“Simon’s a computer, Simon has a brain – follow the pattern of light and sounds.”
1978 was the year of electronic games, and none was more addictive or irritating than Simon – a big round lump of plastic with four coloured quarters that flashed and beeped at you.
To win you had to match the sequence, if you got it wrong Simon would growl disapproval at you.
Simon is about the size of a vinyl record album – if, of course, you’re old enough to remember what those look like. The earliest models needed two sizes of batteries (two AAs and one 9-volt) and there were three skill levels to choose from.
The face of the game had four large, coloured panels, and when the game was turned on, the panels began to light up, each with an accompanying tone sounding off.
After the panels lit up, it was the player’s job to press the buttons in the order that the machine chose them. If the player pressed correctly, Simon added one more colour in the sequence and so on and so on. If the player repeated the sequence incorrectly, a horrible buzz would announce his or her demise.
Despite advertisements claiming the contrary, Simon was a single player game, and it wasn’t until 1979 – with the arrival of Super Simon – that families could play properly together.
Perhaps as a result of the ensuing fallout, in 1980 MB Games released Pocket Simon – so you could go and play the game as far away from the rest of the family as possible.
Simon is remembered today as a game with annoying blinking lights and electronic bleeps and boops, but it was the height of technological sophistication at the time.