EMP, short for electromagnetic pulse, is often used in stories to take out anything electronic. Sometimes shown to be a temporary effect (especially when the RuleOfFun applies in games), it usually results in the permanent disabling of electronic systems.

Now for a more detailed [[http://www.fas.org/nuke/intro/nuke/emp.htm explanation]].

When a nuclear warhead explodes, it releases a LOT of gamma rays, which are photons with tons of energy. When these photons travel through air, they strip electrons off the air molecules as they zoom past. This is called "ionizing" the air. Because those photons are so very energetic, they do it over a very long distance and make a huge volume of ionized air.

Ionized air becomes a conductor. This means those stripped-off electrons, energized by the gamma rays, are free to move around in an electric current. Any change in current produces radio waves. And since the current is going from zero to huge in a very short amount of time, this means a large portion of the atmosphere becomes a HUGE radio transmitter, broadcasting noise at full power.

Radio waves have the generally useful property that they induce currents in conductive material (that's how a receiving antenna works). So whenever these INTENSE radio waves hit something metal, like the wires inside your computer, they produce proportionally INTENSE power surges. Ever had a piece of electronics destroyed when lightning hit your house? This is a similar effect, except bigger. And everywhere. At the same time.

As a bonus, the main pulse is followed almost instantly by secondary ones. The original nuke releases neutrons, which run into things and produce more gamma rays, which produce another wave of electrons. And after that, the Earth's magnetic field "heaves" a little when hit by all this stuff, and that magnetic effect can zap anything connected to really long wires.

Doesn't that sound like fun?

In particular, silicon transistors -- the building block of modern electronics -- are very sensitive to these power surges. The induced current burns and destroys them. They are so sensitive, in fact, it has been theorized that a single nuke, detonated in the right part of the upper atmosphere, could take out most of the unprotected computers in the United States. Also, it is theorized that a high-intensity EMP burst could destroy silicon transistor circuitry even if the device is turned off. Military hardware has to be specially shielded to withstand most of the effects. Interestingly, ancient computers from the 1950s would also be resistant; they were built with vacuum tubes, which can take the pulse a lot better than modern transistors, especially if they were powered down at the time. Also, it's possible that early transistors, which were made of germanium rather than silicon, might be able to withstand an EM pulse if the device was powered down.

If you want to do this zapping without the nuclear fallout, there are a few [[http://science.howstuffworks.com/e-bomb3.htm smaller weapons]] that can generate an EMP. Such a thing is usually a kind of single-use electric generator, which sends out its pulse when crushed by a conventional explosive. The pulse is far weaker, and can kill maybe an office full of computers. In case you wonder why the same explosive charge alone couldn't do it, a range can be extended by rigging up a generator to get a directional emission of microwaves instead of a plain magnetic surge. Getting a city-sized EMP without a nuclear bomb is not feasible with current technology; as to reusable variants, if we had the capacitors necessary to do that, we could also build practical [[MagneticWeapons railguns]] and laser rifles.

Weapons aren't even needed to create an EMP, though: a sufficiently sized solar flare or other cosmic ray event can do it - a pre-nuclear example exists in the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_storm_of_1859 Solar Storm of 1859, known as the Carrington Event]], A gamma ray burst or supernova far enough away to not fry the Earth with enough ionizing radiation to actually pose a threat to human life itself could also accomplish creating a global disaster from an EMP.

A more docile variant of EMP is "degaussing," which uses a varying magnetic field to remove magnetism from a metal object. Ships in WWII were degaussed to make them less vulnerable to magnetic mines. The last generation of CRT monitors, which were what most desktop computers used before LCD/LED displays took over, had built-in degaussers to eliminate color aberrations caused by stray fields. And bulk erasers, an even smaller and lower powered version of this, is used to destroy the data on magnetic storage devices (very popular with the [[BastardOperatorFromHell BOFH]]).

When Hollywood talks about EMP, it can generally be filed under ArtisticLicensePhysics.

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!!Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Manga/HighschoolOfTheDead'' features one moderately realistic EMP generated by a low-altitude nuke exploding over Japan.
* ''Franchise/{{Gundam}}''
** In ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamSEED'', ZAFT has the Gungnir System, which it deploys when they attack Panama -- and then proceed to slaughter Alliance soldiers trapped in disabled mecha. Even the revenge-minded Yzak gives pause at this, hinting at his later HeelFaceTurn.
