The Top 20 Music Games of All Time

The history of rhythm gaming, from 'Simon' to 'Rock Band'
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music games rock scott steinberg
Milton Bradley

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1978 – Simon

Behind The Music: Launched on May 15 at Studio 54, this Jurassic forerunner to today’s touch-sensitive Nintendo DS featured four colored buttons and three simple variations on its gameplay. A great memory is crucial – players have to repeat back a randomized or user-created sequence of lights and tones with a simple poke. Named after the child’s game Simon Says and created by Ralph Baer – who also invented home console gaming with the Magnavox Odyssey in 1972 – it quickly became an American institution.

Why It Rocks: Besides single-handedly popularizing handheld electronic entertainment and directly influencing every subsequent system from the Game Boy to the PlayStation Portable (PSP), its pattern-based action formed the basis for nearly all music-themed titles to come.

Did You Know… Not only is Simon still available to buy today, but it makes regular appearances in modern pop culture too. Cartoon shows such as Dexter’s Laboratory, Family Guy and Robot Chicken have made reference to it, and Blizzard’s World Of Warcraft even has two quests where you have to play a life-size version of the game.

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