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"Simon Says" Mini-Game

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Okay... Repeat after me!

"To release the imprisoned bird, you must watch the sequence of lights, and then repeat it exactly using the directions on the Control Pad. It seems like a waste of time to me. Why can't these game developers come up with something more interesting?"

A Mini-Game that presents the player a sequence of buttons and challenges them to memorize it and repeat it. Usually this must be done multiple times, with each sequence adding one or more buttons. It may not involve button presses directly, but rather requires the player to memorize some combination of actions. For example, you may have to press a group of differently-colored switches in the order they light up or kill a group of mooks in the order they first appear.

This often involves a musical motif with the Player Character playing a musical instrument and the button presses each representing a musical note. In any case, this can be something of a Moon Logic Puzzle for people with poor short term memories. Thankfully, you can usually cheat using a pen and paper.

Note that this Mini Game isn't quite like the children's game Simon Says, as there is no trick of losing if an action isn't prefaced with some special denotation. Still, most people associate the game with repetition, so these mini games are often likened to Simon Says. They also bear a strong resemblance to the electronic game Simon from the early 80s, which was itself named after Simon Says.

A more difficult variant makes this into a Rhythm Game by presenting the sequence with specific timings and requiring the player to match them.

Not to be confused with Action Commands or Press X to Not Die. Compare Memory Match Mini-Game for another type of mini-game that tests your memory.


Examples:

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    Live-Action TV 
  • One of the challenges in the GSN game show Dog Eat Dog. A wrong press of a button flung the contestant backward into the pool, resulting in time lost to get out and return to the panel.
  • Many of the "events" (read: stunts) on the Nickelodeon Game Show Think Fast required teams to take turns building a sequence in this manner, adding one each time. The first team to mess up lost. Examples included entering numbers on a giant push-button phone, throwing different colored paint balloons at one's partner, and patting the backs of three "gross uncles" to cause them to belch.
  • Some games on Family Game Night follow suit:
    • Cranium Piano (Star Performer): Teams take turns stepping on colorful piano keys on the floor screen, adding more notes for each new turn. The kids' rounds require one new note each turn, the adults' rounds two (but the points are doubled).
    • Simon Flash: Families wear giant cubes, which can change colors after every turn, around their bodies. A color sequence is shown and the families must reorder themselves to match the sequence and score a point. First team to five points wins.
  • Play With Me Sesame used a Fake Interactivity version called "Ernie Says".
  • In Sesame Street: Elmo's Playdate, Elmo plays "Elmo Says" with the viewers at home and the visitors he's talking to on camera.

    Toys 
  • A closer Trope Namer than the children's game of Simon Says is the 1978 game Simon from Milton Bradley, which had colored buttons and musical sound effects.
  • A game called "Bop-It" is a strange-looking plastic gizmo that calls out actions that the player has to perform on the object like pressing a button, pulling levers, or twisting the object. Its main mode is just doing the correct actions as they are called, though another mode is directly Simon.
  • "Brain Warp" tasks the player with repeating commands one at a time, by rotating the toy so that the called color or number is oriented upward. One mode involves memorization and repetition: The first player chooses a first move, the second player repeats that move and adds a second move, the third player repeats the first two moves and adds a third, and so on.

