I read a book in the late 90’s that talked about the real history of computer viruses (iirc it was an Anti-Copy protection, but it’s been nearly 20years) and the fun factor. Honestly I can’t seem to remember the name or author of the book at all. I do remember it also talked about core war game where 2 people had to write a semi virus in a language called redcode. It actually intrigued me and I started doing assembly and debugging of com and exe’s with softice debugger. It all stopped when I started doing more Linux stuff, but I still remember some asm and to this day it helps me debug crashes.
Looks like core war lives on: http://www.corewar.info/emulator.htm