Simon (game)

The game is a circular disc divided into four quarter circle buttons each with a different color. In the center are the game mode controls
Type Electronic game
Inventor Ralph H. Baer and Howard J. Morrison
Company Milton Bradley
Country United States
Availability 1978–Present
Slogan Simon's a computer, Simon has a brain, you either do what Simon says or else go down the drain
Official website

Simon is an electronic game of memory skill invented by Ralph H. Baer and Howard J. Morrison,[1] with software programming by Lenny Cope, The device creates a series of tones and lights and requires a user to repeat the series. If the user succeeds the series becomes progressively longer and more complex. Once the user fails, the game is over. The original version was manufactured and distributed by Milton Bradley but after they went out of business, the product was taken over by Hasbro. Much of the assembly language was written by Dr. Charles Kapps, who taught computer science at Temple University and also wrote one of the first books on the theory of computer programming. Simon was launched in 1978 at Studio 54 in New York City and was an immediate success, becoming a pop culture symbol of the 1970s and 1980s.


Ralph H. Baer and Howard J. Morrison [1] were first introduced to Atari's game Touch Me at the Music Operators of America (MOA) trade show in 1976.[2] Baer said of the product, "Nice gameplay. Terrible execution. Visually boring. Miserable, rasping sounds."[2] The original prototype, built by Baer, included the Texas Instruments TMS 1000 microprocessor chip, which was low cost and used by many games of the 1970s. Lenny Cope,[2] who was one of Ralph H. Baer's partners, worked on the programming code for the core of the game, titled Follow Me at the time. Baer developed the tones of the game, inspired by the notes of a bugle. It was when they pitched the demo, an 8-inch-by-8-inch console, to the Milton Bradley Company that the name of the game was changed to Simon. Simon debuted in 1978 at the cost of $24.95 (equivalent to $91 in 2015) and became one of the top selling toys that Christmas.[2] The corresponding U.S. patent, No. 4,207,087: "Microcomputer controlled game", was obtained in 1980.[1] Milton Bradley soon capitalized on the original with both the smaller sized Pocket Simon and the expanded, eight-button Super Simon.

Many different variants of Simon have been made since Hasbro acquired Milton Bradley in the 1980s, building on the possibilities offered by advances in technology. The original Super Simon was reinvented in the late 1990s as a hexagonal unit with six buttons. 2000 saw Simon Squared (or Simon2), a unit with the four traditional buttons on one side, and a set of eight smaller buttons on the other. In 2004, Hasbro released the Simon Stix. The game features two electronic sticks (modeled after drumsticks), an emphasis on the musical part of the game, and features four levels of play.[3]

In 2005, Hasbro released Simon Trickster[4] (also known as Simon Tricks in Europe and in the UK, and as Simon Genius in Brazil) which features four game modes, in a similar fashion to another Hasbro game, Bop It, and colored lenses as opposed to buttons. Simon Classic is the classic mode and lasts up to 35 signals. Simon Bounce is similar to Simon Classic, but instead the colors of the lenses change. Simon Surprise is one of the most difficult games in the unit. Every lens become the same color and the player has to memorize the location. There is also Simon Rewind where the player has to memorize the sequence backwards. During each game, the game will give the player a compliment on a certain number of signals completed. On reaching five and eleven signals, the computer will randomly choose either "Awesome!", "Nice!" "Sweet!" and "Respect!". On reaching 18 signals, the game will play a victory melody three times. On reaching the ultimate 35 signals, the game will play the victory melody again and will say "Respect!". If the player fails to memorize the pattern or fails to press the right color within the time limit, the game will play a crashing sound and the game will say "Later!".

In 2011, Hasbro introduced Simon Flash. In this version, the game is played with 4 cube-shaped electronic modules which the player must move around depending on the game mode. Both Yahtzee and Scrabble have also received Flash variants. [5]

In 2013, Hasbro re-invented Simon once again with Simon Swipe. The game was demonstrated at New York Toy Fair 2014 and was released in the Summer as planned.[6] The game is a circular unit that looks like a steering wheel. It has been extended from four buttons to eight touchscreen buttons which are flattened out on the unit.[7] The game feature four game modes which are called Levels, Classic, Party and Extreme. Levels is the main game of Simon Swipe. The player has to go through all sixteen levels to beat the game. Classic, Party and Extreme levels focus on one pattern getting longer and longer until the player is out. A smaller version of the game called Simon Micro Series was introduced in the Fall of 2014. This version has only two game modes called Solo and Pass It and features 14 levels and four buttons. There is also a version of Simon created by Basic Fun which is known as the Touch Simon. This version has an LCD screen and plays melodies at specific parts of the game.