    Video Games 
  • If a Rhythm Game isn't about responding to incoming prompts or maintaining a beat, it's most likely this trope. Their variant of the trope also requires the player to copy both inputs and timing. Examples include Space Channel 5 and the Rhythm Heaven franchise.
  • The piano puzzle in The 7th Guest. The tune turns out to be the game's main theme.
  • One The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius flash game, "New Dog, Old Tricks", is based on the pilot short of the same name. In this game, Goddard must copy the tricks that Humphrey performs, which is done when the buttons at the bottom of the screen are pressed in the correct order. If Goddard misses a move, he plays dead.
  • Alien Hominid had one miniboss that was like this. Hit the wrong color and you got zapped to death and had to repeat the process.
  • Animal Jam had one during the November 2023 "Lightside Vs. Darkside" event, in which you had to repeat sequences of up to 10 crystals lighting up to contribute points to your chosen side.
  • Aquaria has a Simon Says Mini-Boss, requiring you to sing the notes that match the sequence the miniboss indicates with its eyestalks. It goes up to eight notes and each round is on a very short timer but the reward is a third ingredient slot, enabling you to craft a much wider variety of Power-Up Food on the fly.
  • Banjo-Kazooie:
    • In Bubblegloop Swamp, Banjo and Kazooie have to Ground Pound the "Tiptup Choir" members in the same order as these sing their respective notes. The session is divided in three rounds: Six notes in the first, seven in the second, eight in the third.
    • In Mad Monster Mansion, Banjo and Kazooie have to Ground Pound the notes Motzand is playing on the Ominous Pipe Organ located inside the chapel.
  • In Beauty and the Beast: A Board Game Adventure, the "Poochy Paw Prints" mini-game has Sultan jump on the upholstery, getting muddy paw prints on them. Fifi must clean the paw prints up by jumping on the upholstery in the same order that Sultan did.
  • Bionic Commando Rearmed: The Fabricator bosses have a phase where the player needs to stand in the center of an arch and use their extending bionic arm to block spikes launched in sequence, as indicated by lights around the arch, before the boss' weak point is exposed. The Leader's helicopter also has a phase where it launches missiles in sequence, and the player has to anticipate which direction to block from.
  • The deadly "manicure" scene in Brain Dead 13 is probably this... sort of. And you can tell by the way Vivi's clumsy fingers point in the direction of her next strike of her butcher knife on the chopping block table after her previous, failed one, which tells you that you have to quickly move Lance's hand away at the opposite direction of the way she swings the knife to avoid getting his hand chopped off. For example, if her finger points right on her first failed attempt, his hand must move left on her next attempt. The next sequence follows: Her finger —> down, his hand —> up; her finger —> left, his hand —> right; etc. After her repeated failed attempts, she will tire and say, "Hmmm... this don't look very sharp," thus ending the "manicure".
  • In Brave Fencer Musashi, the boss battle against Topo is a dancing contest that's one of these. In addition to repeating the sequence, you have to maintain roughly the same tempo. Make a mistake and a row of fans blows you into an electric field.
  • Chrono Trigger has a plot-relevant mini-game that gives you a perfect replica of the main character to replace him at the moment of his Plotline Death and undo it. Fortunately, during the one time it's plot-relevant, you can still continue if you fail...assuming you don't mind parting with a large sum of money.
  • Densetsu no Stafy 3: To help you unlock some of the doors in Coral Coast, Moe indicates the order in which to hit three pieces of coral as a code.
  • Disney's Hide & Sneak: Near the end of the game, the player character is required to jump on the colored pillars based on Lu-Lu's prompts across three rounds in a row. If succeeded, a giant UFO arrives to take her back to her home planet.
  • Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!: There are thirteen secret areas (found by exploring unmarked areas on the map) where you have to play a memory game to free a Banana Bird from its crystal prison. The more Banana Birds you rescue, the longer the sequence of button presses you need to memorize to rescue the next one.
  • Donkey Kong 64: One of Lanky Kong's golden bananas is earned this way in the Frantic Factory level, requiring him to Ground Pound the multicolored notes on a piano.
  • How the Dragon Rushes work in Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3. If you press the same button as your opponent, the Rush ends early.
  • Earlier games in the Dream Chronicles series contain these in some form, often based on music instruments.
  • Earthworm Jim 2's underwater level has a Simon Says game at the exit. There are 4 pinball bumpers with ridiculous sound effects and you must repeat the sequence played. It starts at a one note sequence then gradually builds to 12 notes. The level exit appears when you finally fail, but the power up presented depends on how far you go before failing.
