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THE Strategic Defence Initiative forms the basis of this simulation, a game so dull that you begin to view the nuclear holocaust in a new, more favourable light.

The 12 page manual sets out to prove you with background information. This it does with lashings of militarist jargon and mnemonics. Skip the first seven pages and begin with the English version on page eight.

Staring at a blank computer terminal you click on the PWR button. The device bursts into life. Silently. Everything happens silently in Def Con 5 – even nuclear explosions.

A single scrolling line across the bottom of the terminal prompts you what to do next. Your first move is to select which of the six available microwave transmission link stations you wish to control. It makes no difference which you choose.

Def Con 5 is played in four stages. The first involves foiling a sneaky spacemine attack by the Ruskies. Drifting slowly across a grid is a circle with the word mine written underneath. In a second square is a triangle labeled ASM. By causing the two characters to collide you are treated to a close-up "live" video of the ASM and mine. Using an extendible claw you must remove the detonator cover, remove the detonator and replace the cover within 30 seconds.

In level two a series of interceptors have been launched against your low orbit weapons. You must move the weapon under threat from side to side while a robotic MTI shoots down the enemy missiles.

Amid this melee of mass destruction I selected the weapon system designed for use in stage four and crashed the machine.