Polybius Ultra

Released Thursday, 4th February 2016
 1 person rated this episode
Our ancient ancestors spoke of a legendary place -- where the young and young at heart could test their skills against a magical, electronic device, using strategy, and their reflexes at 25¢ a pop. These wondrous havens were called "Video Arcades" and these hulking machines were called "Video Games." Believe it or not kids, it was the only place you could play a decent-looking, somewhat sophisticated video game, housed in a heavy, laminated wooden cabinet, because at the time the only thing you could play on your "push-button" phone was the tune, "Mary Had a Little Lamb." There is another legend however, that at least in one or more of these Video Arcades in Portland, Oregon in 1981 A.D., there lurked a mysterious Arcade Game called "Polybius" and it had a much more nefarious purpose than to provide amusement and rook a kid out of a short stack of quarters -- it may have been there to try its hand at brainwashing you, and then report its findings to a sinister government agency. There were reports of players who suffered terrible side effects from the visual phantasmagoria of the gameplay, like severe headaches, nausea, memory loss, nightmares, an aversion to playing any video games afterwards and in some extreme cases, suicide. But were these reports true? Did this diabolical game ever exist? Was the legend of Polybius just an "Urban Legend?" One thing we do know is true, prior to the legend of Polybius, a secret government agency really did try to zap unsuspecting people's brains and take notes.

Tonight's Quote:

“The obvious objective of video games is to entertain people by surprising them with new experiences.”


  • Miyamoto Shigeru, the "Father of Modern Video Games" and Co-creator of The Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong, Super Mario Brothers and many more.



Show Links:

We've found that some sites are not showing these links as clickable unless they are URLs, so until those outlets improve their show notes section, we are providing actual URLs next to the clickable description of each link to make things easier for our listeners!

"The Cosmos' Most Ridiculously Implausible Videogames: Polybius - the most mysterious game of all time?" an article by Jason Helton http://bit.ly/1JZlNST
"Polybius: Video Game of Death" by Brian Dunning from his Skeptoid Podcast #362 http://bit.ly/1SZ8eFN
"Polybius: Portland's Own Seizure-Inducing Mystery Game" an article by Richard Grunert in Willamette Week http://bit.ly/1PVKKRB
Polybius, the real Greek historian http://bit.ly/1Pjh2Aa
Text of Original Polybius Comments from Steven Roach and Cyber Yogi http://bit.ly/20HOSpY
The Simpsons and all it's Math http://bit.ly/1mqpuEw
Duane Weatherall's Interview with Steven Roach http://bit.ly/20s6U2K
Power Gloves & Tinfoil Hats: Case #001 http://bit.ly/1S1SnWB
Download the Supposed ROM of the Game. PC Required http://bit.ly/23Ka7tA
Interview with Ed Rotberg about Battlezone and the Military http://bit.ly/1SZaGMi
Vector vs Raster http://bit.ly/1UMB2Pr
Another Good Summary Article http://bit.ly/1NRnZXj
Halcyon Days The Book http://bit.ly/1nOykP7
TEMPEST http://my.ign.com/atari/tempest
BATTLEZONE http://my.ign.com/atari/battlezone

Episode 031 - "Polybius" Produced by Scott Philbrook & Forrest Burgess; Ryan McCullough Sound Design; Research Assistance by Tess Pfeifle. Copyright Scott Philbrook & Forrest Burgess 2016. All Rights Reserved.

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Episode Details
Length
1h 35m 39s
Explicit
No

Episode Tags