** The MinovskyParticle in the Universal Century timeline is also mentioned as capable of emitting EMP. Not only did this render long-range radar useless and made it necessary to shield electronics in bulky armor, but it also made the very ''idea'' of mobile suit combat possible.
* In ''Anime/TheAnimatrix'', "The Second Renaissance", it is said that the machines had little to fear from nuclear explosions as they were not affected by the heat and fallout, completely forgetting about the effects described in the page's intro. Which is weird because ''the movies play it straight.''
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''ComicBook/{{X-Men}}''
** Villain (and [[HeelFaceRevolvingDoor occasional ally]]) SelfDemonstrating/{{Magneto}} does this from time to time. Considering how [[GreenLanternRing flexible]] his magnetic powers are usually depicted as being, it's not completely out of the question.
** ComicBook/{{Storm}} has done it with ''lightning bolts'' which... [[ArtisticLicensePhysics isn't possible]].
* In the second issue of ''ComicBook/GlobalFrequency'', one of the characters carries non-lethal weaponry, such as EMP grenades, when they are going against a full-body enhancile. [[spoiler:They are... not exactly non-lethal.]]
* In ''ComicBook/BatmanTheDarkKnightReturns'', the Soviets launch a single nuclear missile at the contested island of Corto Maltese. Superman knocks it off course, but, as Batman points out, this is not a NukeEm weapon -- the "Coldbringer" is designed to knock out the enemies' ability to fight, without damaging infrastructure. The weapon detonates, Superman gets [[NormallyIWouldBeDeadNow almost dead]], and the electrics fizzle out in most of the Americas.
* In ''ComicBook/AllFallDown'', the Colony Drop-sized asteroid Penumbra seems to be radiating this, making any missile attack impossible.
* ''ComicBook/IronMan'' has one built into his armor. It disables his own gear as well, which then takes about six minutes to fix itself. The exact same thing is in the ''ComicBook/WarMachine'' armor.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* In ''Fanfic/AeonNatumEngel'', among the standard depictions of EMP, it's also one of the main reason for the Iceland's DecadeDissonance.
* Before their invasion of Earth in ''FanFic/WorldwarWarOfEquals'', The Race drops several EMPs on the atmosphere to knock out communications and confuse military forces. Only the US, Mexico, Germany, and Egypt are spared since their air force fighters cut them off just in time.
* [[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/7466762/1/Between-Minds Between Minds]] ({{HalfLife}} X {{Videogame/Portal}}) uses one to nuke a couple Advisors' life support during an aerial battle!
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Cars 2}}'', Allinol is actually [[spoiler:a deadly chemical invented by [[BigBad Miles Axlerod]] that was designed to catch fire and explode inside a car's engine after being blasted by a deadly electromagnetic cannon built by his [[TheDragon Dragon,]] Professor Z that resembles a video camera.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* The last-resort weapons against the robots in ''Film/TheMatrix'' trilogy. Big problem there is that they disable your own devices as well. That includes the devices that plug people into the Matrix.
* In the 2005 film ''Film/TheWarOfTheWorlds'' the aliens subject urban areas to a terrifying EMP weapon disguised as a lightning storm. It is designed to wreck our technological society before the tripod assault: a instrument of ''total'' war. It works, but cars at least are easily fixable.
* In ''Film/AirForceOne'' a stewardess mentions [[UsefulNotes/AirForceOne the eponymous plane]] is protected against this, which we can suppose is TruthInTelevision.
* In Creator/JohnWoo's ''Film/{{Broken Arrow|1996}}'', a nuke detonated underground produces enough EMP to knock down a helicopter flying above it.
* This is the favorite weapon of Blackout in the live-action ''Film/{{Transformers}}'' film, and other Transformers have used such weapons, if only mentioned in their Tech Specs.
* In ''Film/SmallSoldiers'', the kid blows up a power transformer in the back yard. This generates an EMP that fries the circuitry of all the evil toys. The good toys are shielded by a downed satellite dish, somehow.
* In the remake of ''Film/OceansEleven'', Don Cheadle uses an EMP generator to cause a power outage at the casino so Creator/GeorgeClooney and Creator/MattDamon's characters can get past the security lasers. He even describes the device as "a nuke... without the nuke." Assuming that such a device could be built, the rapid restoration of power is a ArtisticLicensePhysics[=/=]ArtisticLicenseEngineering double-header. Not to mention the additional effects that would certainly kill people given the loss of power would also affect anything with an engine and anyone on any kind of life support (e.g. pacemakers).
* In ''Film/TheReturnOfGodzilla'' a mild EMP effect was the side effect of prematurely detonating a nuclear weapon launched to kill Godzilla.
