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Polybius

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Estimated reading time — 2 minutes


In Portland, Oregon in 1981, an unheard-of new arcade game appeared in several suburbs, something of a rarity at the time. This game was called “Polybius”. The game proved to be incredibly popular, to the point of addiction, and queues 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 — amnesia, insomnia, nightmares, night terrors, and suicide appearing as having been caused by the game in various versions of the legend. Some players stopped playing video games, while it is reported that one became an anti-gaming activist.

An alleged Polybius cabinet

Alternate Story

Polybius is an urban legend about a rare arcade game released in 1981. The game was created by a mysterious company called Sinneslöschen (German for “Sense Deletion”) and was a puzzle/shoot-’em-up somewhat like Tempest. It was only released in a few suburbs of Portland, Oregon.

It was supposedly very popular, with people forming long lines to play it. However, players reported strange things about the game, such as hearing a woman crying and seeing grotesque faces out of the corner of their eyes. Players would also have nightmares, experienced nausea, headaches, blackouts or even develop amnesia. Some even committed suicide. Others stopped playing video games altogether and at least one became an anti-video game activist.

According to one owner of an arcade, men wearing black suits would often come to collect “records” from the game.

They did not take any money, simply data on gameplay. Because of this, the leading theory is that it was some sort of government experiment using subliminal messages. The game remains in obscurity as around one month after its release, all of the cabinets suddenly disappeared. One cabinet reappeared in an arcade 1998, but quickly disappeared again. While some have tried to recreate the game, no one has ever found the original ROM.

Sinneslöschen

The game can be found available for download at the Sinneslöschen website.

In the Media

Since its urban legend flowered into the phenomenon that it is now, there have been many alleged sightings of the Polybius game, as well as a few short videos about it.

The Screenshot

As seen in the only screenshot, it says “Sinneslöschen”. Thanks to Google Translate, it means “sense delete”. Possibly this could explain the amnesia.


Credit: Anonymous

More classic Creepypasta stories can be found here:
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50 thoughts on “Polybius”

  1. Polybius is an interesting idea, and I honestly like the idea of the myth, but this story was far too bare-bones and bland for my liking. It just feels like someone quickly compiled the basis of the myth for a story instead of actually doing anything unique with it.

    3/10, would not dine on pasta again.

  2. CreepypastaGod2000

    Wow. That was a Great Creepypasta. It was made by Nintendo? Wow, Nintendo sure is Weird. Want Proof that They are Weird? Go on YouTube and Search up “Why Mario is Mental”. WARNING: Do not Watch it if you are a Huge Mario Fan. Well anyway, 8/10

  3. The gist of this pasta is actually true, the government formed a project to in the field of psychological understanding by creating this game called Polybius and it had weird effects such as delusion, suicide etc. Google it!

  4. Of course there is a game called polyobous I mean like my dad knows this really cool arcade and it has polyobous and he played it so he wanted to show me it so we went but this guy the owner of the arcade named lesause said they took it out cuz the game had so many complaints freaky deaky right?! – – –

  5. Actually guys I mean I believe the legend after all they say if you pay attention you could really get hypnotize so yeah I think the legend is true but if its made by the government then u know it has secrets like I had this sister her name is elvira and she heard of this story about polyobous and she works for the government and so she went and asked them If its true and this government guy said YOU DON’T NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THAT and she was all like geez lol and so yeah I think the legend is true

  6. I know it’s real because I first heard about this on cracked. They even said that these symptoms we’re also associated with the game. In one episode of The Simpsons when bart plays triangle wars in the arcade, You can see a polybius machine right beside the triangle wars machine.

    1. Yeah, I heard of it on Cracked too. Reading this, and a few comments, I’m like, “It’s not true?” Cracked is mostly true, but I don’t know for sure.

  7. Actually, Jack Thoupson grew up in Cleaveland, Ohio and then went to Florida to practice law. There’s never been any big occurance in his life when he went to Oregon. Sorry, but after a bit of research, the pasta failed to make me shit a brick. Better luck next time.

  8. I live in the right city, I downloaded the game that was created in the image of what people think Polybius would be like, and am in the process of building a arcade front for it.

    Ah, the life of a geek with nothing better to do.

  9. I remember seeing something about this. Maybe it was on G4 TV when they were promoting the king of kong.

    The smae exact things were said to have happened but I don’t know if it was true or if the urban legend became stated as fact.

    1. This is actually a half-true story. Polybius was a game created by/for the Government and their test on human…get this… MIND CONTROL.

    1. Lets go Oregon!!!!$$!$ home to me!!!$!$!$!! still a good story though. Only wish they explained it a little more it could have been better. Anyways LETS GO PORTLAND

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