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The Mystery of Polybius
image Polybius, if you believe this website, was a video game developed by the CIA (or some other shadowy government organization) back in the early days of video games, 1981. But the game was really a secret experiment in behavior modification. Only a few of the game machines ever saw the light of day. They appeared in a few arcades in a suburb of Portland. Kids who played the game reportedly suffered disturbing side effects. They "woke up at night screaming, having horrible nightmares." Some later developed amnesia. Occasionally black-coat types would come to collect 'records' from the games. So did Polybius really exist, or is it all a hoax? Here is a rare photograph of one of the Polybius machines (or perhaps it's just a modern photoshop). Even if it is just a hoax (which, yeah, it probably is) it still makes a pretty good story. (Thanks, Rob).
Categories: Conspiracy Theories, Technology
Posted by Alex on Wed May 12, 2004
Comments (37)
More from the Hoax Museum Archives:
Probably the creator of the hoax was a fan of David Lynch.

In his movies, Lynch often used stroboscopic effects, and the sentence "Portland, Oregon!".
Furthermore, his first film was titled "Eraserhead" (1977), that in German is Sinneloschen.
Posted by Erasmus  on  Thu Apr 09, 2009  at  07:40 AM
this game couldnt have been that scary i ahve plyed games with people i mask trying to kill you with a knife and you rip there head off this didnt give me any side effect i say this was just a game the was removed for some stupid reason and people made up so many things about it now its suppost to scary
Posted by coolguy  in  unknown  on  Wed Oct 28, 2009  at  06:34 PM
Well, since nobody has any real proof that the game actually exists, and the only people who played it cannot give us a straight answer, what does that mean? It means that polybius never existed! I think...
Posted by Lavender  in  Canada  on  Fri Mar 25, 2011  at  03:30 PM
Hey im an avid believer in at least the basics of the polybius 'myth'. Theres a picture of a computer board that has the word polybius on it (). now if its legit or not im not sure but it does have some similarities to other circuit boards from arcade games of that time. Also the realities are that people have been using visual and audio stimulants to hypnotize and get to peoples subconsious especially those who are suseptable to such things. Also they were not fully aware of the epileptic effects of games back then and those effects could have been spun in a long game of broken telephone to the craziness it is now.
Posted by Rich S  in  Ontario Canada  on  Wed May 04, 2011  at  09:44 PM
Guys, how long has this search for info been going on? Years now? And we've fond out what? Nothing. Some mock-up screenshots and .exe files, but, no more. Some fake cabinets and boards. If this was real, you would have more info than you do now. More CONVINCING info than some pictures from the middle of God-knows-where, in Joe-Schmoe's basement, some people CLAIMING to have worked on the game, and a mock-up .exe that looks like Beatlesmania on more LSD than it already was. This is just fake. Some troll started it and some n00b believed it. I figured this out in 5 hours; I just found out about the game 5 hours ago.
Posted by RyuuHayabusaNinjaGaiden  in  In teh internetz  on  Thu May 26, 2011  at  04:55 PM
How would anyone even know what the game was like to make a mock-up of it? It farther proves "RyuuHayabusaNinjaGaiden"'s point (It's on the comments on this page).
Besides, how could some game in the 80's even do effects like that? Hypnotizing effects, psychological affecting effects, et cetera? The games were, like, 8-Bit. This is just the stupidest story I've ever heard.
Posted by Marley  in  Germany  on  Thu May 26, 2011  at  05:03 PM
Why are you all talking about polybius like it was some kind of urban legend or something? My brother came home from the states with polybius. I still got the game disensembled somewhere in the garage.

My brother was working for the gouverment in the states for 18 years. He came back to sweden, where he was born, in a private jet with the american flag. Thats all I can remember. Anyways, he had the game on the plane. I'll see if I can find it somewhere. I know I still got it in the garage, but its not ensembled. I'll put up some pics if you like?
Posted by Emil  in  Sweden  on  Fri Jun 22, 2012  at  05:37 PM
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