Monday, June 26, 2017

Mystery Monday: Polybius

It's Monday, which means it's time for another...

Anyone who grew up in the 80s knows how exciting it was to go to an arcade and play video games. Even if you had a gaming console in your home, it was nothing like the experience you had here:

But in 1981, a new video game arrived in arcades. Or did it? Some say the story is an urban legend, while others insist it was real. There is supposedly a picture of the game, though, which was called Polybius:

Polybius allegedly made its first appearance in Portland, Oregon. As the legend tells it, soon after arriving, interest in this particular video game soared, with children lining up to play. Men in suits occasionally stopped by to gather gameplay records from the game.

This led to the theory that the video game was a project of the government, designed specifically to brainwash the youth of America. That version of the story even landed the game a brief appearance on the popular TV show The Simpsons:

What happened to Polybius? Soon after being placed, some children supposedly began having seizures while playing. The game was removed soon after.

Three children did get sick after visiting an arcade within the same week in the Portland area, although it wasn't connected to this game. Some believe that is what kicked off the legend.

Interestingly, the legend has led to a series of imitation video games. Today you can play Polybius.

A group tried to earn enough money on Kickstarter to make a film about the legend, but they never reached their goal. Chances are, someday we'll see a documentary on the subject.

Do you think Polybius was a real game?