If a war game to promote the cause of peace seems like a strange idea to you then you will be baffled by the latest offering from PSS - Theatre Europe.
The instruction booklet opens with this dedication "This program is dedicated to the people of the world in the hope that the game is never played for real".
The game itself is very impressive. PSS are good at this type of strategy game. Their last offering: Battle For Midway, is a minor classic amongst C64 war gamers.
In Theatre Europe war breaks out after a build up of tension - a very believable scenario.
Based on the first thirty days of conflict, Theatre Europe lets you choose to command the forces of NATO or the Warsaw Pact.
If your choose to command the Warsaw Pact forces, your aim is to smash NATO by taking over West Germany.
The NATO player has to stop the invasion of West Germany and prevent advances on any parts of Western Europe.
Theatre Europe is not a 'pure' war game - it also features elements of arcade games and quite a few graphics screens.
The NATO versus Warsaw Pact scenario described above is the basic game - though there are more advanced play options.
The Advanced Game includes such delights as "Tactical Chemical Weapons (Gas)", and special air missions that can be used to attack enemy air units.
These are the advanced options for the NATO forces. Warsaw Pact commanders can select from the Airborne Army and Amphibious Army.
The arcade element of Theatre Europe does actually involve launching missiles and guiding them towards the enemy. Select the arcade part of the game by choosing the Action Screen.
The screen select system is used as the menu for the whole game. It's all precisely described in the ten page booklet that comes with the game.
One of the criticisms of war games is that they tend to be difficult to get into. This cannot be said of Theatre Europe - a splendid effort has been made to make the game as easy to get to grips with as possible.
As well as the booklet of instructions the large video style box also contains a full colour map of the play area and the front cover of a fictional newspaper called Die Zeitung which chillingly reports the build up of the tension.
Theatre Europe is a quality war game with painstaking attention to detail.