In the year 1981, at the height of the arcade era, an unassuming arcade cabinet appears in Portland, Oregon. Polybius was released from an unknown company, Sinneslöschen, and soon became a smash hit in the small arcades. The small sensation soon became an obsession for many gamers, as lines to play were said to be hours long, and fights were said to ensue. The regular players soon develop strange symptoms, such as insomnia, nightmares, depression, and in extremes suicides. Not so soon after, men were seen collecting data from the machines. Shortly after, all traces of any cabinet vanished.
Polybius has created much speculation and it seems to be outlandish and while some angles can be seen as fabricated and are easily dismissed. There is no physical evidence that the game existed at all and many believe is was a beta version of Tempest, a game infamous for its graphics creating motion sickness and triggering epileptic seizures. However, there are some aspects of the legend that aren’t so easily dismissed.
In November of 1980, Atari released Battlezone, a game in which was the first to emulate 3D graphics. In-game, players would see the perspective of a tank-gunner and would move the tank around the pseudo-3D land. There is official conformation that the U.S. army took interest in Battlezone and asked Atari to make a similar game for them to train real tank-gunners and it was called “The Bradley Trainer”
A project known as MKUltra is confirmed to be a project in which the CIA studied behavioral aspects of humans. There were most interested in brainwashing and mind control. The program was notorious for forcing subjects to be confined where they were forced to ingest hallucinogenic drugs, most commonly LSD and if you know anything about it, LSD can be put into anything or be in practically any form.
Fine, what does this have to do with Polybius? The implication is that Polybius was created by Atari (It is said that Ed Rotberg, the man who created Battlezone is also in charge of creating Polybius)
in join effort with the CIA to test the mind altering capabilities of video games
The Game is claimed to have very colorful aspects to it, and also is claimed to have subliminal messages, best known is “STAY ASLEEP”, adding more creed to the idea that it was a brainwashing experiment.
The only problem is that MKUltra’s tests occurred in the 50’s and 60’s, and have been ”halted”. Many former CIA agents insist that to this day, they still conduct MKUltra like experiments. And that Polybius is an example of such a test.
Polybius is thought to take its name from a Greek philosopher of the same name. Polybius was known for his insistence that the only credible form of research is verification via direct interviews.
Sinneslöschen is a poorly constructed German “word” which seems to have been the result of a non-German speaker trying to create a word.
Sinneslöschen literally means “sense delete” or ”sensory deprivation”.
The above photos of reported cabinets, a title screen, and an alleged “debug” menu that determines the ill effects Polybius would have on its players.