* The nuclear bomb in the MadeForTVMovie ''Medusa's Child''.
* ''Film/JamesBond''
** The eponymous KillSat in the movie ''Film/GoldenEye''.
** And the MacGuffin (though only for the first half of the movie) in ''Film/AViewToAKill'' is a computer chip that can withstand EMP, built by Zorn Industries -- Bond is investigating how one of these chips ended up in the Soviet Union.
* The "Ion Cannon" in ''Film/TheEmpireStrikesBack'' is a cannon that disabled an entire Star Destroyer without destroying it. "Ion" weapons in future installments of the [[Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse Expanded Universe]] (particularly video games) specialize in disrupting machinery. But without permanently shredding the electronics as [=EMP=]s do. It's implied in one of the stories (IG-88's section in ''Tales of the Bounty Hunters'') that it ''does'' permanently destroy circuity and such, but there are usually ways to auto-repair the damaged paths. Hence the temporary shutdown period, between "destroyed" and "repaired enough to function".
* Shows up in ''Film/EscapeFromLA'' as part of a top-secret government project that ends up being stolen by a terrorist who threatens to zap America if the government doesn't meet his demands. The film ends with [[spoiler:Snake zapping the entire world instead]].
* Creator/TheBBC's nuclear holocaust drama ''Film/{{Threads}}'': The Soviets detonate an airburst above Britain to knock out communications and computers with EMP before [[NoKillLikeOverkill nuking the rest of the country]].
* Also in the US MadeForTVMovie nuclear holocaust drama ''Film/TheDayAfter''.
* ''Film/PacificRim'' has one of the Kaiju knocking Hong Kong off the power grid, along with disabling a jaeger, with a burst of this. Yes, a ''Kaiju''.
* During the final battle in ''Film/{{Serenity}}'' a Reaver ship knocks out ''Serenity's'' electrics with an EMP beam weapon, sending her into a flat spin. Wash manages to get partial power back and pulls off a relatively controlled crash-landing.
* ''Film/{{Outpost Black Sun}}''. The special forces team has a backpack version which is the only effective way of stopping the Nazi zombies. The problem is it's one-shot only and they use it straight away.
* In ''Film/{{Godzilla 2014}}'', the [=MUTO=]s have the ability to emit natural electromagnetic pulses. Indeed, the lights suddenly going out in the area serves as an indirect sign that they are nearby. It also makes it difficult to use many modern weapons against them, as evidenced by the scene where a bunch of fighter jets sent to take one out suddenly shut down and crash into San Francisco Bay.[[note]]Real fighter jets are hardened to resist EMP for exactly this reason; but even if all the electronics on a fighter ''did'' get fried, it wouldn't suddenly go into an unrecoverable flat spin as shown in the movie as the engines would still be running for a while. It would probably be rendered useless as a weapons platform, though.[[/note]] Of note, at first it seems the use this accidentally (as it seems more them trying to use the shockwave that accompanies them setting it off), but by the time of the San Francisco, the male Muto has seemed to learn to use it offensively.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* In Creator/HarryTurtledove's ''Literature/{{Worldwar}}'' series, the Race begins their assault on Earth by using EMP to disrupt human technology. However, as this is set during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, most of humanity's electronics consist of vacuum tubes and are thus unaffected, to the surprise of the invaders.
* William Gibson's ''Literature/{{Neuromancer}}'':
** The US military flight unit "Operation Screaming Fist", led by Colonel Willis Corto (Armitage), is taken down by Russian EMP weapons.
** In the ''Neuromancer'' universe, many companies use Artificial Intelligences to run their computing needs, especially security. Notably, there is a regulatory agency (the Turings) that is aware that AIIsACrapShoot: as such, all AI-equipped supercomputers must be built with an EMP destruct device, triggerable by any Turing agent. As one AI-savvy character puts it, "Every AI ever built has an electromagnetic shotgun wired to its forehead." This is important, as the story revolves around two AIs (Wintermute and Neuromancer) that wish to merge into one superentity-an act that would certainly trigger the EMP bombs.
* EMP (especially handheld EMP) play a key part of Creator/OrsonScottCard's ''Literature/{{Empire}}'' series.
* In ''All Frequency Jamming/Full Band Interception'' by Chinese Sci-Fi writer Cixin Liu, the future Russian (or Chinese, as it's changed in the Taiwanese version) army saved themselves from the conquer of NATO by using EMP in the most {{badass}} way -- first by deploying stationary EMP emitters, then by [[spoiler:ramming a giant space station into the sun]]!
