The Arcade Game You Can't Remember Playing... For A Reason.
This story starts all the way back in ancient times... 1981.
Back then, pimple faced teenagers would congregate in great halls known as arcades.
Those were the days.
Kids would spend hours after school (and sometimes during school) pumping quarters into tall bulky brightly decorated wooden boxes. This was the future of gaming my friend. Games like Ms. Pac Man, Qbert, and Paperboy ruled the lands.
But... One game had a stranger, more sinister past.
The story goes...
There once was an obscure arcade game called Polybius. The game was released in 1981 and appeared to only be found in one or two backwater arcades in a suburb of Portland Oregon.
The history of the game is cloudy at best. Strange stories of kids getting amnesia after playing the game began to surface.
coinop.org explains further:
"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.
As for the gameplay:
"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."
Black and White photo provided by: http://www.arcade-museum.com/
Since the games were removed, only one original cabinet was ever found - but of course the game itself was removed from the inside.
Joshua_Kopstein of Mother Board explains the effects the game supposedly had on people.
"The few gamers who got to play it supposedly became addicted, exhibiting strange behaviors and conditions as a result of playing. Some say they experienced an extreme form of vertigo and vivid hallucinations long after they had finished playing while others claim they suffered amnesia, in some cases forgetting their own name. And most horrifying of all, it’s said that some players were haunted by horrific nightmares and eventually driven to insanity and suicide after coming under the game’s influence."
The game itself was said to have been a 3-D vector-based shooting game, similar to Atari’s arcade hit, Tempest - but nobody really knows. No version of the game has ever turned up, though some have attempted to recreate it.
Even stranger - the company listed as the creator is called "Sinnesloschen" which is German. German game makers... weird.
Sinneslöschen roughly translates into “sensory-extinguishing”, or “removing senses”.
The game even made a quick appearance on the Simpsons.
The idea of a mind control arcade game is intriguing, and though it seems a bit silly to think the government created a game to use mind control on nerdy teenagers... a part of me wants to believe it could be true.
Here is a creepy short video to add fuel to the fire.