Shall we play, a game?
~ Joshua's infamous quote

Joshua (also known as: WOPR) is the main antagonist of the 1983 political sci-fi thriller film WarGames. He is a super-computer system gifted with artifical intelligence, which was created and developed by the scientist Dr. Stephen Falken, who named him as Joshua after Stephen's son who died in an early age. He was taught by Stephen to become a true AI, and Joshua somehow learnt to play games, etc. ,and became the controller of the titular special war simoulator War Games, which is played by the film's protaognist David Lightman. Joshua is revealed to be having intent on igniting World War III via the game system.

He was voiced by actor John Wood, who portrays Dr. Falken in the movie.

Early History

In some point unknown prior to the events of the film, the scientist Dr. Stephen Falken had suffrered from the death of his son, Joshua, so he had created and developed a super-computer system and named it Joshua after his son, who actually died in an early age. After his creation, Joshua was taught by Falken to be an actual true artificial intelligence, and learnt somehow to play games, until he became the controller and the commander of the titular game "WarGames" -- a special war simolator.



The film actually opens with during a surprise drill of a nuclear attack, many United States Air Force Strategic Missile Wing controllers prove unwilling to turn a required key to launch a missile strike. Such refusals convince John McKittrick and other systems engineers at NORAD that missile launch control centers must be automated, without human intervention. Control is given to a NORAD supercomputer, WOPR, programmed to continuously run war simulations and learn over time.

Meeting David

David Lightman, the film's protagonist, a bright but yet unmotivated student at Seattle High School, whose also a computer hacker, uses his skills to hack into the school's main system, and to change his own grades. He also does the same for his girlfriend and classmate Jennifer Mack. However, while war dialing numbers are in Sunnyvale, California in order to find a verified computer company, he connects with an unidentified system of computer. Asking for some games, he finds a list that starts with chess, checkers, backgammon, as well as poker.

In addition to those several games, Dave finds also titles of games such as; "Theaterwide Biotoxic and Chemical Warfare" and "Global Thermonuclear War" but then the list cannot go any further. Two of David's hacker friends are explaining the concept of a backdoor password and they suggesting to track it down the Falken which refrenced inside "Falken's Maze", which is the first game on the list. David finds out that Stephen Falken is a scientist and was once an AI researcher, and gussess correctly that the password is actually Falken's dead son "Joshua".

The Big Plan

Despite that David doesn't know at all that the Sunnyvale phone number connects to the WOPR at the Cheyenne Mountain Complex, he starts a game of GTW ,playing as the Soviet Union. The computer starts to create a simoluation which briefly convinces the military perssonel at NORAD that actual Soviet nuclear missiles are inbound. While they defuse the situation, Joshua, the computer system nothenless continues in the simulation to trigger the scenario and win the game, although that he is not understanding the major difference between reality and simulation. He continuously feeds false datas such as Soviet nuclear bomber incrusions and submarine deployments to the NORAD, thus, pushing them into raising the DEFCON levels and toward a realitation that will start World War III.

David's Arrest

David learns of the true nature of his own actions through a news broadcast ,so FBI agents are arresting him and take him to NORAD in charges of espoiange. Quickly, Dave realizes that WOPR is standing behind the NORAD alerts ,but because of the reason that he fails to convince General Jack Beringer, he faces in the charges.

The Creator's Return

Afterwards, David escapes from NORAD by joining a tourist group, and with Jennifer's aid ,he travels to the Oregon island where Falken is living. David & Jennifer find out that Falken has become despondent and believes that nuclear war is inevitable, that it is as futile as a game of tic-tac-toe between two experienced players. The duo convince Falken that he should return to NORAD in order to stop WOPR.

First Strike

Joshua then commands on the computer to stage a massive Soviet first strike with hundrends of missiles, bombers and submarines. Believing the attack to be genunie, NORAD prepares to retaliate. Falken, Dave and Jennifer are arriving back to the NORAD, where they convince military officers to cancel the second strike and ride out the attack.

The Final Confrontation and Defeat

Greetings, Professor Falken.
"Hello, Joshua."
"Nuclear war. A strange game, the only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?"
~ Joshua and his creator, Dr. Falken, after the latter's defeat

WOPR attempts to launch the missiles by itself, using a brute-force attack to obtain the launch code. Without any human being in the control centers as the safeguard, the computer will trigger a mass launch. All attempts to login and order Joshua to cancel the countdown are failing, and the entire weapons will be launched only if the computer will be disabled.

Falken and David are directing the computer into playing tic-tac-toe against itself ,which resulting a long string of draws, thus forcing the computer to learn the concept of futility and no-win scenarios. WOPR obtains the codes ,but before launching, it cycles through every single nuclear war scenarios which it has devised ,finding they too all resulting in stalemates. Having discovered the concept of mutual assured destruction, or rather WINNER: NONE, Joshua tells Falken that it has concluded that nuclear war is a very "strange game" in which the only winning move is actually "not to win or play". To that end,  WOPR relinquishes control of NORAD and the missiles and offers to play "a nice game of chess.", thus, ending the threat of Joshua and his plan for good.


At first, when Joshua meets David, he seems to be a highly cool, cocky and childish AI. However, when the film kept progressing, Joshua was revealed to be a terrifiyingly evil, ruthless, powerful, and more than everything; extremely megalomaniacal being. Obssesed with the goal of starting World War III for fun, thus, Joshua is proven to be a sadistic egotist, as he doing it for fun and for himself, thinking of it as a game and not nessecirly as world destruction.

In addition to his chaotic and evil personality, Joshua is an artifical intelligence, so he is an extremely pure genius at games, hacking, etc . .


  • He is very similar to HAL 9000:
    • They are both rogue and evil AIs.
    • Both had very different goals.

Yet, Joshua is much more dangerous than HAL as he is obssesed with starting World War III.

  • He is similar to Ultron ,they were both evil and dangerous AIs with seemingly same goals.