Remember the 70s? The BBC in the UK recently produced a series
of television programs called "I Love 197x". You certainly start to realise your
age when you discover that 1978 was over 25 years ago! The 1978 program made
reference to the cult toy of the year, "Simon", made by MB Games, which was
loved by children and loathed by parents! This was one of the very first
mass-produced electronic games and I remember playing it with friends and
For those too young to remember 1978, the idea behind the Simon
game was quite simple. It was based on the old school playground game "Simon
Says". The game was made up of a big round plastic case with four coloured
panels. Each panel concealed a switch and a light bulb.
This is the original MB "Simon" game from 1978.
At the start of a game, the electronics inside would light up
one of the four panels briefly and sound a tone. The player then had to press
that panel, after which Simon would repeat, lighting the same panel briefly and
adding another. Again, it was the player’s turn. He or she then had to press the
two panels in the correct sequence.
Each round, the number of panels increased by one until the
player could no longer remember the correct sequence. Simon would then issue a
harsh buzz and end the game.
As I watched the TV program, it struck me that this vintage toy
from 1978 could probably be reproduced with a PICAXE microcontroller at very low
So I set myself the task of building my own PICAXE version of
the "Simon Says" game, particularly as I thought it would provide a perfect
example of how to remember sequences in a PICAXE BASIC program, something that
many users find quite difficult.