  • Eternal Sonata has a part that's sort of like this, but with some of the level between each sequence. The buttons are keys on a keyboard, and you play part of a song. It's part of Chopin's Nocturne.
  • In the third Exmortis, this must be solved to gain access to a Cannibal's hideout. A set of traffic lights flash in a pattern to be used in a 4-color keypad, and an old "Don't Walk" sign changes to "Walk" when the puzzle is solved. The minigame can last for up to ten rounds, and failing three times results in the player falling into a Pit Trap.
  • Garfield Lasagna Party:
    • In the "Perfect Profile" mini-game, the player must press the right button at the right time to strike the corresponding pose and win points.
    • The "Cats' Band" mini-game involves the players playing their instruments atop a fence. Pressing the right buttons at the right time will earn the players points.
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets for the Game Boy Color had a DDR-style minigame with this sort of gameplay featuring Harry and Professor Flickwick, resulting in the amusing images of Harry doing things like shaking his tush at the screen or breakdancing on his head. In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone on the Game Boy Advance, Harry learns spells by copying his professor's wand movements. The Game Boy Color version of Philosopher's Stone also requires you to copy Flitwick's wand movements to learn Wingardium Leviosa.
  • In Inca, this serves as one of the late-game puzzles, where a pan pipe plays while sunlight refracted through a prism shows colors on a crystal in the foreground. The colors are a lie, only the sounds matter.
  • An area of the I Wanna Kill the Kamilia 3 plays like one, and in true Kamilia fashion it's much harder than the standard. Right off the bat, you have to jump forward to avoid getting hit by the spikes the conveyor is running you towards, all while clicking on a vinyl record with eight differently-colored buttons, each of which produces a unique tone when they light up. After repeating a few melodies, each of which add another note onto the last, the buttons stop lighting up and you have to go entirely by tone. And then the record starts turning...
  • The Legend of Zelda
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: A Heart Piece is earned by playing a game of this with the Skull Kids in the Lost Woods, requiring you to memorize musical notes and play them back using the titular ocarina. The frog choir's game (active after receiving their first Heart Piece) is similar, but much harder, as you have to match up every note as it is played; fortunately, the sequence is fixed.
    • Also used during the Goron Dance mini-game in Oracle of Ages. You're given very little margin for error, and it must be completed multiple times. Oracle Of Seasons featured it too, but there was much more room for error.
    • Cadence of Hyrule has this as a Running Gag, where the player has to repeat classic Zelda tunes to wake up sleeping characters.
  • LEGO Harry Potter: In the "Dragons" level from Goblet of Fire, a dragon breathes out coloured notes, which the player has to repeat by levitating a mallet on to coloured bars.
  • Light Crusader features some doors that only open after the player goes through a few rounds of "hit these things in the exact order they light up."
  • Mario & Luigi:
    • In an underwater section of Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, five torches were ignited in a certain order, and then extinguished. Mario had to relight the torches in the same order.
    • Done a few times in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team.
      • The first time is merely a really simple puzzle with blocks in the Pi'illo Castle basement, but later certain bosses will telegraph their attacks like this, with them moving a bunch of laser sights in a certain order and then afterwards shooting in the directions indicated.
      • Also, the Bye Bye Cannon attack in general, where you have to watch the order that Mario and Luigi are shot into the air and hit the right button when they land afterwards to do damage. Even more so for the Mad Skillathon mini game for this move, in which you've got to memorize increasingly long sequences of falling Marios and Luigis while the room for error gets less and less each time.
  • Mario Party:
    • Mario Party: The aptly-named minigame Shy Guy Says. The four players are mounting barrels tied to a pirate ship led by a Shy Guy in the sea. The players are instructed to raise the same colored flag as that raised by the Shy Guy. If a player raises the wrong flag or doesn't raise any, the Shy Guy will cut the rope that ties their barrel with the ship, which leaves them adrift as they move away; if the Shy Guy raises both colored flags, the players must wait until he lowers one, as that means only the other colored flag has to be raised. The minigame continues until only one player remains.
