The Bizarre Story of the Mythical Polybius Arcade Game

Was this a government-created video game — or just an urban legend?

pic via Pinterest

What Was the Polybius Arcade Game?

In 1981, in Portland, Oregon, a mysterious black arcade cabinet showed up. The mysterious game only showed up in Portland, a few surrounding suburbs. This game was supposedly published and created by a company called Sinnesloschen.

What is the Polybius Urban Legend?

The mythos behind the game is that in 1981 the United States government actually commissioned — and put into production — an addictive video game. The arcade game had a similar game play to the classic game, Tempest.

Who Was Stephen Steven Roach?

Any stories behind Polybius were kept pretty quiet. They were limited to the Portland/Oregon area, and it was pretty difficult for kids to spread information at all back then.

What’s the Real Story Behind This Game?

There are some pictures of Polybius arcade game cabinets, but they are just mock-ups. There’s no visual proof they existed.

Who Was Cat DeSpira?

This is where it gets interesting. DeSpira is a reporter, and not only grew up in Portland, but she spent a big part of her youth at the arcade where Polybius was supposedly released.

What About the Men in Black?

There’s actually some truth to this one, too — and no, it’s not the awful Will Smith movies.

Final Thoughts

Is the story of the Polybius arcade game based on any facts at all, or was it contrived because of a bunch of incidents that all took place around the same time, at the same place?

Some health, a little marketing, and a lot of 80s| The Startup, The Ascent, Better Marketing/Humans, PSILY|

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