Guitar Hero has a lot in common with a game called Simon Says that was out in 1978. A player is challenged to match the pattern  Simon Says plays to test their memory using 4 colored lights. Once a player matches the pattern that Simon plays they advance to the next level of even harder patterns.


The earliest incarnation was actually an arcade game released by Atari in the mid-1970s. Called Touch Me and featuring no nudity whatsoever, the stand-up game didn’t cause any ripples. It had a series of four lights that blinked in random patterns and you had to hit buttons to replicate that pattern.

The game’s creator, Ralph Baer, redesigned the game to include simple music tones to match the lights and made the whole thing portable. This was what Milton Bradley marketed as Simon—just like the children’s game of Simon Says—and this version did quite well, starting in 1978.

After the initial success of the game, Milton Bradley released Super Simon in 1979, with dual panels that pitted players against each other. Also available was Pocket Simon for those long rides in the car or on mass transit. Thirty years later, Simon’s appeal hasn’t waned and sales continue to be respectable even in this high tech gaming console era.