Ludum Dare 31 — December 5th-8th, 2014 — Theme: Entire Game on One Screen

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Thermonuclear War

by panda - Compo Entry

You race to the computer room, but you’re too late: the launch sequence for the nuclear missiles has already been initiated! As the numbers count down on the screen, you randomly try pressing buttons. And there, miracle! The computer responds.

To win, you have to hack the system to prevent global thermonuclear war.

Oh, there’s one little challenge: the screen doesn’t scroll. Once you get to the bottom, you’re stuck and that’s the end of it. You only have one screen.

Good luck!

The game has three levels, each deeper than the previous one. You can click on the bottom-left text to change the level.

P.S. Just in case someone is stuck and wants the extra help, I have posted a walkthrough for level 3 here:

edit: I put up a post-compo version that has much requested features: scrolling and tab completion! Yay! Tab completion only works on Firefox, other browsers seem not to forward the "tab" key to my code. Suggestions welcome! Play it at:

Downloads and Links




johnbrynte says ...
Dec 8, 2014 @ 2:39am

Fun concept! Would have been nice if it was complete with alarm sounds or stressful music to really get into character! :)

kraln says ...
Dec 8, 2014 @ 2:40am

Let's play a game of thermonuclear war. I'm not sure how I was supposed to guess the password for the first launch computer, the TODO file lied...

panda says ...
Dec 8, 2014 @ 2:45am

kraln, the todo file didn't lie, it was just talking about a different computer. Anna isn't the one in charge of the launch computer.

This brings up a question... would it be helpful for the judging if I included a walkthrough?

panda says ...
Dec 8, 2014 @ 2:55am

stressful sounds and music are a good idea! I may add those post-compo.

PentaHelix says ...
Dec 8, 2014 @ 3:15am

Engaging game, but hard to get started

srakowski says ...
Dec 8, 2014 @ 3:16am

Fun stuff, reached the end of the screen before I could get the password in there (after deducing it!). :) Well done.

Phaax says ...
Dec 8, 2014 @ 3:16am

Haha! This was a neat game. :) Is it running GlaDOS?

Fanttum says ...
Dec 8, 2014 @ 3:16am

Really cool idea and some great mood. I'm just not very good at it, haha.

Muffinhat says ...
Dec 8, 2014 @ 3:16am

I enjoy the whole non-explanatory part of the game.

ehtd says ...
Dec 8, 2014 @ 3:21am

Really cool game, very unique entry

panda says ...
Dec 8, 2014 @ 3:33am

Thank you all! Don't worry if you can't win before you reach the end of the screen: you can reload and use what you learned to get further! That's pretty much the expected way to play.

ohmmus says ...
Dec 8, 2014 @ 3:37am

<3 <3 <3 such a awesome concept! great work! I felt like a real hacker =p

ming_tea says ...
Dec 8, 2014 @ 3:51am

Great game, and great use of the theme.

indiglo963 says ...
Dec 8, 2014 @ 4:26am

despite my difficulties, it was a such funny game, the controls are simple and works really good. The "history" was a little cliche, but justifies perfectly the gameplay.

Rundrop says ...
Dec 8, 2014 @ 4:34am

Love it

Dec 8, 2014 @ 10:10am

Very fun little game! (SPOILER ALERT) Lovely how you have to use the intern, lots of humour and good fun.

ilikescifi says ...
Dec 8, 2014 @ 11:54am

Aaa I know this name from somewhere :) Great stuff!

Dec 8, 2014 @ 3:43pm

BTW, my game is also a terminal game, but a different take on it. Feel free to check it out :-)

Dec 8, 2014 @ 8:57pm

Coool game! It's so engaging but i can't get past the first level... I'm thinking of cheating

psychomonster says ...
Dec 8, 2014 @ 9:19pm

Very funny puzzlegame. Love how you motivate the player to try more than one time. Passed level one :) Nice game... will try level 2 now :D

hypnoticbytes says ...
Dec 9, 2014 @ 12:10am

Nice use of the theme. Very fun game. Nice work!

adrianulima says ...
Dec 9, 2014 @ 12:11am

I like the concept and how you used the theme..

error031 says ...
Dec 9, 2014 @ 4:08am

Very interesting idea, similar to old hacking games. Good one!

