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Simon Says

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Children playing Simon Says with "Simon" (the controller) in the foreground

Simon Says is a children's game for three or more players. One player takes the role of "Simon" and issues instructions (usually physical actions such as "jump in the air" or "stick out your tongue") to the other players, which should be followed only when succeeding the phrase "Simon says". Players are eliminated from the game by either following instructions that are not immediately preceded by the phrase, or by failing to follow an instruction which does include the phrase "Simon says". It is the ability to distinguish between genuine and fake commands, rather than physical ability, that usually matters in the game; in most cases, the action just needs to be attempted.

The object for the player acting as Simon is to get all the other players out as quickly as possible; the winner of the game is usually the last player who has successfully followed all of the given commands. Occasionally, however, two or more of the last players may all be eliminated at the same time, thus resulting in Simon winning the game.

The game is embedded in popular culture, with numerous references in films, music, and literature.

Other languages[edit]

This game has translated across multiple cultures from seemingly common routes and some international versions also use the name Simon such as:

  • Afrikaans: "Kolonel Bevel" ("Colonel commands")
  • Arabic: for example :"نبيلة قالت هاكا" "(Algeria) Nabila said like so or "قال المعلّم" ("The teacher says", Lebanon) and "سلمان يقول" ("Salman says", Iraq)
  • Basque: "Buruak dio" or "Buruzagiak dio" (The leader says), or "Unaik dio" (Unai says)
  • Bengali: "নেতা বলেছেন" ("The leader says")
  • Cantonese Chinese: "老師話" ("The teacher says")
  • Czech: "Simon říká" (or with similar rules "Všechno lítá, co peří má")
  • Danish: "Simon siger", "Kongen befaler"
  • Dutch: "Simon zegt", "Commando" (the Dutch noun for "command"), or "Jantje zegt" ("Johnny says") in Flemish parts of Belgium
  • Esperanto: "Zamenhof diris" (Zamenhof said)
  • Finnish: "Kapteeni käskee" ("The captain commands")
  • French: "Jacques a dit" ("Jack said") in France, or "Jean dit" ("John says") in Quebec
  • Filipino: "Sabi ni Simon"
  • German: "Kommando Pimperle" (or with similar rules "Alle Vögel fliegen hoch")
  • Greek: "Ο Σιμών λέει" ('O Simón léi')
  • Hausa: "Malam Kiri"
  • Hebrew: "הרצל אמר" ("Herzl said") or "המלך אמר" ("The King said")
  • Hungarian: "Simon mondja"
  • Icelandic: "Símon segir"
  • Indonesian: "Simon Bilang"
  • Irish: "Deir Síomón"
  • Italian: “Simone Dice”
  • Japanese: "船長さんの命令" ('Senchō-san no meirei', "Ship Captain's orders")
  • Korean: "시몬 가라사대" ("Simon says")
  • Kurdish: "مام سلێمان دەڵێت" ("Uncle Solomon(Sulayman) says")
  • Marathi: "शिवाजी महाराज म्हणाले" ("Shivaji Maharaj says")
  • Mandarin Chinese: "老师说" (Lǎoshīshuō, "The teacher says")
  • Norwegian: "Kongen befaler" ("The king commands")
  • Polish: "Szymon mówi" (the native counterpart is "Ojciec Wirgiliusz", Father Virgil)
  • Portuguese: "O rei manda" ("the king orders"), or "O mestre mandou" ("The master ordered") in Brazilian Portuguese
  • Russian: "Саймон говорит" (Saymon govorit) or "Саймон сказал" (Saymon skazal)
  • Spanish: "Mando, mando" ("I command, I command"), or "Simon dice" ("Simon says")
  • Swedish: "Simon säger"
  • Turkish: "Yakup der ki" ("Jacob says")
  • Vietnam: "Tôi bảo" ("I say")

Gameplay and variants[edit]

A command starting with "Simon says" means that the players must obey that command. A command without the beginning "Simon says" means do not do this action. Anyone who breaks one of these two rules is eliminated from the remainder of the game. Often, anyone who speaks is also eliminated.

There can be very complex and difficult command chains, such as "Simon says: Arms up. Simon says: Arms down. Arms up." Anyone ending with their arms up is eliminated, because a command that doesn't begin with "Simon says" cannot be obeyed.

It is considered cheating to give impossible commands ("Simon says, lift both of your legs up and keep them there!") or phrase the commands in such a way that the other player has no option but to 'go out' ("Simon says, jump up. Come down."). However, at least in some versions, it is allowed for Simon to eliminate players by asking them to do something seemingly unrelated to the game (example: "Anyone remaining join me up here.").

Simon says (electronic version)[edit]

The electronic game Simon

The electronic game Simon is named for Simon Says. Instead of having to listen to the presence of the instruction phrase, the player has to repeat a short sequence of button presses after demonstration by the device. This gameplay has been repeated as minigame in many subsequent video games and is often confusingly referred to as "Simon Says" as well, despite the differences from the playground game

Do this do that[edit]

A variation on the instruction phrases is used in this variant. Instead of only actions beginning with "Simon says" having to be obeyed, an action along with the phrase "do this" must be obeyed while an action with the phrase "do that" must not be obeyed. Obeying a "do that" command or not obeying a "do this" command will eliminate a player.[1] In Swedish, this variant is known as Gör si, gör så.

Bird Fly[edit]

This variant, found in India, Pakistan, Germany, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Hungary, puts the focus on the specifics of the instruction phrase. The Simon announces the phrase "All X fly" or similar (i.e. "Chidiya ud" (Hindi) which translates to Bird fly or "Alle Vögel fliegen hoch" (German) which is "All birds fly up"), with the subject replaced by various creatures and objects. If the subject can fly, the other children have to perform an action, but have to stay still if it cannot fly. The action is usually fixed, involving raising the arms or jumping.

Following John[edit]

A similar Swedish child's game is "Följa John" meaning "following John", where physical actions are conducted by "John" (usually involving movement in a line), and where remaining participants are replicating the activities shown by John. However, the commands are silent, and based on the remaining participants observation of John's actions. Especially when performed in a line, this can become a physical action equivalent of the game Telephone.


  1. ^ "Do This. Do That. | Elementary PE Games". www.pegames.org.

Other references[edit]