WarGames (USA 1983)

A young computer whizz kid accidentally connects into a top secret super-computer which has complete control over the U.S. nuclear arsenal while completing a data recovery mission for his grades. It challenges him to a game between America and Russia, and he innocently starts the countdown to World War 3. Can he convince the computer he wanted to play a game and not the real thing?

To impress his girlfriend, seventeen year-old David Lightman hacks into the school computer and changes their failed grades. Next he hacks into what he thinks is a videogame company which allows him to play a game called `Global Thermonuclear Warfare'. But unknown to him he has really accessed the artificially intelligent strategy planning computer at NORAD which now sets off a nuclear war alert. When Lightman breaks into the WOPR, a range of "games" are listed in the menu, including poker, chess and of course, global thermonuclear war.

David (Actor Matthew Broderick) in hacker mode at his AMSAI 8080. For some reason the AMSAI logo is covered with a piece of white paper through the film. Probably the IMS Associates did not pay for the product placement. The funky big colored toggle switches really looks good on film.
The dual 8-inch floppy drive is an IMSAI FDC-2, the monitor is a 17-inch Electrohome, the keyboard is an IMSAI IKB-1, and the 1200 baud modem (on top of the monitor) is a Cermetek 212A relabeled with the name "IMSAI". The acoustic coupler prop was added for visual effect only.
The "IMSAI 212A" modem on top of the monitor. David is going to break in to the schools main frame to change Jennifer's grade in biology from C to A!
What is a modem without a acoustic coupler - nothing! Probably going 300 bps at it's best. I think Acoustic couplers was kind of outdated 1983 when this film was made. Probably someone thought it would look good on film.
Breaking in to the WOPR (War Operation Plan Response) this game menu pops up. "Global Thermonuclear War" looks kind of tempting, doesn't it?
Professor Falcon had many nice gizmos, what about this nice computer chess?
Note this advanced computer map. Character based graphics plots out USA and Soviet union. Both countries are about the same size. In reality Soviet union was about three times the area of USA, but it would not look good on screen.
Good looking Jennifer (Actress Ally Sheedy) posing with AMSAI 212A modem and the voice synthesizer loudspeaker.

There are many computer-based oddities (such as NORAD coincidentally using the same voice synthesizer as David, the speed with which the audio-coupler modem is able to make the calls (and even manages to hang up the phone), the speed with which the computer breaks the password by brute force, etc which passed much of the 1983 audience by, but which seem increasingly fanciful as time passes.

If you are interested in more computer based triva about this movie, check this link: http://www.imsai.net

The NORAD command center built for the movie was the most expensive set ever constructed up to that time, built at the cost of one million dollars. The producers were not allowed into the actual NORAD command center, so they had to imagine what it was like. In the DVD commentary, director John Badham notes that the actual NORAD command center isn't nearly as elaborate as the one in the movie; he refers to the movie set as "NORAD's wet dream of itself."

Back in 1983 the idea of an AI supercomputer must have seemed pretty futuristic to most of the people who watched WarGames. Today there are AI chatbots online which can be used by anyone to answer questions or have a conversation. The chatbots can even be used as AI tools for lawyers, business owners, accountants, and college professors.