A lot of kids of my generation had a similar dream and all felt that New Zealand was probably the safest place to live.
Missile Command cannot be fully understood without taking into account its historical context. It is a direct product of its time, a cathartic experience dealing with the fears of the Cold War era. To attenuate its bleak tone, unique in video game history, geographical references to the Californian coast were ultimately dropped from the game.
“It was pretty scary. During the project and for 6 months after the project, I'd wake up in a cold sweat because I'd have these dreams where I'd seen the missile streak coming in and I'd see the impact. I would be up on top of a mountain and I'd see the missiles coming in, and I'd know it would be about 30 seconds until the black hit and fried me to a crisp.”
Creator of Missile Command
Just before release, the title of the game was changed to Missile Command. It was originally meant to be titled Armageddon.
An interesting bit of historical context for Missile Command. The whole Retro Sabotage site is a series of unique takes on a bunch of old video games. In fact, the second Pac-Man game in Mockumentary is actually a really clever twist on the game, and one that took me an embarrassing amount of time to figure out—you control the ghosts, and believe me, it's a lot harder than it appears to trap Pac-Man when you control all four ghosts at the same time with the same controls (you move up, all four ghosts attempt to move up at the same time).
All the games presented all have a weird or odd twist to them.