outlined a KGB computer model… one that almost pulled a WarGames, just IRL. With the film now streaming on Netflix (thus setting our off day schedule), we thought we’d resurface this story for an accompanying Sunday read. This piece first published on November 25, 2015, and it appears unchanged below.
“Let’s play Global Thermonuclear War.”
Thirty-two years ago, just months after the release of the movie WarGames, the world came the closest it ever has to nuclear Armageddon. In the movie version of a global near-death