May 23, 2011

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Polybius

According to the story, an unheard-of new arcade game appeared in several suburbs of Portland, Oregon in 1981, something of a rarity at the time. The game, Polybius, proved to be incredibly popular, to the point of addiction, and lines formed around the machines, quickly followed by clusters of visits from men in black. Rather than the usual marketing data collected by company visitors to arcade machines, they collected some unknown data, allegedly testing responses to the psychoactive machines. The players themselves suffered from a series of unpleasant side-effects, including amnesia, insomnia, nightmares, night terrors, and even suicide in some versions of the legend. Some players stopped playing video games, while it is reported that one became an anti-gaming activist. The supposed creator of Polybius is Ed Rotberg, and the company named in the urban legend is Sinneslöschen(German for “sensory-extinguishing” is the exact translation), often named as either a secret government organization or a codename for Atari. The gameplay is said to be similar toTempest (a shoot ’em up game utilizing vector graphics), while the game is said to contain subliminal messages which would influence the action of anyone playing it.Some people playing the game found messages like:” No imagination”,”Obey”,”Stay asleep”,” Work 8 hours, Play 8 hours, Sleep 8 hours”, “Surrender”, “Be normal”, “Game corrupt”,”No thought”, “Conform”,”Do not question the authority”, among others (possibly a reference to the cult 1980s film They Live).

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I want to play this game.

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