In Stranger Things 2, Episode 8 “The Mind Flayer” – Radio Shack ‘nerd’ Bob (Sean Astin) is the only person who can save the world using his ‘in-depth BASIC programming hacker skills’.

Firing up the PC, Bob hammers out code – but is this ‘Hollywood gibberish’? Knowing their love for Easter eggs, we decided to perform a code review, and here’s what we learned…

1/ All things lead to 11

Stranger Things Season 2 Episode 8 Code Review

When Bob first boots up the IBM, we see an OS startup screen. The program version number “5.6.11” gives us the first clue to this screen’s Easter eggs:

Version number 5.6.11 … 5+6 = 11!  Build 2531 … 2+5+3+1 = 11!  November 11, 1984 … OR 11/11/1984!  23:40:02 … 2+3+4+2 = 11!

2/ All for one and one for all!Stranger Things Season 2 Episode 8 Code ReviewNovember 11, 1984 – this was the day that The Three Musketeers play opened on Broadway. After a quick Google search to see what happened on this date, we can only assume that this was the inspiration for naming Dart … or just a bizarre cosmic coincidence?

What came first we wonder? We’re busy trying to find the connection between this play, and the ST2 crew. And – interesting fact – Brent Spiner was in this 9-show-only revival flop (we thought that was kinda sci-fi nerdy-cool.)

3/ The code is real(ish)…Stranger Things Season 2 Episode 8 Code ReviewThat’s right folks – this is, in fact, valid IBM BASIC – assuming that getFourDigits and checkPasswordMatch are valid functions; although we’re not sure how Bob would know about these in a proprietary system?

We’re also not sure why he would include indents and formatting, this is not something you would typically do with BASIC. Is this simply to make readability easier for the viewer? And did we even see Bob hit the TAB key?

In case you wanted to take a peek at the code for yourself, here it is:

10 DIM FourDigitPassword INTEGER
20 FOR i = 0 TO 9
30   FOR j = 0 TO 9
40     FOR k = 0 TO 9
50       FOR l = 0 TO 9
60         FourDigitPassword = getFourDigits (i,j,k,l)
70         IF checkPasswordMatch(FourDigitPassword) = TRUE THEN
80           GOTO 140
90         END
100      NEXT l
110    NEXT k
120   NEXT j
130 NEXT i
140 PRINT FourDigitPassword
150 END

4/ This PC does not compute!

Stranger Things Season 2 Episode 8 Code Review

Take a closer look…and the code clearly goes off the side of the screen! We’re assuming that finding an old 1980’s working IBM – and creating a whole mini-OS/functional BASIC program – was just too much effort for the producers (we’re free for next season!) So although the IBM PC was real, it doesn’t appear to have been turned on, with code being added in post-production.

5/ The hack is real…Stranger Things Season 2 Episode 8 Code ReviewThe password to enter this system is a simple 4-digit pin, with numerical digits between 0 and 9. Called a Brute Force attack – this code simply generates all numbers between 0000 and 9999 trying to login until it is successful. Incredibly insecure…but then again, it is 1984…



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