handheld electronic game
On its surface, SIMON is a simple game. As the name implies, it is based on the child's game "Simon Says" in which players must repeat what the leader does. In this case, though, the leader is a computer that generates a random pattern of sights and sounds on four colored pads. The computer plays the pattern (lighting each pad and playing an accompanying musical note) and players try and repeat it. As long as they're successful, the computer rewards them by lengthening the pattern. But, as the 1978 Milton Bradley catalog forecast, "Eventually your memory will make a slip, and Simon's electronic "razz" will inform you that you've been eliminated." SIMON's intuitive game play has made it an enduringly popular toy since its debut in 1978, with sales in the millions. And yet that simple game play was the result of intense effort by its creators, most notably Ralph Baer working for the independent toy and game design group "Marvin Glass & Associates." Baer already had experience with electronic games as the creator of the Magnavox Odyssey, the first home video game system, and so when he saw a clunky Atari arcade game, Touch Me, at a 1976 show of coin-op arcade devices he decided to create a better version for the home market. Simon was the result. SIMON is one of the most prominent electronic games of the 1970s and early 1980s because it represents the way game designers increasingly integrated computers into their creations. Simon reminds us that not only were electronic games gaining millions of fans through video games like Atari's VCS/2600 system for the home television or the arcade hit Space Invaders, but that people were increasingly playing with toys of all kinds in which computers mediated the play. SIMON helped usher in the present-day dominance of electronic games by using a computer to create a playing experience that even people uncomfortable or unfamiliar with computers could enjoy.
|Manufacturer||Milton Bradley Company|
|Material||printed cardboard | plastic | metal|
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