At the NORAD control center, David (Matthew Broderick) tricks the WOPR into playing test scenarios of global thermonuclear war by having it first play tic-tac-toe over and over. The hidden program called "Joshua" (which no one at NORAD believes exists) is within WOPR. Joshua makes the connection between the no-win finales of tic-tac-toe and the no-win situations of all the global thermonuclear war scenarios. The Joshua program shuts down the countdown to launching the missiles for the real air strike. The final message from Joshua which appears to all on the overhead screen:
"Greetings Professor Falken. A strange game.
The only winning move is not to play.
How about a nice game of chess."
Professor Falken (John Wood), Joshua's proud papa and programmer, grins proudly as he realizes his creation finally discovered futility. Falken had named the program after his only son who years earlier had been killed in a car crash with Falken's wife. All power and security protocols are given back to the NORAD personnel and World War III is averted.
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