DEFCON review

  • Killing millions of civilians
  • Taking down incoming nukes
  • Watching your nukes explode
  • Tiny pangs of guilt
  • Being picked on by others
  • Having to learn so much

Remember WarGames? That '80s film where Matthew Broderick plays a school kid who inadvertently hacks into the US military's defense mainframe and plays a game of Global Thermonuclear War? DEFCON is that game in all but name: a world map in glowing outline, showers of vector-graphics warheads arcing between superpowers, and the silhouettes of subs creeping ominously across international waters.

The war plays out in silence but for a ghostly soundtrack of unsettlingly off-key tones, coughing and soft sobbing, and a low rumble each time a nuclear ICBM stains the map with a white disc of lethal radiation. Popup text announces the millions dead. It's slow, dark and sinister.

The point of WarGames was that nuclear war is unwinnable, that every aggressor incurs unacceptable losses. The point of DEFCON is to do it anyway, and inflict even less acceptable losses on your friends (online or LAN) or the AI (an acceptable punching bag for training, but no more).

A game with more than two players quickly becomes an extinction-level event for the human race. The winner is the player who causes the most civilian casualties and incurs least himself, with the emphasis placed firmly on the former: two points for every million killed, minus one for every million lost.

In DEFCON's artistically licensed rebalancing, the modern world is dominated by six equal superpowers: North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Russia and Asia. The conflict escalates through the five DEFCON stages.

More Info

Release date: Sep 29 2006 - PC (US)
Available Platforms: PC
Genre: Strategy
Published by: Steam
Developed by: Introversion Software
ESRB Rating:
Rating Pending


  • ThatFanInThePeacoat - November 22, 2011 3:30 p.m.

    I just got this game in the latest Humble deal. It's a blast (crappy pun intended). I love how dark it is. Every time a city is lost, the number of civilian casualties pops up (eg. 10.4 M dead), which reminds me of Herman Kahn's talk of how the 9 Megadeaths that would result from NYC being hit is a relatively small amount.
  • JohnyApplesperm - May 13, 2010 3:36 a.m.

    I Love This Game. not enough players tho...
  • baldwarfury - February 19, 2010 4:21 a.m.

    I hate the guilt of failing to save one of your cities.Makes me want to got to a corner cry a little.
  • wasup44 - June 23, 2009 2:17 a.m.

    i do not like this game...first

Showing 1-4 of 4 comments

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