* ''Literature/CarrerasLegions'': EMP bombs using conventional explosives to create the pulse are deployed by the Legion several times throughout the series to knock out enemy electronics, particularly their communications.
* In ''Literature/MoonOverSoho'' the cover story for the {{Masquerade}} is that a suspect premises had a miniature EMP bomb in it and [[SuspiciouslySpecificDenial not a magical demon trap]].
* In Max Barry's ''Literature/MachineMan'', love interest Lola's [[spoiler:HeartTrauma]] is mended with a model that discharges an EMP when she gets excited. It does considerable damage and ends up as a [[spoiler:ChekhovsGun]].
* In William R. Fortschen's ''One Second After'', an EMP is generated when several nukes are detonated in the atmosphere over the US.
* A key element of the plot of Charles Sheffield's novel ''Literature/{{Aftermath}}''.
* As mentioned above, the ''Literature/BastardOperatorFromHell'' has on occasion used a bulk eraser to destroy incriminating evidence or a user's files. He and the PFY also built a portable version which they used to destroy vending machines and [=ATM=]s in a revenge spree, until on the way back they accidentally set it off inside the elevator...
* In ''Literature/TheLeonardRegime'', it is mentioned that the west coast of the United States had been hit by an EMP attack during a previous war. It is functional by the time the story takes place.
* ''Literature/TheWarAgainstTheChtorr''. A robot is sent into an alien dome to flash it with EMP, hopefully killing any man-eating alien worms before TheSquad follows. A footnote helpfully informs us that an EMP-grenade will cook or curdle any living matter within a radius of ([[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: '''CLASSIFIED''' ]]
). A single charge will yield as many as ([[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: '''CLASSIFIED''' ]]
) useable pulses. There is also the tendency of the flash to destroy any unshielded electronic gear within the larger radius of ([[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: '''CLASSIFIED''' ]]
). One could argue this is a good writer's technique to explain what EMP is while {{Black Box}}ing the actual technology involved.
* In ''Literature/ArkRoyal'' the aliens' plasma weapons prove extremely vulnerable to EMP, they explode.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Franchise/StargateVerse
** In ''Series/StargateAtlantis'', an EMP is generated by a Naquadah generator overload and is [[Recap/StargateAtlantisS01E13HotZone used to destroy some runaway nanites.]]
** Also used in ''Series/StargateSG1'' to remotely knock out an alien device through the Stargate (it didn't work).
** And [[MacGyvering another]] was used to disable an enemy command bunker (it worked).
* ''Series/{{Jericho}}''
* ''Series/DoctorWho''
** An EMP is used to disable the robot angels in the episode "Voyage of the Damned".
** Also, earlier in the series, a small, hand-grenade-sized EMP device is used to knock out a single Cyberman in "Age of Steel". It succeeds in frying its emotional inhibitor chip and to disable its motor functions, but for some reason, the thing can still operate its speaking device and the Doctor has to power down the energy core manually. One also has to wonder, shouldn't the plate armour, which the Cybermen are encased in, work as a faraday's cage?
* In the first season of ''Series/{{Heroes}}'', [[spoiler:HRG got Nuclear Ted to emit an EMP instead of his normal nukes in order to shut out the power at Primatech so they could escape.]]
* In ''Series/DarkAngel'' the United States is a third world country because of a terrorist EMP attack.
* ''Series/TwentyFour''
** In Day 4, a defense contractor deploys an EMP taking out several square blocks of downtown UsefulNotes/LosAngeles.
** During Day 8, Samir's terrorists sneak an EMP bomb into [[spoiler:CTU New York]] with an "escaped" hostage to [[spoiler:disable the Manhattan radiation sensors.]]
* ''Series/{{Leverage}}'' features both a handheld version and the much larger bomb version. The handheld version is a much smaller version of the kind that is in development for use in police pursuits. The bomb version actually averts the mistake of Ocean's Eleven, [[TheSmartGuy Hardison]] explains that setting off the device would make them the largest terrorists in American history.
* In the ''Series/{{Bugs}}'' episode "Pulse", the EMP is referred to as a "pulse bomb", which the protagonists use to escape a heavily armed villain.
* In an episode of ''Series/TerraNova'' a meteor with a high iron content was somehow able to generate an EMP capable of frying every microchip in the colony, including the ones for the chip fabricator. While waiting for a new fabricator chip to be hand-etched, they had to fend off a Spinosaurus attack with compound bows.
