The "Nuclear War" card game on which this computer game is based was designed by Doug Malewicki in 1965; a 40th anniversary thousand-pack limited-release re-issue of the original cards was celebrated in 2005. Not reflected in the computer game adaptation are subsequent expansion packs: 1982's "Nuclear Escalation", 1992's "Nuclear Proliferation", 1996's "Nuclear War Booster Packs", and 2004's "Weapons of Mass Destruction" bringing us to the present.
Flying Buffalo began selling the card version in 1972, following founder Rick Loomis' exciting search for Doug (ending at an LA answering machine message inviting callers in a Dracula voice to leave their name, number and blood type) and all these years later it is now also the sole retailer of the computer game adaptation! (Sorry, Amiga floppies no longer available!)
A simulation of the card game can be played through web browsers by gametableonline.com members.
The intro animation with the cowboy riding the nuclear warhead as it drops from the airplane is a direct reference to the 1964 movie: Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.
The game was originally written on the Amiga, and ported to the PC. The PC port is very similar, but they didn't use the original digitized sounds for some reason.
The only really "significant" loss in the PC version was the removal of the sound effect when you drew the 100 Megaton warhead card. In the Amiga version, you hear a crowd of people "oo"ing, but in the PC version it's just like any other card.
The game is loosely based on the Nuclear War and Nuclear Escalation card games, which are tongue-in-cheek games that make light of a serious (especially in the middle of the Cold War) topic. The games are still in print, and the series has been expanded by a third title, Nuclear Devastation.
Some newer machines won't run early versions of the Nuclear War game, but Flying Buffalo (www.flyingbuffalo.com) will replace the disk for you with one that will work, for the cost of postage.
Nuclear War simply WILL NOT run on most of the earlier S3 video chipsets ... it will crash with a fatal exception error every time.