In the late 70’s, a wondrous invention burst onto the scene in the form of an electronic game simply known as Simon. This name comes from the analog kids game where an little autocratic leader is chosen to shout out orders that should only be performed if preceded by the phrase “Simon Says.”  The gameplay for this, however, was based on an extremely unpopular early 70’s arcade game from Atari which was unfortunately named “Touch Me.” To play Simon, you had to memorize a sequence of flashing colored lights and sounds and then repeat it by pressing the buttons in the correct order. More colors would be added to the sequence and the game would get progressively longer, faster and more complex until it felt like your brain might explode. Or, worse, if you messed up and pressed the wrong button, you’d get a terrifying “RAZZ” sound that made it seem as if the machine was angry at your incompetence and actually attempting to electrocute you. It was super fun!

These days, this game still shows up as an icon of the late 70’s and 80’s. It actually premiered at the infamous Studio 54 in New York for the first time, so it was pretty much destined to be a piece of pop culture. Since then, there have been a myriad of new variations, but you can still get one close to this original version today. There are even pocket versions available. I had a version called “Pocket Simon” in the 80’s, but back then it was just another word for portable. You really couldn’t fit anything labeled “pocket-sized” into your trousers, unless you happened to be wearing M.C. Hammer pants. Which I never wore, because I was still a bit chubby then, and already worried that my hips looked too much like a girl’s. But it was still cool to have a version you could easily jam into your backpack, at least.

I think playing this game helped give me a good memory later in life. I always found memorization easy in school, but sometimes to a fault as I could ace a test and have absolutely no clue what the subject was even about. This never happened with topics I was actually interested in, thankfully. But I loved trying to beat this game and play through a complete 31 signal sequence. If you made it that far, according to the instructions, you would blow Simon’s mind and memory and he would “RAZZ” himself. That all sounds incredibly sinister looking back now, but it’s another of those wonderful childhood memories I cherish. Life can get so hectic and seem complex, but there was always that wonderful time in our lives when none of that mattered. Can you remember?

Join us for the January Doodlewash Adventure: Childhood Memories,
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About the Doodlewash

Sennelier L’Aquarelle: Indian Yellow, Dioxazine Purple, Sennelier Red, Red Orange, Quinacridone Gold, Cobalt Turquoise, Phthalocyanine Blue, Ultramarine Deep, Payne’s Grey. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon with black ink in a little red cloth hardbound l’aquarelle journal I found in a Paris shop.
 Day 6 - Simon Game Electronic Original Vintage Game from 70's 1978
Posted by:Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash)

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world!

19 replies on “Can You Remember?

  1. I don’t remember this game, Charlie… but I like your colorful Doodlewash! 😍🎨👍 However, I do remember the MC Hammer pants! I created a bird wearing them awhile back…I know this shocks you! Haha! 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great stuff! These retro toys are so much fun! I didn’t have a Simon – though I think my siblings might have – but one of the first apps I got for my iPod was a recreation of this. I don’t think I ever beat it, so iSimon reigned supreme!

    I vaguely recall my friend having a Bop It, which I think was/is a pretty similar concept? They just added the ‘twist’ of having funky bits to twist and spin instead of buttons to press.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A perfect rendition of Simon, Charlie. For teachers, Simon was a terrific class assistant. Kids with attention difficulties and certain learning dysfunctions were able to interact successfully with Simon. It helped them stay focused and they believed they were achieving a goal, which they were. I don’t know if that was the intent of the game, (probably making money was tops on their list) but it serviced a lots of kids who needed that little extra element to help them learn.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Sharon! 😃💕 That’s such a wonderful thing to hear! I really does help with attention problems and memory I think… at least it helped me. Actually, I think the original developers did have some of that in mind, but since then, it’s just been about the money, of course.

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  4. I remember, and I reminisce about those simpler times often. I had forgotten the terrifying loud Razz that made me so startled – just like when all the Perfection pieces would pop out if I wasn’t fast enough. It’s making my heart race just thinking about it! Great doodlewash and memories, Charlie 😍

    Liked by 1 person

  5. When I saw this post earlier, Charlie, I had to smile. First coincidence of the New Year. Why? Well, I was thinking back to my schooldays the other day, and a boy called Simon which then brought this game to mind… and now here it is again! Fabulous! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

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