Shall We Play… a Game?

All you aging geeks and/or movie fans out there will recall the 1983 Matthew Broderick classic called War Games.  Well here’s your chance to own a bit of nostalgia from that flick.  The IMSAI 8080 computer from David’s bedroom is being auctioned, complete with all its peripherals.  It’s expected to fetch somewhere around $25,000.


This has a particular soft spot for me because I worked on a system just like this in school.  I remember watching the movie and thinking, “Hey, I’ve used one of those!”  Of course I only used it to control lab experiments and build a few DOS utilities.  It never occurred to me to launch thermonuclear war, which was maybe a good thing.

For those of you “kids” out there, the switches on the front of the unit could be used to set the state of the address and data buses. And there were little LED lights on the front where you could literally read (in binary) what the computer processor was working on at any given moment.  To use one of these things you really had to understand the internal architecture of the hardware.  Something to add to my obsolete skills list.  I still remember first encountering a microprocessor that lacked these front panel lights and switches and thinking, “We’ll never be able to get this thing to work.”

Ahhh… the memories.

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