    • Mario Party 2: The minigame Shy Guy Says returns from the first game, and once again the characters have to raise the same color of flag as the leading Shy Guy. The difference is the setting, as the characters are now floating in the skies with balloons instead of sailing the seas.
    • Mario Party 3: The minigame The Beat Goes On is a rare variation where each character acts as the "Simon" to the next in line. All four characters are atop large lily pads that float in a jungle lake and come with a set of three drums. In the center, a Shy Guy plays four drum beats, each being associated to a controller button. The first player must repeat those same beats (matching not only the correct button but also the right timing) and then play an extra one with a button of their choice. The second player must then repeat those five drum beats and, at the end, play a sixth one with any button. The third player must then replicate those six beats and then add a seventh, and so on. And at all times, save for the Shy Guy's initial drum beats, the button marks will be covered out of sight, making it increasingly difficult to memorize the sequence as it grows larger. If a player presses the wrong button during a beat or their timing is off, they'll be disqualified. When only one player remains, the minigame ends and that player wins; but if more than one player remains by the time the sequence reaches 16 drum beats, it ends in a draw and nobody will win.
    • Mario Party 6: The minigame Control Schtick has all characters standing on hovering platforms while looking at a special screen managed by two Goombas. The screen shows a glove-wearing hand counting down from three before showing two arrows, indicating the directions they must follow with their hands (which wear orange gloves) to show a specific pose; the player tilts the standard Control Stick to respond to the arrow from the left side, and the yellow C Stick to respond to the arrow from the right side. As time passes, the countdown will pass faster and the instructed directions will require being followed more quickly, leading eventually to a player either moving at the wrong directions or not reacting quickly enough, resulting in their elimination. The last player remaining wins, but if at any point all characters fail, they'll be eliminated and the minigames will end in a tie.
    • Mario Party 7: The minigame Shock Absorbers (not the same one from Mario Party 5) has eight characters encased in electrical chambers with three buttons each (placed respectively at the left, right and top). The game will then make a button glow yellow, and that button has to be pressed quickly by each character in their chamber; the next button will then glow and have to be pressed as well. After a while, all three buttons will glow red, indicating that the characters have to duck to dodge an electrical discharge. If a character fails to dodge that discharge, presses an unlit button or takes too long to press any, they'll be electrocuted and disqualified. As time passes, the buttons will glow faster, thus requiring quicker reflexes. The minigame ends when one or both characters from a team are the last left, and victory will count for both of them; but if the last remaining characters are electrocuted at the same time, the minigame will end in a tie.
    • Mario Party DS:
      • The minigame Sweet Sleuth has a Shy Guy ask the players for candies, which are initially placed in a dish. During 30 seconds, the Shy Guy will ask for a candy of a particular color, shape and wrapper pattern; thus, each character has to keep an eye on the candies placed in the dish to give him the right one and score a point apiece. Whoever gets the highest score after time runs out wins; if two characters get the same score in Duel mode, the minigame ends in a tie.
      • The boss mini-game Hammer Chime, which pits the player against Hammer Bro, involves matching his drum beats to send back an attack to deal damage.
    • Mario Party 10: The 1 vs. Rivals minigame Steal The Beat has one player use the A and 2 buttons to play a sequence of beats on a pair of drums, after which the other players must copy the sequence they played. The team can only make a combined total of a certain number of mistakes (seven with two players, or ten with three), but if the team can make it through three rounds without messing up too much, they win.
    • Mario Party: Star Rush: Mega Blooper's Bayside Bop is an unusual boss minigame in that the players don't attack Mega Blooper at all. Each "round" begins with a group of Bloopers bouncing a beach ball from one side of the screen to the other, with one Blooper for each character currently present. The Bloopers bounce the ball at different heights, creating different amounts of delay between each bounce. Once the Bloopers finish the sequence, the player characters must bounce the ball with the same timing that they were shown, with each character getting one chance to bounce the ball. If they press the A button with the correct timing, they will score points. If they miss the timing, they will stumble and get no points. This keeps going until the bar on the right fills up, at which point the minigame ends.
