Did you know… Polybius, the urban legend?

RetroGamers - Polybius


Even in the video games world we get some of these famous urban legends. Rumours that, as they spread non-stop, they transform until they become something worthy of the worst intrigui Hollywood film. We’re talking about Polybius, a supposed video game that, according the the story, appeared in 1981 in video games arcades.

Polybius Arcade Machine

The game, apparently created by the company Sinneslöschen that, in german, means “loss of senses”, was a bombshell. Endless lines of people waiting to play the game, in part thanks to its innovative game system. It was about controlling a spaceship, with which we had to eliminate other enemy spaceships. The innovation was that the spaceship didn’t move across the street, but the screen rotated around the spaceship. Although the urban legend comes from the belief that it was created by the government of the United States to experiment with Gamers, causing hallucinations, epileptic fits and even leading to commit suicide with subliminal techniques.

Polybius Gameplay

The story says that, after the death of a child by an epileptic field after playing the game, the government withdrew them from all the arcades. No copy has ever been found, although of course there are out there some claiming to have one… not to say they never show. Even parodies we can find in television, like in a The Simpsons episode in which we can see one of these arcade machines, showing a sign saying “property of U.S. government”.

Polybius The Simpsons

In short, something more likely to laugh about than fearing about. Or maybe not, RetroGamers?


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