Since it seems that we are now accepting questions to from a movie, we might as well address the quintessential Retrocomputing movie...

What terminal is David using at home in the movie WarGames?

terminal side view

Another shot:

terminal profile view

It's not the same as the terminal in McKittrick's office, which is clearly a Memorex:

McKittrick's terminal

  • 21
    He's obviously not a real hacker, as he changes his shirt.
    – DrSheldon
    Commented Jun 8 at 18:42
  • 2
    It's not a terminal but an Electrohome 17" monitor. Further details unknown. Shall I leave this as a comment or provide this as an answer?
    – Justme
    Commented Jun 8 at 19:02
  • 1
    @Justme: Leave it as an answer.
    – DrSheldon
    Commented Jun 8 at 19:09

3 Answers 3


It's not a terminal but an Electrohome 17" monitor.

Futher details about the exact monitor model are unknown to me.

However, since it's a just a movie prop, the monitor is not even being used as a terminal for the IMSAI 8080.

The monitor in question was used, because it was possible to film the output to camera at the required distance.

The monitor is driven by an off-screen CompuPro 8086 computer, to which also the programmable IMSAI IKB-1 keyboard was connected. Pressing a key made the the keyboard to output an ASCII sequence so the keypresses typed in the movie actually triggered the text output.

  • 1
    Historically it was not unusual to have a video card in an S-100 system that could directly drive a monitor, so it's not out of place at all. Commented Jun 9 at 14:22
  • 4
    Could you add a source for the last paragraph? I'd like to read more!
    – IronEagle
    Commented Jun 9 at 14:53

It was quite common at the time to have a home-brewed solution instead of a commercial terminal.
See Don Lancasters TV Typewriter Cookbook for example. Keyboards and keyboard cases were sold individually. It was entirely possible to connect a keyboard to a parallel port, and have a separate video and for output. Or a video card with a connector for an external keyboard. Or a homebrewed board which had a keyboard scanner and video output, talking back by either parallel port or rs-232. Or . . . [for that matter, the original apple ][ owner's manual had instructions for connecting and interfacing your keyboard!]

  • 4
    Hence Wozniak creating the Apple I as a home terminal.
    – DrSheldon
    Commented Jun 8 at 22:55
  • 1
    In real life yes, but what you see in the movie is just a bunch of fake movie prop quickly hacked together to film the shot, the monitor and keyboard are not even connected to the IMSAI 8080 but to an off-screen computer.
    – Justme
    Commented Jun 9 at 9:19
  • For those of us who couldn't afford a real monitor, a home built "Waterloo RF Modulator" and an old TV set worked well.
    – scm
    Commented Jun 11 at 1:23

You can tell it's a studio monitor because of the sharp corners and handles to pick it up with.

There used to be an NSF program where, if your parents were cool, they could host scientists from another country so that the budget didn't have to pay for a hotel room every day. That let the scientists stay much longer, since housing was the major expense. My mom did that, and we hosted two Russian scientists, Tasha and Sasha, who had that monitor. That was the first time someone explained to me the difference between a monitor and a TV set.

The drop-down panel in front is so large because there's more adjustment knobs than on a home product.

That's an analog monitor, so we know it's receiving information from an analog video card. It had to be a high-frequency professional monitor to display that much detail on such a small screen so long ago.

This wired article about it fails to talk about it.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .