19

In the 1985 movie Weird Science, two teenage boys use a computer to create a girlfriend (Kelly Le Brock). I've seen that movie 20 times or so but I still couldn't make out what computer they use.

I realize the graphics of the computer (along with it's ability to create humans...lol) is not within the actual limits of the computer and that it was probably chosen to be something futuristic looking.

But it appeared to be at least some type of real computer. Or loosely based on one.

Anyway, what kind of computer was it?

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    I think the magic tricks the Memotech could do in the movie were prototypes that Memotech never released.... – tofro Aug 15 '17 at 16:24
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    @tofro I tried doing the same thing with my VIC-20 but never could get it to work. – cbmeeks Aug 15 '17 at 17:20
  • @cbmeeks - Didn't you see what happened in the movie when they tried to replicate it? You fool! – T.E.D. Aug 15 '17 at 17:59
  • Interestingly, the lady was named (apparently) after Lisa, another retro. That's at least what Wikipedia claims. – tofro Aug 15 '17 at 18:12
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    @T.E.D. that's only because they forgot to hookup the doll. :-) – cbmeeks Aug 15 '17 at 18:13
19

The Memotech MTX, if you believe its Wikipedia page. Your assumption about the graphics is correct: it's a machine that uses much the same hardware as an MSX, including exactly the same video processor, but unwittingly and therefore without being compatible.

Memotech MTX

  • 4
    BTW: I would remove the MSX reference. Using the same CPU and graphics chip as an indicator for 'uses the same hardware' is as claiming all computers being the same for untilize a 7400 somewhere, isn't it? It takes way more than just two chips. – Raffzahn Aug 15 '17 at 15:40
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    I'm not sure; the same processor and same video system (including modes, colours, sprites). As a programmer the only difference I'd notice, port assignments aside, is that the SN76489's three tone channels and noise generator differ from the AY's three tone channels, noise generator and hardware envelopes. Especially if you added disk drives, as then I'd be using the Western Digital command set for both. So two (or three) out of three (or four) programmable parts have the same interface. – Tommy Aug 15 '17 at 15:51
  • Well, with the same logic one could call the MTX TI99/4 compatible. Same graphics, same sound and yeah, TI used a 1771. So again, 3 of four components are the same. Isn't it? (ignoring, that your choice for a FDC might not be the same the original designers had, thus beeing nit relevant) But lets be serious, a remark about compatibility is only usefull if there is any usage on the User side. Like a Sirius 1 being MS-DOS compatible in a way that all pure DOS Programms do run. I can see this for CP/M programs to some extend, but that's just due the CPU. – Raffzahn Aug 15 '17 at 16:32
  • The WD is the chip selected by Memotech for their official expansion, and is that assumed by MSX-DOS. Not one I picked. My answer explicitly says that the two things are not compatible. It is a helpful comment since it tells you the capabilities of the machine. The abilities you saw drawn from an MSX are pretty much what one could have achieved with an MTX. – Tommy Aug 15 '17 at 16:40
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    @Raffzahn I disagree. Saying it's using much the same hardware as an MSX computer is a succinct way of describing what sort of computer it was without going into the kind of details you consider irrelevant. – Ross Ridge Aug 15 '17 at 19:15
17

It was a Memotech MTX 512 with expansion unit.

For future movie-related computer questions it's always a good idea to check Starring the Computer page. In this case, just look here.

  • 1
    Haha, simultaneous answer! You can have my vote. – Tommy Aug 15 '17 at 15:30
  • Yeah, it's been way too easy, wasn't it? – Raffzahn Aug 15 '17 at 15:32
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    I just skipped through the whole movie on youtube, but couldn't see the expansion unit anywhere. They only showed the keyboard. Considering what happened in the movie, I would, however, assume, they were in dire need of that ridiculously expensive unit. – tofro Aug 15 '17 at 18:14
  • @tofro did you also notice they used two monitors? I don't think the TMS9918 could handle that. :-) – cbmeeks Aug 16 '17 at 15:20
  • @cbmeeks There was an 80 column card with a seperate video out, that couldbe added. – Raffzahn Aug 16 '17 at 17:17

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