* In the ''Series/{{Smallville}}'' episode "Metallo", Clark Kent uses a device to trigger one in an attempt to disable Metallo. Unfortunately, Metallo restarts after a few seconds.
* In the ''Series/{{Intelligence|2014}}'' episode "Athens" an EMP attack disrupts Gabriel's chip, giving him LaserGuidedAmnesia. In the epilogue Dr. Cassidy modifies the chip to make it less susceptible.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/{{Paranoia}}'' has the Gauss Gun, a directional EMP weapon useful against robots and other electronic equipment.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' has EMP ''grenades'' as Tau equipment used for dealing with tanks. They rarely see that much use, due to the Tau being the inventors of the railgun -- a long-ranged tank killer that makes a [[FrickinLaserBeams lascannon]] look wimpy.
* ''TabletopGame/{{GURPS}}: Ultra-Tech'' has EMP warheads for properly sized projectiles. Microwave disruptors use a similar technology but are somewhat less effective. Oddly they don't fry the system, instead the effect leaves computers temporarily "unconscious".
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/CityOfHeroes'' has a couple of EMP powers, one of which is delivered via TrickArrow. It's just described as "a massive pulse of electromagnetic energy", without going into detail how it is formed. They are "powerful enough to affect synaptic brain patterns" (i.e. temporarily disable all enemy actions, electronic or otherwise), while dealing "high damage to machines and robots". It's a very ''good'' power, it just doesn't make much sense outside of Superhero Logic.
* [[spoiler:Solidus attempted to EMP UsefulNotes/NewYorkCity]] in ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid2SonsOfLiberty''.
* Quite a few video games have EMP grenades as weapons. Examples:
** The ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}'' series. ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'' includes Pulse Mines as well. ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' also adds a "Pulse Gun," an energy weapon implied to be an ''electromagnetic'' pulse gun, as it has the same damage bonus vs robots and PoweredArmor as EMP grenades, along with Pulse Shotgun Slugs. The nuclear war-induced EMP's may also be the reason the only working pre-war electronics run on vacuum tubes.
** ''VideoGame/EnemyTerritoryQuakeWars''. Considering that your enemy are basically [[Franchise/StarTrek Borg]], this works quite well.
** In ''VideoGame/QuakeIV'', your team attempts to use one to break the connection with the Strogg's HiveMind, but the bomb gets destroyed by a [[SpiderTank Harvester]] en route.
** ''VideoGame/{{Battlefield}} 2142''
** ''VideoGame/{{Halo 3}}''
** ''VideoGame/DeusEx'' features EMP grenades, which are effective against enemy bots. In a twist the protagonist is a cyborg: it's not healthy to get caught in the EMP radius of your own grenades.
** ''VideoGame/DeusExHumanRevolution'' has them as well, but an upgrade to your augmentations can render you completely immune to their effects. They're also good as ''distractions'' against purely human enemies, as they will investigate an EMP explosion as if it were a regular explosion. Important for a PacifistRun.
** ''VideoGame/ProjectSnowblind'' [[SpiritualSuccessor naturally]] includes them and forms the main plot line.
** In ''VideoGame/EverythingOrNothing'', EMP grenades are a part of Franchise/JamesBond's arsenal.
** Certain rockets have this as an effect in ''VideoGame/ArmoredCore'': They temporarily stun the enemy mech.
** EMP grenades in ''VideoGame/TransformersWarForCybertron'' scramble the HUD and cause static to appear on screen, while leaving movement and weapons operational. They're used by the Scout class.
** ''VideoGame/StarWarsRepublicCommando'' has EMP grenades that are extremely useful when you run into hordes of Battle Droids, especially [[DemonicSpiders Super Battle Droids]]. Notably, they are also effective against ''organic'' enemies as they emit an electrical discharge as well - being shocked by several thousand volts is not a pleasant experience whether you are made of metal or flesh.
** ''VideoGame/PlantsVsZombies 2'' has the E.M.Peach, which disables all robotic zombies in an area. Considering that many robotic zombies are extremely durable, this can be very useful depending on situation.
* In ''[[VideoGame/BanjoKazooie Banjo-Tooie]]'', Mumbo can use an EMP spell in Grunty Industries to shut down factory machinery.
