Polybius: The Arcade Machine Urban Legend

Have you ever played a game so good and so entertaining that you lost track of time? You start things up early in the afternoon – and, before you know it, the sun is out.

Well, what about a game that’s so good it makes you lose your mind? That’s what Polybius is. Or, at least, what we think Polybius was. A videogame so good and so messed up people were suffering from all sorts of mental breakdowns after they played.

Or was it? Was it a real thing or an internet rumor? CIA project or a troll experiment? We’re about to find out.

Just so we’re clear, we’re talking about Polybius, the arcade game, not Polybius, the Arcadian Greek historian. Don’t get it twisted down below!

Where can I download Polybius?

Unfortunately, there’s nowhere on the vast land of the Internet where you download the original Polybius.

Maybe it never existed. Or, perhaps, it was scratched off the face of the Earth to make people think that. We’re left with rumors, second-hand stories, and small pieces of a puzzle that seems to be borderline impossible to solve.

What was Polybius? Allegedly, Polybius was a mysterious arcade game only found in Portland, Oregon. It was so addictive people would wait for hours on end to play – and, eventually, fight among those waiting in line out of sheer desperation to do so.

After playing, people would suffer from amnesia, hallucinations, and mental breakdowns. While kids were playing, men in black would show up and take notes of what was happening.

You can’t play Polybius. And if it ever existed, that’s good news.

Did Polybius ever exist?

It’s hard to tell whether Polybius ever existed or not. If it was a real thing back in the 1980s, then it probably was a government-sponsored experiment – the kind you didn’t want to participate in.

And if that part is real, then those in charge of said experiment probably knew how to make something disappear. When it comes to this game, it’s impossible to find out whether it was a real thing or not.

Then again, there’s absolutely no evidence of it ever existing. People have requested information from different intelligence agencies to see if Polybius was in fact real – and they received no information in return.

Was Polybius a story that went too far? Or was it an experiment gone wrong?

What was Polybius allegedly created for?

There are countless rumors about Polybius – and many of them agree on one thing: the game was an experiment created to test the players.

As you know, Polybius would turn players into addicts who would soon suffer from mental breakdowns after playing. Was this cabinet a test to see how far the human mind can go? It wouldn’t be the first time the US Government tries such a thing.

Or, perhaps, the game was an innocent project that was too advanced for its time. Other videogames have caused trouble in the past – but not intentionally.

It could also be a troll trying to see how far his made belief story would go. There’s not a single trace of this story until the year 2000, 20 years after Polybius was said to exist.

When did the rumor start?

There’s no way to know when the legend started. If rumors are true, the story goes back to the 1980s. If the story is fake, it probably started around the 2000s.

Most people believe that the story was made up by the owner of coinop.org, a man who wanted to drive traffic into his website. To do that, he wrote the Polybius creepypasta we all know about.

On the other hand, certain people claim they were abducted after playing the game. If abductions did happen – then the game was real. There are claims but no proof of that happening.

At the same time, certain people claimed to have helped develop that game, showing, once again, no proof.

Nowadays, Polybius, real or not, is a story of its own, something that will roam around the internet forever.

If you ever stumble upon a Polybius machine, remember the wise words of poet and thinker Tupac Shakur: “play the game, never let the game play you.” Or better yet, run towards the opposite direction and dodge the CIA agents.

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