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Simon was launched in 1978 at Studio 54 in New York City and became an immediate success. It has become a pop culture symbol of the 1980s.

The game unit has four large buttons, one each of the colors red, blue, green, and yellow. The unit lights these buttons in a sequence, playing a tone for each button; the player must press the buttons in the same sequence. The sequence begins with a single button chosen randomly, and adds another randomly-chosen button to the end of the sequence each time the player follows it successfully. Gameplay ends when the player makes a mistake or when the player wins (by matching the pattern for a predetermined number of tones).

The game has three variations, set by a switch on the front of the case, with a second switch setting one of four difficulty levels.

Simon Says (Game 1) 
The player simply follows along as described above (with four difficulty levels requiring the player to match a sequence of 8, 14, 20, or 31 tones).
Player Says (Game 2) 
The player makes his own sequence at any of the four difficulty levels. Simon chooses the first tone, and then the player can make any sequence he wants.
Choose Your Color (Game 3) 
A multi-player game in which each player takes one or more colors. When Simon presents a pattern, the player must only push his own color in sequence. Hitting your color out of sequence causes it to be eliminated. Simon then starts over with the three remaining colors, then two, and the last player left is the winner.