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Original Story[edit | edit source]
According to coinop.org (the earliest known reference to the game)
This game had a very limited release, one or two backwater arcades in a suburb of Portland. The history of this game is cloudy, there were all kinds of strange stories about how kids who played it got amnesia afterwards, couldn't remember their name or where they lived, etc.
The bizarre rumors about this game are that it was supposedly developed by some kind of weird military tech offshoot group, used some kind of proprietary behavior modification algorithms developed for the CIA or something, kids who played it woke up at night screaming, having horrible nightmares. According to an operator who ran an arcade with one of these games, guys in black coats would come to collect "records" from the machines. They're not interested in quarters or anything, they just collected information about how the game was played.
The game was weird looking, kind of abstract, fast action with some puzzle elements, the kids who played it stopped playing games entirely, one of them became a big anti videogame crusader or something. We've contacted one person who met him, and he claims the machines disappeard after a month or so and no one ever heard about them again. It is often dismissed as an urban legend, but a rather popular one. A supposed ROM of the game portrays it as a space shooter similar to Tempest.
Appearances in Pop Culture[edit | edit source]
There have been numerous appearances of Polybius in pop culture. There have been sightings of the mysterious arcade cabinet in:
- "The Simpsons" episode 'Please Homer, Don't Hammer 'Em' (2006).
- "Farming Simulator 17".
- Mobile game "get_acce55".
- Episode 'The Age of Darkness' of "The Goldbergs" (2014).
- "Batman Incorporated" comic book.
- "Stranger Things: The Game" mobile game.
- Horror movie "Summer of 84" (2018).
- "The Shadow Realms Arcade" from Kongregate.com.
Ties to Reality?[edit | edit source]
There actually were government experiments in the United States on civilians during the time period Polybius supposedly came out. These experiments often included subjecting civilians to LSD while trying to brainwash them. The effects of Polybius are similar to the effects many of the test subjects suffered after being exposed to the LSD. The descriptions of the graphics are also similar to descriptions of LSD induced hallucinations.
Also, the government actually hired many former Nazi scientists to help them in their experiments, so if Polybius was, in fact, real, this could explain why the company who supposedly made the game had a German name. The U.S. government also hired the company who made the first virtual reality game to make a game to train soldiers, showing that it is not impossible for the government to work with video game companies to further their own agenda.