* ''Franchise/StarCraft''
** ''VideoGame/{{StarCraft|I}}'' features an EMP-wielding giant spaceship. The EMP knocks out shields, making it only useful against one race, but only REALLY useful against Archons, who have 300 shield and only 10 life. The EMP also eliminates the energy of any units that use energy for abilities, so it can be quite helpful against Terran armies as well. It even works on zerg casters, even though their "energy" is their internal supply of symbiotes and biotoxins. [[AcceptableBreaksFromReality But at least it's consistent]].
** ''VideoGame/StarCraftII'' features the ability on the Ghost. But on a lower scale, only stripping a certain amount of energy off units.
* ''[[VideoGame/{{Crysis}} Crysis Warhead]]'' features EMP grenades that are used to disable the enemy's nanosuits, making them easy kills.
** ''Crysis 2'' lacks EMP grenades, but it does have the K-Volt sub-machine gun, which fires electrostatic bolts that knock CELL troops off their feet and "stunlock" [[EverythingsSquishierWithCephalopods Ceph]] enemies in place. The Ceph themselves have an EMP emitter seemingly built into their exosuits which instantly drains your suit energy, disabling your powered armor, cloaking, and sprinting functions, and they will make very good use of it when searching an area for you. Grunts and Stalkers have short-ranged EMPs that have a range of about a meter or two, while [[TripodTerror Pingers]] have a much larger one combined with some form of sonic pulse, leaving you at the mercy of its rapid-fire plasma cannon should you be caught in range.
* The ''VideoGame/TeamFortressClassic'' Engineer has EMP grenades, which detonate all of a foe's held shells and explosives. This makes it incredibly deadly against heavier targets such as Soldier and Heavy, but less effective against lighter classes like Scout and Sniper.
* ''VideoGame/SystemShock''
** The Magpulser is available. It looks strange, but yes, it harms robots a lot (200% damage). It also lives up to its name by barely affecting cyborgs (50% damage) and not affecting mutants at all (0% damage).
** There are also a couple of other EMP weapons, specifically the EMP grenade, which, when detonated, can screw up your (computer-assisted) interface if you're too close to the blast. It also drains your battery for some reason. There's a more powerful land mine version as well.
** Sequel ''VideoGame/SystemShock2'' has the EMP rifle while the EMP grenades make a return, which absolutely devastate robotic ''and'' cybernetic enemies (the cyborgs have all their life-support systems in their mechanical parts, meaning that damaging them will kill them), but are absolutely worthless against a purely biological enemy. Since some of the most powerful enemies in the game are biological, it limits the effectiveness of the weapons at specific sections of the game. The rifle, as well as the EMP grenades, however, [[spoiler: will come in ''very'' handy during the FinalBoss fight]].
* The ''VideoGame/DarkForcesSaga'' feature an EMP-shooting gun which is mostly for killing robots.
* ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquer''
** In ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerGenerals'', the Superweapon General's base-defense missiles and one of the special powers of high-ranking Chinese generals are EMP-based. These disable vehicles and buildings (albeit, temporarily). When said EMP base-defense missiles [[OneHitKill hit aircraft]], however...
** ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerTiberianSun''
*** Features an EMP cannon on both factions, while its expansion had a mobile EMP tank for GDI. Its more useful against GDI than Nod due to Nod's tendency to use {{fragile speedster}}s and that the cannon takes some time to charge and shoot.
*** In Generals, China has an EMP bomb dropped by an airplane. Pretty effective if used with other special abilities to destroy an enemy force or as a starter for an attack on the enemy base. And it looked [[RuleOfCool cool]].
*** ''Tiberium Wars'' has a tech building that can be captured to grant an EMP attack that temporarily disables enemy buildings.
* ''[[VideoGame/FreeSpace FreeSpace 2]]'' has [[ScrappyLevel a mission]] that takes place in an area of a nebula with [=EMPs=] happening all the time, and a missile that causes one when it explodes. In either case, this causes a massive InterfaceScrew.
* In ''VideoGame/ModernWarfare 2'', [[spoiler:a nuclear missile is detonated in the upper atmosphere over America, blacking out the eastern states and causing the player to dodge helicopter rain.]] The player also gets an EMP in multiplayer if they get a KillStreak of 15, which disables enemy electronics, including [[InterfaceScrew removing their radar, ammo count and the game score]]. It still fails physics forever, of course, because the team that used it is unaffected and the effect only lasts for about two minutes. Modern Warfare 3's Multiplayer introduces EMP grenades that become available at Level 21. The EMP is applied only to players and their electronics caught in the blast radius and the effect lasts for a much shorter period of time. AcceptableBreaksFromReality -- who would use the EMP if it affected their own team as well? Nobody. Who would use the EMP if it lasted until the end of the round? '''[[GameBreaker Everybody.]]'''
