Graphics on the large NORAD war room screens were rendered in advance by an HP 9845C desktop computer running BASIC. In 1982 the 9845C was comprised of a base with built-in keyboard and a 14" color monitor that mounted on top. Cost of a 9845C was about $90,000 (inflation-adjusted) and the entire "desktop" computer weighed about 100 pounds. The computer's resolution was not good enough to project on a large screen or to be filmed from directly, so a high-resolution monochromatic display was connected. The images were filmed from the display, one frame at a time, one color at a time, using filters for red, green, and blue. The process took about 1 minute per frame of film.
I like this quote, only because they used "comprised" incorrectly.
the whole is composed is its parts.
the parts comprise the whole.
While fun, you're not allowed to use lead shot into a waterway, so you must use steel, which is expensive. Not to mention you'll be shooting fairly level and stuff will go where you don't want it to. Besides, you know how rewarding that moment an item makes a perfection connection with a baseball bat is......
A run through the trivia section on Wargames on IMDB gives an interesting insight to what computer graphics were in 1982:
I knew that they'd done those screens on a relatively mundane workstation, but I had no idea they'd coded them in Basic. (I can't imagine why the'd have needed to.)
The image-capture technique described was fairly standard for the day (three monochrome passes through filters.) Some higher-budget animations used laser scanners, and in fact, a similar process is in use today.
The vast majority of Hollywood films these days are edited using a process called Digital Intermediate. If it was shot on actual film (many movies still are), the camera negatives are scanned and digitized. (Some films are shot on video, in which case the files are simply downloaded.) The film is then edited just like you would video. After the editing process, color-timing, etc, you wind up with a print master that's nothing more than a computer file. To get it back onto film (for projection in the many theaters still equipped for good ole' 35mm) they expose the film via either high-rez mono CRTs or light-valve displays with color filters, or they scan the film with three colored lasers.
Trivia: the one alphanumeric display on the side of the WOPR machine was driven by an Apple II which was installed inside the machine, controlled by an operator who also sat inside the machine. They display itself, which was the only existing prorotype of a new model, was not finished in time for principle photography, so it is not present in wide-shots of the WOPR room. Close-ups were filmed by second unit after the display was finished, and are visible as inserts in the final edit.