Background: In some arcades in Portland, Oregon, in 1981, a new game called Polybius made its debut. This was no ordinary video game, as it reportedly caused many side effects to those who played it, such as nightmares, memory loss, blackouts, nausea, headaches, some completely swore off video games altogether and even suicide. Employees of the manufacturer also reportedly came in black coats and collected data from the machines, and after only one month, all of the machines were removed from the arcades.

Status: Plausable. There are very few photos to be found of the machine. Some people claim to have the ROM (yet this has never been dumped and released to the public), along with the machine, although there was a report of two men experencing nausea while playing video games in 1981 although there has been no known independent study of any of the machines to verify if any of them are real or not (it would seem that those with knowledge of coin operated games would be able to tell the difference from the kind of technology that was found in the 1980s, rather than the much newer equipment used today if a homemade version of the game was used/forged with modern components). Chances are Polybius is a fusion of true events.

The legend also took an unexpected turn in 2006 when a man known as Steven Roach posted on some forums, claiming to be involved with the game’s development. Rather than the sci-fi nature of the men in black tale, instead the game reportedly just caused seizures, which warnings of seizures for video games did not become commonplace until several years later, as this was unheard of at the time. However, there were inconsistencies with his story, as there had been all along with the game itself, as it was supposedly a maze game, other claims said it was a space shooter, while others described it as to being a vector game (although with the few photos of the game’s title screen, it very obviously is made up of raster, rather than vector graphics).

The seizure story could be possible, although with there conveniently being no proof whatsoever of the company that released the game ever existing, along with the program being lost after the game was recalled by the manufacturer due to seizures, this is still unlikely.
Polybius The Facts and Fiction

Polybius The Facts and Fiction

Stuff They Don't Want You To Know: Polybius