This article needs to be updated.August 2017)(
|Inventor(s)||Ralph H. Baer and Howard J. Morrison|
|Company||Milton Bradley (now Hasbro)|
|Slogan||My Name Is Simon (1978-present)|
Think fast! Simon says repeat my flashing LIGHTS and SOUNDS (1978-present)
Simon's a computer, Simon has a brain, you either do what Simon says or else go down the drain (1994-1998)
The Fun is in the Challenge! (1993)
Watch, Remember, Repeat! (2014-present)
Simon is an electronic game of memory skill invented by Ralph H. Baer and Howard J. Morrison, working for toy design firm Marvin Glass and Associates, with software programming by Lenny Cope. The device creates a series of tones and lights and requires a user to repeat the sequence. If the user succeeds, the series becomes progressively longer and more complex. Once the user fails or the time limit runs out, the game is over. The original version was manufactured and distributed by Milton Bradley and later by Hasbro after it took over Milton Bradley. Much of the assembly language code was written by 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 were introduced to Atari's arcade game Touch Me at the Music Operators of America (MOA) trade show in 1976. Baer said of the product, "Nice gameplay. Terrible execution. Visually boring. Miserable, rasping sounds." The prototype built by Baer used the low cost Texas Instruments TMS 1000 microcontroller chip, which was in many games of the 1970s. Lenny Cope, who was one of Ralph H. Baer's partners, programmed 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. When they pitched the demo, an 8-by-8-inch console, to the Milton Bradley Company the name of the game was changed to Simon. Simon debuted in 1978 at a retail price of $24.95 (equivalent to $98 in 2019) and became one of the top-selling toys that Christmas.U.S. Patent 4,207,087: "Microcomputer controlled game", was granted in 1980. Milton Bradley soon capitalized on the original with both the smaller-sized Pocket Simon and the expanded, eight-button Super Simon.
Many 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.
In 2005, Hasbro released Simon Trickster (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 instead of buttons. "Simon Classic" mode plays up to 35 tones(notes). "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 becomes the same color and the player has to memorize the location. "Simon Rewind" requires the player to memorize the sequence backwards. During each game, the player is paid a compliment after a certain number of tones completed. On reaching five and eleven tones, the computer will randomly choose "Awesome!", "Nice!", "Sweet!" or "Respect!". On reaching 18 tones, the game will play a victory melody three times. On reaching the ultimate 35 tones, 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 four cube-shaped electronic modules that the player must move around depending on the game mode. Both Yahtzee and Scrabble have also received Flash variants.
In 2013, Hasbro reinvented Simon once again with Simon Swipe. The game was demonstrated at the New York Toy Fair 2014 and released that summer. 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. The game features four game modes, called "Levels" (the main game), "Classic", "Party" and "Extreme". 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 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 followup to Simon Swipe with Simon Air. The game was announced at a Hasbro press conference before the 2016 New York Toy Fair. This version of Simon uses motion sensors, similar to those in Mattel's Loopz line of games. The game has three game modes, "Solo", "Classic" and "Multiplayer". A button-pressing version of Simon was also released in the US, with an aesthetic recalling that of the 1970s and 1980s models. Recently, Hasbro has released Simon Optix, a headset game with a motion sensor technology similar to Simon Air.
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. (This is only one of the games on the device; there are actually other games on the original.)
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 of 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, no matter the sequence, and consisted of an A major triad in second inversion, resembling a trumpet fanfare:
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. Nelsonic released an official wristwatch version of Simon.
Later versions of the game included a pocket version of the original game in a smaller, yellow, oval-shaped case. Another iteration, Simon Trickster, plays the original game as well as variations in which the colors shift around from button to button (Simon Bounce), the buttons have no colors at all (Simon Surprise) and the player must repeat the sequence backwards (Simon Rewind). A pocket version of Simon Trickster was also produced.
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 recreated for Simon Air and Simon Optix.
As a popular game, Simon inspired many imitators and knockoffs. Atari released a handheld version of Touch Me in 1978, with multicolored buttons and pleasant musical tones. Though named for the older arcade game, the handheld Touch Me contained Simon's three game variations and four difficulty levels, albeit with limits of 8, 16, 32 and 99 instead of 8, 14, 20 and 31. Even its button layout mirrored that of Simon (though upside-down), with blue in the upper left, yellow in the upper right, red in the lower left and green in the lower right. Its only unique features were an LED score display, similar to that of its arcade counterpart, and its small size, similar to that of 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 the button is depressed, but others have a constant sound duration. Some versions feature audio themes, such as animals (cat/dog/pig/cow), xylophone, football and space sounds, some of which make the game easier to play. Some versions also have a sound on/off setting, which can make the game harder with only visual cues.
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|url=value (help). wwwhwardoft.de. Harmut Wendt. Retrieved 2014.