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Simon Says...

Nostalgia - it ain't what it used to be! Here's a PIC-based update of a popular game from the 1970's.

By Clive Seagar

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 relatives.


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.

Click for larger image
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 cost.

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.

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