* ''Franchise/{{Metroid}}''
** The Space Pirates occasionally use EMP grenades.
** Steam Lords of Elysia can also generate one as an attack.
** Presumably, Samus' suit is well-protected as neither of these actually does anything to her suit beyond standard shield drain. Some special electricity-based attacks, however, cause [[InterfaceScrew static to appear on the HUD]].
** Getting hit by an EMP in ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime: Corruption'' instantly puts Samus into corrupted mode with a full phazon tank. This is a double-edged sword for the pirates though; if Samus can't vent the phazon in time (due to a paralyzing attack, for example) it's a NonStandardGameOver for her, but to vent phazon she has to BeamSpam it all out, and those beams are highly destructive to anyone nearby. (Such as, for example, the hapless pirate that threw the EMP...)
* In ''VideoGame/RatchetDeadlocked'', your Battle Bots have EMP grenades equipped that allow the temporary deactivation of [[DemonicSpiders Stalker Turrets]] and other electronic obstacles.
* ''VideoGame/SplinterCell''
** ''Splinter Cell: Conviction'' has a plot focused on detonating several EMP bombs in UsefulNotes/WashingtonDC. Sam actually gets a backpack that has a built-in EMP generator fairly early in the game. It can only be used three times per level (no recharging it like other gadgets) and the effect is purely temporary, lasting ten seconds at most. He also has access to EMP grenades, which are even less effective, but ranged.
** ''Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory'' before added an attachment to the pistol called the "OCP", which allowed the player to temporarily disable any electronic device they aimed the pistol at. This was of the "microwave" variety of electronic disruption, and thus was more directed than many examples.
* In ''VideoGame/DevilSurvivor'', it is explained that [[spoiler:the PSE law places a chip in all electronics so that they can do this to ''all of Tokyo in a massive explosion''. In fact, that's their if-all-else-fails plan.]]
* In ''VideoGame/NeedForSpeed: Hot Pursuit 2k10'', both the police and the racers use EMP devices on each other. In the "Porsche Patrol" cop event, you gain an achievement/trophy by using the EMP weapon to take out the computer-controlled gas/electric 918 Spyder Hybrid concept.
* In ''VideoGame/BattlefieldBadCompany 2'' the plot revolves around the members of the Bad Company trying to find a mysterious weapon which turns out to be an EMP.
* ''VideoGame/BubbleTanks Tower Defense 1.5'' introduces the EMP creep, which explodes into an electromagnetic pulse upon defeat. This disables all the towers around it, and as such makes it an annoying foe to fight.
* ''VideoGame/PerfectDark'' has EMP mines which have to be placed on the computer terminals to disable the security system in the first level. Unfortunately, they don't appear in other levels with security cameras.
* EMP grenades are a recurring weapon in ''VideoGame/MetalArmsGlitchInTheSystem''. It temporarily deactivates ''every'' machine in the vicinity, although there's no real effect to the player except for disorienting and confusing your control scheme.
* ''VideoGame/{{Freelancer}}'' features a series of EMP-generating missiles (the Eraser line), as well as "pulse cannon" guns. However, in practice all they do is strip away a target's DeflectorShield.
* ''VideoGames/TransformersWarForCybertron'' and its sequel ''VideoGames/TransformersFallOfCybertron both have EMP Grenades that warp the optics of whoever they hit, as well as doing a fair bit of damage.
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[[folder:Web Animation]]
* The use of one forms the climax of the ''Machinima/RedVsBlue'' series "Reconstruction". The characters also spend a lot of time arguing over whether it's pronounced "E-M-P" or "emp", with even the computer warning using the [[RuleOfFunny latter]] pronunciation, making Washington the only one who uses current pronunciation of E.M.P.
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[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/MegaTokyo'' Largo uses one as a rickroll.
* Aylee from ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'' has her InvoluntaryShapeshifting mutate her into a living EMP generator in response to a [[{{Nanotechnology}} nanite infection]]. It caused problems as she had to routinely run away from the house for fear of accidentally setting off one of Riff's inventions. Or worse, erasing Bun-Bun's ''Series/{{Baywatch}}'' video tapes!
* An EMP effect was used by the protagonists of ''Webcomic/MoltenBlade'' to aid their escape from a research facility, generated from a device referred to as an "e-bomb" by one of the characters.
* In the ''Webcomic/BobandGeorge'' comics, during the ''VideoGame/MegaMan3'' storyline, Mega Man was able to convert the Magnet Missiles into an EMP. It's very effective, but [[spoiler:he burns them out after two uses.]]
