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Polybius The Mysterious Arcade Game

Before the era of mobile games, consoles, or even PCs like today, people in the 80s got the experience of playing video games through an arcade game machine. Some of the iconic titles born at the time included Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and others.

Among the various arcade game machines that were created at that time, there was one arcade game machine that made the gaming industry commotion at that time. The arcade game machine is called Polybius. Unlike the arcade game machines in general, this one was not made massively.

Polybius Arcade Game (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

This machine only made two units and both of them were placed in a separate arcade game place in Portland, Oregon, United States in 1981. It is called a mystery because some people who play this game feel strange effects, ranging from headaches, nausea, insomnia, to memory loss.

Polybius the Greek Philosopher (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

The title of the game "Polybius" taken from the name one of the greek philosopher who was born around 208 B.C. in Megalopolis, Arcadia. He is known for his affinity for cryptography and puzzles as well as his belief that historians should strictly report what they can verify through hard evidence and by interviewing witnesses. While the gameplay itself is about a spaceship shooting at a huge polygon-shape enemy which changing shape continuously and throwing somekind of particles at the player.

The history of this game is cloudy, there were all kinds of strange stories how kids who played it got amnesia afterwards. Several mysterious men in black suits came regularly and collected unknown data from the machines, allegedly testing responses to the game's psychoactive effects.

Description about the Game (Image Credit:

Some believe that Polybius is infiltrated by the effects of LSD which affecting the player's brain waves. Surprisingly again, the machine suddenly disappeared after a few months of its appearance.

Image Credit:

The listing entry in mentions the name Polybius and a copyright date of 1981. The author of the entry claims in the description to be in possession of a ROM image of the game, and to have extracted fragments of text from it, including "1981 Sinneslöschen". The remainder of the information about the game is listed as "unknown", and its "About the game" section describes the "bizarre rumors" that make up the legend.


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