An Urban Legend Comes To Life....
As the story goes, whispered in back alleys of arcades in the US, an unheard-of new arcade game appeared in several suburbs of Portland, Oregon in 1981. The game was called Polybius, and was supposed to be incredibly popular... to the point of addiction! It was said that obsessed video game wizzes lined up to play the arcade game constantly.
Soon after, rumors abounded that smartly-dressed men in black suits began visiting these arcades that had Polybius . Instead of the expected marketing or demographic data you'd expect to be collected by company visitors to arcade machines, they collected some unknown data, allegedly testing responses to the psychoactive machines.
The players themselves were said to have suffered from a series of unpleasant side-effects, including amnesia, insomnia, nightmares, night terrors, and supposedly... even death. Some of those who played Polybius stopped playing video games, while it was whispered that one hapless tester became an anti-gaming activist.
The supposed creator of Polybius is Ed Rottberg, and the company named in the urban legend is Sinneslöschen (German for sense-delete), often named as either a secret government organization or a codename for Atari. The game play is said to be similar to Tempest, a shoot 'em up game with vector graphics.
Such a spooky game made for great storytelling, but no one ever could point to the real thing... until now.
Yes, some dedicated classic game fans and digital pranksters couldn't find Polybius.. so they created it. Not only can you download the ROM file, they also include free fake artwork and game cabinet stickers. They even wired a flickering bulb effect into the main bios... this group thought of everything. So now you can build or convert your own arcade cabinet into a Polybius cabinet and freak people right the hell out.