** The author actually goes into an explanation about how EMPs work, and why [[spoiler: it didn't work against Snake Man.]]
* ''Webcomic/GirlGenius''
** Doctor Mittelmind [[http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20100917 has an implanted "pulse cannon"]] which disabled most hardware in the room, and they're lucky [[ExplosiveLeash their collars]] didn't go off.
--->'''Prof. Mezzasalma:''' It ''killed'' him , of course, but her gun ''did'' blow up.
** Not to mention The Lion's "roar", an "Štheric" pulse.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Freefall}}'' Ecosystems Unlimited uses an EMP generator to [[http://freefall.purrsia.com/ff1800/fv01720.htm erase digital information]] from used robot parts. It has no effect on post-it notes, though.
* Annie's choice of superhero name (and the strip title) of ''Webcomic/{{Pulse}}'' is based on this because of her electrical powers.
* Quentyn from ''Webcomic/TalesOfTheQuestor'' once built a ''magical'' version (involving a keg of salt and copper tubing left under the Luxfont for a few days) in order to neutralize a [[GangBangers street gang's]] magical weaponry.
* In ''Webcomic/{{SSDD}}'' Tin-Head's set-up at Cook Industries has an EMP bomb in case of emergencies. His own neural net is shielded so it wouldn't harm him but everything else in the room is [[http://www.poisonedminds.com/d/20110228.html fried]] [[spoiler: when he triggers it after accidentally contacting [[ContagiousAI the Oracle]], and just to make sure he erases his most recent memory.]]
** Another time a CAS elite uses an EMP grenade to disable a killer robot, then his partner asks how they're going to get out now that the pulse has [[http://www.poisonedminds.com/d/20130813.html trashed all their gear]].
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[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/MaxSteel'' has an episode where Roberto builds a handheld, explosion-less EMP projector in a very short timeframe as a method of dealing with super robots gone rogue. This causes a friendly-fire issue, as Max will die if he loses his [[{{Nanomachines}} nanoprobes]]. which are just as vulnerable to EMP, and the robots immediately start a fight instead of helpfully lining up. One of them even goes for the EMP device when Berto hesitates on account of this, presumably intending to aim it at Max. Max solves the problem by taking it and using it himself, thus putting his body behind the direction of the blast. He still takes enough of the EMP to destroy a large portion of his nanoprobes, and loses consciousness while the survivors cannibalize the dead probes to replicate new ones.
* ''Franchise/{{Transformers}}''
** ''WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated'': Ratchet has a wrist-mounted "EMP generator" that can focus an electromagnetic pulse into a ''beam''. It can temporarily knock out most Cybertronians, but Ratchet prefers to use it as a surgical tool, and then only rarely. At full power, it can [[spoiler: wipe an Autobot's entire memory, which accidentally happened to Arcee during the Great War]], hence his reluctance to use it. He and Bumblebee can temporarily knock a flying Decepticon out of the air by combining their normal weapons (electric stingers + magnets).
** Team Chaar's Blackout, like the movie 'bot who inspired him, can create an electromagnetic shockwave that knocks out nearby machinery... and then bring them back online [[PercussiveMaintenance by doing it again]].
** Blaster uses an EMP gun. It blows up normal electronics but Transformers, being more resilient, only suffer from seriously impaired movement coordination (still very painful if you happen to be in jet form at the time).
* The ''WesternAnimation/{{Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles|2003}}'' (2003) episode "Modern Love" has the turtles whip up an [=EMP=] to disable a rampaging {{Nano|machines}}.
* The ''WesternAnimation/MonsterBusterClub'' episode "Pipe Dreams" has Mr. Smith using an EMP (though not called as such exactly, as it's alien technology) to disable the machines of the [[MonsterOfTheWeek Invader of the Week]] before he'd unearth the MBC tunnels and absorb a good part of the town with his TractorBeam. Unfortunately, it disables the kids' weapons and other gizmos as well, so they have to take out the menace hand-to-hand.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', Homer joins a group of "preppers", who believe an EMP would cause the end of civilization, and they would be the only ones ready. When an EMP does occur (thanks to Homer's incompetence, of course), the preppers bug out and hide out in their compound, awaiting the apocalypse. Eventually the Simpsons return to Springfield with the intent of helping them, but find everything back to normal. Seems the effects of the surge were only temporary, and with all the crazy people (meaning the preppers) gone, order was restored with surprising ease.
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