This game had a very limited release, one or two backwater arcades in a suburb of Portland. The history of this game is cloudy, there were all kinds of strange stories about how kids who played it got amnesia afterwards, couldn’t remember their name or where they lived, etc.
The bizarre rumors about this game are that it was supposedly developed by some kind of weird military tech offshoot group, used some kind of proprietary behavior modification algorithms developed for the CIA or something, kids who played it woke up at night screaming, having horrible nightmares.
According to an operator who ran an arcade with one of these games, guys in black coats would come to collect “records” from the machines. They’re not interested in quarters or anything, they just collected information about how the game was played.
The game was weird looking, kind of abstract, fast action with some puzzle elements, the kids who played it stopped playing games entirely, one of them became a big anti videogame crusader or something. We’ve contacted one person who met him, and he claims the machines disappeared after a month or so and no one ever heard about them again.
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 to Tempest (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,” stated an overview of the game in Wikipedia.