JFern says ...
Dec 9, 2014 @ 7:11am

Very cool, definitely spent way too much time playing this through haha. Would be nice to build some ambience with the timer counting down

stalker1586 says ...
Dec 9, 2014 @ 7:11am

Wow! I liked it! You have to think fast! But i shited my pants out, because you have no music, but then wining that loud clapping made my pants dirty!

pixzleone says ...
Dec 9, 2014 @ 7:12am

I really felt like a hacker! Very cool!
Maybe music next time?

mrexcessive says ...
Dec 9, 2014 @ 10:19am

Hi there. Interesting idea, always liked exploring unknown OS'. However the screen limit is annoying, means you need to keep replaying - not a fan of that with text games. Good mood.

Blobby101 says ...
Dec 9, 2014 @ 2:58pm

Very nice! I really like the way you have to remember what you've learned over several tries to complete each level. Got stuck on level 3 though, the file and computer lists don't update when the backup comes online or when the attachment is downloaded from the email, so I wasn't sure what to do next. Great start though!

Igor KinGamer says ...
Dec 9, 2014 @ 4:38pm

Finally won level 3! I was almost winning, but in the last seconds wrote the wrong command and lost! XD Sure then I won, but it would have been more exciting to won in the last seconds... hahaha
Very nice game ;)

spacedoubt says ...
Dec 9, 2014 @ 6:21pm

Simple and fun! Well done!

Arkrothe says ...
Dec 9, 2014 @ 6:37pm

Quite clever and innovative! 3rd level is a too tough for me :| Can't figure out how to connect to the backup_launch_computer

Mr MadCat says ...
Dec 9, 2014 @ 9:40pm

Cool idea. The concept is really awesome. It felt a bit repetitive/trial and error to just go through everything and try every option, since there was no real death penalty. ALthough I can't think of a good one I must admit.
One of the best games I have played so far this LD.

hexagore says ...
Dec 9, 2014 @ 10:33pm

Now I've played this I'm sort of disappointed there aren't more text adventures in this competition.

panda says ...
Dec 9, 2014 @ 11:24pm

Thank you everyone for all the compliments! I'm touched :)

panda says ...
Dec 9, 2014 @ 11:29pm

@Blobby101 the attachment's already on the disk (it was downloaded by the intern earlier) so you don't have to do anything.

Blobby101 says ...
Dec 10, 2014 @ 12:35am

Ah, I see, thanks!

Still must be doing something wrong though...

Grouflon says ...
Dec 10, 2014 @ 12:50am

Loved everything about you gamed except that over frustrating screen limit. I think that the time limit is achieves the same goal in term of game design, but without the frustration of having to start all over again every 2 minutes. Nonetheless, probably the best entry I've played so far, good job :]

panda says ...
Dec 10, 2014 @ 1:20am

@blobby, that text's cut off the screen, you can't scroll? That's weird. On my computer I can scroll to read the whole text (it just says that the missiles are firing, game over).

If you feel stuck, I posted a walkthrough for level 3 here:

Larry says ...
Dec 10, 2014 @ 4:24pm

Definitely interesting game. A small nitpick is the text can go off the screen if you type help on the bottom of the screen. It's too bad the terminal doesn't support tab completion.

personalurban says ...
Dec 10, 2014 @ 8:54pm

ha ha, I tried tabbing too, as well as hitting up to repeat the previous command! Nice, I liked it, quick bit of fun well executed

