Fad-Tastic! Simon

    December 8, 2010 at 11:00 am

    There is a reason they are called fads. It’s because they disappeared just as quickly as they blew up in popularity.

    Today’s Subject: Simon

    Simon is an electronic game of memory skill invented by Ralph H. Baer and Howard J. Morrison. Simon was launched in 1978 at Studio 54 in New York City (of all places) and became an immediate success and became a pop culture symbol of the 1980s. 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.

    Some things you might not have known about Simon:

    “Simon is named for the simple children’s game of Simon says, but the gameplay is based on Atari’s unpopular Touch Me arcade game from 1974.” How was a game called “Touch Me” not popular?

    “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.” Well that explains it.

    “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.” Don’t mess with the original.

    “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.” Things I wish I had in high school geometry.

    “As a popular game, it inspired many imitators and knockoffs of the basic concept hoping to cash in on the Simon craze.” Get out! That never happens.

    “There is a Simon Star Wars version featuring R2D2 sounds.” LUCCAASSS!!!!

    “Some versions have tones that play as long as you push the button down. Others have a constant time of the sound.” Depends how long you want to annoy people.

    “Simon appears in American Dad episode The One That Got Away with the family discovering the game and becoming addicted, not moving for days.” Sounds like real life.

    “In a skit in Robot Chicken, Dick Cheney’s heart is replaced with a Simon as a parody of Iron Man.” God bless you Robot Chicken.

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