WarGames: The Dead Code is a 2008 sequel to the 1983 thriller film WarGames. It was written by Randall M. Badat and Rob Kerchner and was directed by Stuart Gillard. Production began on November 20, 2006 in Montreal, and the film was released on DVD on July 29, 2008.
According to MGM's original press release, the film is budgeted as one in a series of direct-to-DVD sequels
Computer whiz kid Will Farmer's (Matt Lanter) neighbor Massaude comes to Will having a problem with his computer. Will takes the computer and hooks his own up to it and discovers that Massaude's brother is using his online banking to make huge profits. Since he needs $550 to go on a chess trip, Will steals $500 from Massaude's account to gamble on an online gaming site that uses games that are based on terrorist attacks. Will later discovers that his best friend Dennis changes it to $5000.
He ends up winning $25,000, with the aid of his mother, who knows about biological agents. Little does he know that the online game he plays is actually part of a sophisticated piece of U.S. government spyware designed to find potential terrorists based on how well they perform and bet on the games. The spyware program is run by a new, advanced artificial intelligence system called R.I.P.L.E.Y., which has ultimate control over every American electronic system in order to combat terrorism.
Homeland Security, now believing Farmer to be a terrorist, sets out to apprehend him. During Will's return home one day he finds Massaude is being arrested on account of suspected terrorism, and gives Will an envelope full of cash as payment, which he uses to finance his trip. Unknown to him and Homeland Security, R.I.P.L.E.Y. is misinterpreting the data and is overreacting to the situation. On his arrival to the airport, he finds that there is an abnormally large number of security guards. He manages to slip away and meets up with his friend Annie.
In the streets, he manages to crack the government network, only to be found by the police, and as Annie pointed out, a man in an overcoat. The cops chase the couple until they get lost in the subway systems. Will manages to find a way out, and they meet the man who was watching them from the doorway, he says that he nearly started World War III, and to meet them at his truck. He is revealed to be Professor Falken, who had helped design R.I.P.L.E.Y. They travel to a small power plant outside a dam (during the trip, Will and Professor talk about the sensitive points of the past of each one, revealed before the trip to the power plant), where the professor shows them a dilapidated computer called W.O.P.R. (War Operation Plan Response) from the original WarGames film, which is operating the power grid at only 5% of its potential efficiency.
Professor Falken had designed this computer to aid in the planning of a global thermonuclear war if it was needed. Falken re-activates W.O.P.R. with his backdoor password "Joshua" (the name of Falken's deceased son as well as the name the professor uses to refer to the A.I. that is W.O.P.R.). Meanwhile, R.I.P.L.E.Y. is led to believe that Philadelphia has been hit by a bioterrorist attack and decides to halt the spread of the bioweapon by hijacking a Predator drone with missiles and a nuclear warhead on board and use it to destroy the city.
Falken instructs Joshua to attack R.I.P.L.E.Y. with a faux script full of cultural references. Joshua starts flooding R.I.P.L.E.Y.'s system with games, which seem to be overloading the system, but then R.I.P.L.E.Y. shuts down and reboots to successfully rid herself of the games.
Rebooted, R.I.P.L.E.Y. redirects the Predator drone, which she uses to destroy the facility housing Joshua. Joshua warns the professor that R.I.P.L.E.Y.'s advancing attack would result in obliteration; so Will and Annie flee the facility just before it gets blown up by the drone's missile, with the professor, who was dying from pancreatic cancer remaining in the building at the time, last seen typing extremely fast, finishing with something that looks like an "Enter", and saying "Goodbye, Joshua".
The couple is arrested by Homeland Security and taken to the room where R.I.P.L.E.Y. is stored, only to find that she has taken control over the system, and they discover that Professor Falken has transferred Joshua via an email to them to help them stop R.I.P.L.E.Y. They first try to use W.O.P.R. and internet users to stage a denial of service attack, which causes R.I.P.L.E.Y. to overload. R.I.P.L.E.Y., knowing that she has been compromised by W.O.P.R., decides to self destruct by launching a nuclear warhead at Washington D.C.. Annie remembers a chess game known as "Suicide Chess" where if you win you lose. Will programs W.O.P.R. to play Russian Roulette, where the goal is to lose as opposed to winning.
They again pit W.O.P.R. against R.I.P.L.E.Y. by granting him access to one of six American nuclear launch codes. R.I.P.L.E.Y. and W.O.P.R. play through two nuclear attack scenarios both resulting in total annihilation; however, the codes for those missiles are unavailable. The third scenario presented is a nuclear attack on Washington D.C. Having learned the concept of futility presented by playing a game where if you win you die, R.I.P.L.E.Y. stops responding after the scenario is played out, also resulting in total annihilation, and the weapon is available. Joshua asks if they are still playing at which point she says "A strange game. The only winning move is not to play", just as Joshua had said at the end of the original film after learning how to play Tic-Tac-Toe.
After R.I.P.L.E.Y. relinquishes control, Will asks W.O.P.R. if he really would have launched the missiles if R.I.P.L.E.Y. had decided to continue playing. W.O.P.R. replies that he would have, and that humanity is doomed, before revealing that he was merely joking.