About Simon Fire Edition

Physical Description:

Simon remains a sweetheart of a game and an enduring pop-culture reference. We look to revive this great game in a playa-compliant arcade fashion, offering the core gameplay but adding flame, sound and light effects. No carnival is complete without an arcade for rubes and carnies alike.

This Simon project evokes the structure of the original hand-held console. That is, the four towers of the simon project will be laid out in a 20-30’ diameter circle, evoking the buttons of classic Simon. During game play the towers will light up with the colors of the Simon game (red, green, blue, yellow); play 8-bit chiptunes taken from classic arcade games; and generate coordinated aerial flame effects.

Participants interact with Simon at the console, located at the center of the circle, placing them at both the focal point and helm of the art piece. The console is crafted from a recycled 55 gallon drum set upright and elevated to counter-height, again evoking the circular design of the original Simon hand-held. Game play buttons, are acrylic. They are transparent with capacitive touch sensors for ruggedness (no moving parts; sealed!). The buttons are Laser-etched with a 3D fire pattern and are illuminated with addressable RGB LEDs. The entire top-surface is clear acrylic, allowing participants full view of the touch sensors, microcontrollers and the electronics required to coordinate light, sound, and flame effects on the towers. In the spirit of the “Carnival of Mirrors”, the participants have full view of the the internals of the Simon art project.

Each tower will have the dimensions 3 ft W x 6ft L * 15 ft H. They will each have a secured metal base, atop which will be foldable rigid origami paneling crafted from 16 gauge metal with kevlar hinging. A propane accumulator will be stored within each tower base and plumbed to the tip of the origami paneling. Each base has 50 meters of RGB LEDs wrapped around the propane accumulator which will be defused by semi-opaque acrylic panels wrapping the entirety of the base. RGB LED Spots will also be used to project light to the underside of the origami paneling. Towers are designed to be configureable into multiple positions for maximum effect and utility to players. Each tower will have a rear support leg allowing for a higher degree of concussive force distribution when standing solo; the leg is removeable for placing towers together in a combined base configuration.


Simon’s Default game play is a memory game. The player must mimic a pattern of light and sound from 8-31 steps based on the difficulty setting. The console has 4 touch activated buttons that glow with Simon’s primary colors. The system shows a building sequence of patterns that the user repeats in a call and response pattern. As the player gets more of the sequence correct Simon exhibits more responses: encouraging sounds, short bursts of fire and flashing lights. No participant leaves without reward, but the most extravagant rewards are doled out to those who complete the most difficult patterns. In addition to Default game play, we may implement Reverse Mode (Player sets the pattern, Simon follows), Direct Mode (Simon is a grandiose drum machine… with fire) and the multi-player mode of “Choose your color”.  These extra modes are tiered stretch goals that would improve the replayability of the experience.

When the player wins the four towers shoot independent flame effects (“poofs”) towards the Console where the player is standing at height of 25’ above ground (NFPA compliance for audience proximity and heat incidence). The bursts of flame are coordinated with the selected winning music, a percussive whoosh accenting the bleeps of the chiptunes. The Console features speakers and a subwoofer for music playback, and each tower reinforces the audio with inward-facing speakers. Each tower changes colors and emits sounds. Everyone surrounding the project knows the player won.

An optional feature is the art car resonator mode. By adding microphones and spectral analysis equipment we can make Simon respond to the sound systems of approaching art cars. Simon would engage its fire and lighting systems to welcome new participants and encourage riders to get off and play.

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