JoshuaBurr says ...
Dec 11, 2014 @ 1:46am

I love the concept of this, I had a lot of fun playing it. I got stuck on level 3. I started to feel like I was a hacker! I think it would have been better without the one-screen restriction and maybe even without the time limit, It was kind of annoying to have to start again all the time. One of my favourite entries so far.

alfadur says ...
Dec 11, 2014 @ 6:29am

Nice hacking puzzle! I didn't feel the single screen limitation to be really encumbering, more of a reason to think twice before entering a command. :)

mrhill says ...
Dec 11, 2014 @ 3:13pm

Oh what a fun game, very original :-D

mrhill says ...
Dec 11, 2014 @ 3:14pm

Great game

panda says ...
Dec 12, 2014 @ 5:11am

@peronalurban, I added support for "up" just for you! It's in the post-compo version.

PixelOcelot says ...
Dec 12, 2014 @ 1:25pm

I can't rate it, but this is awesome game! Great job!

Hendri says ...
Dec 12, 2014 @ 9:23pm

Awesome game. The most frustrating part is when I make a typo and have to start again.

Dans17 says ...
Dec 13, 2014 @ 2:17am

I really loved solving these puzzles, it almost feels like you're actually hacking a computer. I also enjoyed the subtle humor in it.

Dietrich Epp says ...
Dec 13, 2014 @ 5:45pm

I wasn't fond of the screen limitation, I thought the time limit was enough :-), and I never figured out how to read emails on level 3. But, it's a pretty cool hacking game!

panda says ...
Dec 13, 2014 @ 5:51pm

@Dietrich: You can use 'read emails' on any machine - they all have a built-in email client.

kipelovets says ...
Dec 13, 2014 @ 7:39pm

Nice hacker text quest thing! Feel like a real hacker ;)

Aske says ...
Dec 15, 2014 @ 8:22pm

I get really into the game when playing it and therefore i gave it a high mood rating. It's a really great feeling you get when completing a level..

broknecho says ...
Dec 16, 2014 @ 4:09am

Nice concept. Was fun! Got tough when the help lines kept taking up line space but really nice idea.

PapyPilgrim says ...
Dec 19, 2014 @ 6:36pm

'beep beep booop boop' ... oh ok, there is some audio... 'CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP'

Audio excepted, I think this is a really cool concept and yes, posting a walkthrough helps a lot with the judging (especially since your entry has a lot of trial & error).

I think some autocompletion would help a lot with the timed challenge AND would guide the player a little: It's very confusing at first. (I realise it's hard to code that in 48h, I had trouble to add it to my entry as well)

Really good job with this one, I like it a lot.

Dec 22, 2014 @ 10:11am

This is just great. I was worried it was going to be a tic-tac-toe simulator (LOL), but this is the best hacking simulator I've played in a very long time--to the point where I kept on accidentally inputting UNIX commands rather than using the file system you put in here ._. Great all around--loved the SFX (I think adding music would have sort of ruined the mood), loved the depth and difficulty to it. Really fun. Thank you for the game!

jpmit says ...
Dec 23, 2014 @ 4:52pm

Fun idea, nice work. I like the multiple inclusion of the theme, though perhaps having scrolling text would be sensible since having the time limit seems like a sufficient constraint.

Dec 27, 2014 @ 10:14am

I like it. Too bad there isn't a restart button when the screen is full.

panda says ...
Dec 28, 2014 @ 1:54am

@Alexandre there should be such a button... perhaps try pressing "enter" a few times to make sure the screen's really super-full?

Menesetsu says ...
Dec 28, 2014 @ 5:19am

Great idea! We also did terminal game on a previous LD here:

panda says ...
Dec 29, 2014 @ 5:17am

@Menesetsu: wow, your game is beautiful! And you managed to get a nicely dark mood in there, too. Well done!

rjhunter says ...
Dec 29, 2014 @ 3:47pm

I was stuck on Level 3 for a while, but I got there in the end!

(I couldn't figure out Adam's password or what to do with `spare_computer`).

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