Recreating sci-fi terminals using VHS

I heard about VHS recently. It’s a tool for creating recordings of command-line tools, so you can create little demos and tutorials about how to use them.

You can write a script to run commands, manipulate and theme the terminal and produce output in a range of formats.

I started thinking about how I could enhance some of the technical documentation I’ve been writing recently with little videos. It’d be a nice way to provide an alternative way for people to learn a process or a new tool.

But then I realised I could use it to do something much more fun: recreate some scenes from some sci-fi films.

So I give you sci-fi terminals. A little github repo with some VHS tapes that produce the following output.

Neo receiving messages from Trinity in the Matrix

Trinity hacking using NMAP

Dennis Nedry’s terminal in Jurassic Park

Hacking WOPR in War Games

WOPR realising Thermonuclear war is a mugs game

Ripley asking about Special Order 937

Check the repo if you’re interested in how the tapes work. I’m pretty pleased with the results!