In 2016, Hasbro launched the follow up to Simon Swipe with Simon Air. The game was announced at Hasbro's Press Conference before the 2016 New York Toy Fair. This version of Simon uses motion sensors, similar to how Mattel's Loopz line of games are played. The game has three game modes, Solo, Classic and Multiplayer.[8] it is expected to be released in Fall 2016.[9] On a video trailer at the New York Toy Fair, Simon Air is expected to release on August 18, 2016. As of May 2016, Simon Air is due to be released in June 2016 along with a modernized Bop It game. The Simon Air eventually was released at the end of May with further retailers receiving units soon after. A button pressing version of Simon was also released in the US, with an aesthetic recalling that of the 1970s and 1980s models.


The device has four colored buttons, each producing a particular tone when it is pressed or activated by the device. A round in the game consists of the device lighting up one or more buttons in a random order, after which the player must reproduce that order by pressing the buttons. As the game progresses, the number of buttons to be pressed increases.

Simon is named after the simple children's game of Simon Says, but the gameplay is based on Atari's unpopular Touch Me arcade game from 1974. Simon differs from Touch Me in that the Touch Me buttons were all the same color (black) and the sounds it produced were harsh and grating.

Simon's tones, on the other hand, were designed to always be harmonic,[2] no matter what order they were played in, and consisted of an A major triad in second inversion which resembles a Trumpet fanfare:

The re-released version of Simon

Simon was later re-released by Milton Bradley now owned by Hasbro in its original circular form, though with a translucent case rather than plain black. It was also sold as a two-sided Simon Squared version, with the reverse side having eight buttons for head-to-head play, and as a keychain (officially licensed by Fun4All) with simplified gameplay (only having Game 1, Difficulty 4 available). Other variations of the original game, no longer produced, include Pocket Simon and the eight-button Super Simon, both from 1980. Finally, Nelsonic released an official wristwatch version of Simon.[10]

Later versions of the game being sold include a pocket version of the original game in a smaller, yellow, oval-shaped case; Simon Trickster, which plays the original game as well as variations where the colors shift around from button to button (Simon Bounce), where the buttons have no colors at all (Simon Surprise), or where the player must repeat the sequence backwards (Simon Rewind);[11] and a pocket version of Simon Trickster.

In the 2014 version of Simon called Simon Swipe, the notes are as follows:

The swiping sounds are presented with sliding between notes. The bigger the slide, the bigger the swipe will be. The exact notes and sound effects were also used for a smaller version called Simon Micro Series. The sounds were then re-created for Simon Air.


As a popular game, Simon inspired many imitators and knockoffs. Most notably, Atari released a handheld version of Touch Me in 1978, with multicolored buttons and pleasant musical tones. Despite being named for their older arcade game, the handheld Touch Me contained Simon's three game variations and four difficulty levels, albeit with limits of eight, 16, 32, and 99 instead of eight, 14, 20 and 31. Even its button layout mirrored Simon's, with blue in the upper-left, yellow in the upper-right, red in the lower-left, and green in the lower-right, the same layout as Simon turned upside-down. Its only unique features were a LED score display, similar to the one its arcade counterpart had, and its small size, similar to a pocket calculator.

Other clones include:

The same gameplay also appears on multi-game handhelds such as:


Some versions of the game have tones that play as long as you push the button down. Others have a constant time of the sound. Other versions feature audio themes: animals (cat/dog/pig/cow), xylophone, football, galaxy (space sounds), some of which (animals, football) make the game easier to play. Yet others can have sound on/off setting, making the game harder by relying just on visual cues.



  1. 1 2 3 US patent 4207087, Ralph H. Baer & Howard J. Morrison, "Microcomputer controlled game", issued 10 June 1980
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 "Simon Turns 30". Retrieved 4 April 2011.
  3. Simon Stix Game Instructions
  6. New York Toy Fair Simon Swipe
  7. Hasbro 2014 Simon Swipe Instructions
  8. [Simon gets hover-technology in design reboot "Classic 90's Memory Game Simon Gets Hover-Technology in Design Reboot"] Check |url= value (help). Mashable UK.
  9. Liszewski, Andrew. "You Don't Even Have to Touch The New Simon Air To Play". Toyland.
  10. "This content is currently unavailable". Facebook. Archived from the original on December 29, 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  11. "Simon Trickster". Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 6 September 2008.
  12. "Two Player Simon Memory Game With External Switches". Make:Projects. Make: Magazine. Retrieved 21 June 2015.
  13. "Simon says with LPC810" Check |url= value (help). Harmut Wendt. Retrieved 27 October 2014.


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