    • Mario Party: The Top 100: Several minigames of this nature are brought back, and often involve pressing a button or pad/stick direction that is being dictated by someone or something (or, alternatively, avoid pressing that button or direction). There isn't a specific category for these minigames, but most of them are either in Skill (like Shy Guy Says from 1) or Brainy (like The Beat Goes On from 3).
  • In the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of Mass Effect, this is how you hack into any piece of electronics that litters the world. The PC version replaces this with something that actually looks slightly sophisticated. Players that didn't feel like doing it again could instead bypass it by spending omnigel.
  • Mega Man & Bass has these in Astro Man's level. A gun will fire at you if you make an error.
  • Melatonin uses the Rhythm Game version of this trope, where replicating the actions and timing of the cues is necessary:
    • In "Dream About Exercise", the player has to replicate the instructor's movements of lifting the left, right, or both weights at the same time.
    • In "Dream About the Future", beams appear in the distance, signaling aliens appearing on the left, right, middle, or left and right. Once they approach, the player has to blast them in the correct pattern.
  • Metal Arms: Glitch in the System has one part where the eponymous Glitch must pretend to be a spy-bot during calibration tests. Various movement and rotation instructions are given, and three mistakes earn a ticket to the shredder. Sadly, going ballistic with a weapon isn't an option.
  • Multiple Nancy Drew games include mini-games like this, but the best example is The Haunting of Castle Malloy, which has a drum minigame that even looks like a Simon toy.
  • Ōkami has the Blockhead encounters: Attack one to see a sequence of weak points appear, then dot over the weak points in the same order to actually defeat it. Many players didn't initially realize that the order matters, which can add to the frustration of trying to take down the already infamous Blockhead Grande for his Stray Bead.
  • The Oregon Trail (2009) has a "telegraph" minigame at each fort, in which you repeat sequences of 4 buttons that spark. The telegraph minigame is the primary way of making money in this game.
  • Parappa The Rapper plays this trope straight at surface level, but if you "freestyle" by adding extra inputs while keeping with the original rhythm, the game puts you into "Cool" mode, where the instructor steps away and lets you take the reins and sentence-mix to your heart's content. This lets you rack up a higher score than you would by playing normally. But if you mash with no sense of rhythm (at the game's discretion), you slip back into normal gameplay as the instructor jumps back in.
  • The Pinocchio Licensed Game for Sega Genesis and Super NES has Stromboli's Marionette Show, where Pinocchio must imitate sequences of dance moves demonstrated by other puppets (using controls unique to this level) or else suffer Produce Pelting.
  • Pitfall The Mayan Adventure has a similar game involving pull-levers in some bonus levels.
  • Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2: One of the four Trials of Gnomus is named the Trial of Recollection, and it is divided into four rounds: in each round is a gate with a sequence in it, before a large amount of panels with similar symbols. The player must jump on the panels in the order shown in the gate or be blown up and forced to try again. The kicker? You're only given about fifteen seconds for each round, memorization and plataforming combined, and the last two rounds have seven symbols to follow. Completing any of the four trials rewards you with an eight-symbol code, enabling you to challenge an Optional Boss who drops a cypher based on the first code which reveals a part of yet another code. The Timeless Ones are just like that. Did we mention that the symbols in question are the complex shapes of various lawn-related items such as flamingos and lawmowers, all in the same light blue color? Have fun!
  • The Mini-Game "Clefairy Says" in Pokémon Stadium, pictured above.
  • In Potion Permit, one of the minigames during diagnosis has you repeating the order which the arrows light up.
  • RuneScape has several of these:
    • The first room in the 2010 Christmas event required players to tap the icicles in the order they light up.
    • The Artisan's Workshop in Falador and the Serenity Pillars in Prifddinas both work this way. You can still gain experience without doing what the leader says, but it's a much slower rate.
    • The Summer Beach Party seasonal event has two:
      • In the sandcastle activity, players must work on the highlighted sculpture to gain the maximum Construction experience.
      • In the bodybuilding activity, players must perform the correct exercuse to gain the maximum Strength experience.
    • In the Three's Company saga, Ariane must touch some magical crystals in the correct order to free Sir Owen and Ozan.
