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In the closet
“Simon is a computer. Simon has a brain. You either do what Simon says or else go down the drain.” – The Simon slogan, 1978
A computer, yes, in an 80’s sense, I suppose. A brain well, actually, it has a Texas Instruments SN75494N for that. But it was a great game – host to many get-togethers and birthday parties.
Simon was released in 1978 by Milton Bradley. Invented by Ralph Baer and Howard Morrison, the story goes that the huge popularity of Simon was spurred on by the movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” which was released at the same time.
Since its release, there have been untold copycats of the game, including online versions.
Still good fun and remarkably simple, one can still get Simon new even today – 30 years later.
Here we have Simon as it would appear in your closet, under the couch, or wherever games are found in your place.
Notice in yellow print “A Computer Controlled Game”. Funny how that was a selling point then. Now it’s a given.
Instructions on the inside box cover – do new games still do that? I instinctively look at the inside cover of the box for instructions, and my kids look at me like I am some kind of freak.
Notice the battery requirements. One set for the lights, another for the logic board, I believe.
Our specimen is in particularly good shape. Hardly ever used, it seems. How many others suffered that fate…?
Nice close up of the control panel.
Simon facedown. Only four small screws to remove. Note the battery compartments. The unit might blow away if it weren’t for the 6 lbs of batteries in it.
After the carnage
After I removed the screws and lifted the top off, the switch covers went flying ( green arrow in back ). I had expected that they were connected to the cover but alas, I was mistaken.
The first view of the inside. Note that the red and yellow buttons all float loose inside there – only the case holding them.
All the screws and switches
Here the green arrows show the four mounting points for the logic board, and the red arrows show the switch for each of the big buttons. The same type of switch lies beneath the small red and yellow buttons.
Technically, these may not be called switches – they may be called something else, but I don’t know what.
The underside of one of the small buttons. Since the switches/contacts were the same for these as the big buttons, it stands to reason that they would use the same little rubber bumpers as seen here.
A closeup of one of the 7 switches. These are remarkably flimsy looking to me. I expected to see something much more robust for the beating that these would take.
Side view of a bulb. Just the minimum here again. This must be why they tell you in the inside cover of the box that some things may get shaken loose during shipping. It doesn’t take much to get one of these bulbs out.
When I saw that they included a spare bulb, I was really very impressed. However, when I told Chuck, a co-worker, he was not impressed. He told me that he had to replace a couple of his.
The Texas Instruments SN75494N. From what I’ve read/googled, this chip was designed to interface with an LED display.
I could not find anything at all on this chip. The only number that returned anything was MB4850. But no information beyond that.
Screws n more
Removing the screws to get that board up.
Side view of how the main board sits up on “stilts”.
The bottom of the main board, once removed.
I thought this was kind of ingenious how they made the board pick up the power from the batteries by mounting it directly on the contacts.
A closer look at the bottom of the board. Notice the red arrows that point out the POS and NEG poles. I’m not sure why they would need that, as you can’t put it in backwards – unless for testing – which would have probably been done manually in those days.