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IMSAI 8080 in War Games (1983)

The IMSAI is David's home computer that he uses for his hacking activities.

Importance: *****
Realism: ***
Data is transfered rather too quickly - sometimes when the modem is disconnected.

Visibility: *****




Year of feature (shown above)


Those old 8 inch floppies really take me back. I know they probably added it for the movie, but hearing beeping noises every time text prints out on the monitor would be extremely annoying. I love watching this movie for computer nostalgia purposes though.
2010-08-19 17:57


I like this movie very much; have also the DVD. I saw it first time 1986 in germany in TV. regards, Ernesto Knorr
2010-05-26 21:39


I love this movie, usually watch it at least once a year. We got together with a bunch of friends and went to see it when they did a one-night-only theater showing for it's 25th anniversary and had a blast. Wish they would re-release it on blu-ray!
2011-03-19 09:02


I have an Imsia 8800. It ruined the movie for me in that they had the computer doing things WAY beyond its abilities. It would have been much better if a totally fictional computer were used.
2012-06-04 15:51


@Michelle: What did the IMSAI what he couldn't do in reality? I mean, it had only read and write via a serial connection and display the data on the screen - With DTMF you could dial by AT Commands directly in the US - even with a acoustic coupler. The voice was generated by an external synthesizer, which could be fed basically with some ascii data along the asci data printed on screen.... Okay, this was no "stock" IMSAI, it was a really hacked IMSAI, but that was what the movie was all about....;-) BTW: I also love this movie... when I first saw it, I was staggered! (must have been 1986 or so)
2014-11-12 09:44


I have just re-watched again War Games and I maybe wrong but I may see many times the TRS-80 keyboard used at NORAD. Do anybody confirm?
2017-02-18 10:36


Presumably there were not many games for this computer. A home computer would have been better, like an Apple, Atari, Vic-20, or even an IBM PC.
2018-02-21 12:22


yeah how was he going to play those "games" he was so eager to play. prob. the top game computers at the time were the atari and the apple.
2019-04-24 06:35


There were plenty of games available for CP/M computers. I grew up at that time and was probably the same age as David (the protagonist.) At that age, you used whatever computer you were lucky enough to get. Sure, the IMSAI probably couldn't play much for graphical games (there weren't many in 1983 anyway) but I remember spending hour upon hour playing Infocom text adventures at that time. So while the IMSAI was not a "game computer", it was something a kid in 1983 could probably afford to buy used.
2019-07-19 20:38

Robin @ 8-Bit Show And Tell

Quite a few people have asked about the computer (or terminal) in Dabney Coleman's office overlooking the NORAD control room, where Matthew Broderick re-contacts Joshua/WOPR. I asked Twitter and some people identified it as a Memorex 2051 terminal. This information is difficult to find online, so maybe it could be added to the WarGames entry please?
2022-02-07 08:17


Robin: I came here to find the answer to that very question. Thank you
2023-06-03 19:04