    • One puzzle in Dungeoneering requires the player to play "follow the leader" with a living statue to unlock the doors in that room. An incorrect action will cause the player to take damage and force them to start over.
    • Several random events had this mechanic. Random events were later removed from the main game but are still playable in Old School RuneScape.
  • One of the games in The Secret Island of Dr. Quandary, "Ape the Ape", has you memorize and repeat an ever-increasing number of steps in order to win a cup of "gobblety-goo" from Sir William Apespeare.
  • In Shadowrun Returns: Hong Kong, the first step in hacking a Blocker IC in the Matrix is a "Simon Says" style mini-game using a numberpad. Each successful repeat (up to nine) adds time to the clock, with the sequence increasing in length from four to seven for the final attempt. Messing it up subtracts a bit of time and the sequence is changed. The player can skip to the second step at any point during this, going back to complete it if they need more time.
  • The Simpsons Game used this, requiring the player to play back the Simpson's theme in order to gain access to Matt Groening's mansion.
  • The Sly Cooper series has a few instances.
    Mz. Ruby: If you repeat what I do, you'll dodge it just fine. If not, you'll get zapped!
    Sly: A little voodoo Simon Says, huh? Sounds easy enough.
  • In Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly, one mini-game involves Spyro watching a tiki band play their drums and then repeating the drum beat back to earn a dragonfly.
  • Stardew Valley: Near the Tiger Slime Grove on Ginger Island is a cave with colored crystals. Interacting with the statue in the back initiates a Simon Says game where the crystals light up and play notes which must be repeated.
  • In Stubbs the Zombie, the showdown with the Chief of Police takes the form of a dance-off where you have to repeat his moves. Seems he wasn't joking when he said he was going to dance on Stubbs' grave.
  • Super Beat Sports: Downplayed in Gobble Golf which shows each sequence and then gives the player two chances to match everything in it. Each target lights up ahead of time during the player's turn, but having the sequence in mind ahead of time makes it easier.
  • Toontown Online: The Match Minnie trolley game requires toons to repeat the sequence of arrow key inputs that Minnie gives them. Each key has a different musical instrument sound associated with it, and each round increases the length of the sequence, going up to eight inputs.
  • Toontown: Corporate Clash: One trolley game involves an NPC doing a sequence of dance moves, which you have to repeat. More moves are added on to the sequence as the minigame goes on. Major Player can also weaponize this same mechanic as one of his attacks.
  • The Ur-Example of this may be the 1974 Atari Touch Me arcade game, making this Older Than the NES.
  • In Tweety and the Magic Gems, the "Raise the Flags" mini-game involves your character pressing the A and B buttons to raise the respective green and red flags when they appear onscreen. A total of twenty flags appear one by one. You lose if you raise the flag too late or raise the flag of the wrong color.
  • In Untitled Goose Game, the two ladies sharing a table at the pub will play with the Goose by miming the actions they want to see (honk, bow, and flap). Play along, and they'll give the Goose a flower.
  • The WALL•E computer game uses a simple challenge of this style to open some of the doors.
  • WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$: One of Jimmy T.'s microgames has you perform dancing moves in the directions indicated by the fingers of your master.
  • The subgame to Veggie Guardin' in Wii Play: Motion, where the player must whack moles in the correct sequence.
  • Wishbone and the Amazing Odyssey: After getting the first door open for Aeolus's tower on Thrinacia, Wishbone has to add the lyre he got from Tiresias to the second door and then listen to it play a set of strings, repeating them three times before that door will open.

    Other 
  • Stampy's Lovely World: "Stampy Says" is just a Simon Says mini-game made to work in default Minecraft. The consequences are much more lethal than simply being eliminated from the round, however, in that a player gets dropped into a magma pool and is forced to walk across the magma to get out and restart.
  • Before each showing of World of Color at Disney's California Adventure, a game called the Fun Wheel Challenge is played. Guests connect to a Wi-Fi network on their phones and play Simon Says... with the lights on Mickey's Fun Wheel as Simon. The winner gets to switch between one of four light patterns for a short time.

 
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Video Example(s):

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Disney's Hide and Sneak

Near the end of the game, either Mickey or Minnie must repeat Lu-Lu's prompts through the colored pillars three times in a row. If they miss a cue, they must start again from the beginning.

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Main / SimonSaysMiniGame

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