Serious Game Classification

Polybius Sinneslöschen (Germany), Ed Rotberg (Germany), 1981 Download it Now !

Informations Analyses Discussion
 

Classification

RETRO SERIOUS GAME

Keywords

Purpose

Besides play, this title features the following intents:
  • Subjective message broadcasting

Market

This title is used by the following domains:
  • Politics

Audience

This title targets the following audience:
Age : 17-25 / 25-35
General Public

Gameplay

The gameplay of this title is Game-based
(designed with stated goals)

The core of gameplay is defined by the rules below:

Similar games


Multiple images of gameplay According to the story, an unheard-of new arcade game appeared in several suburbs of Portland, Oregon in 1981, something of a rarity at the time. The game proved to be incredibly popular, to the point of addiction, and lines formed around the machines, often resulting in fighting over who played next. This was 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, including amnesia, insomnia, nightmares, night terrors, and even suicide in some versions of the legend. Some players stopped playing video games, while reportedly one became an antigaming activist. The supposed creator of Polybius is Ed Rotberg, and the company named in the urban legend is Sinneslöschen (what seems to be a slightly incorrect German translation for "sensory-extinguishing"), 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 using vector graphics), while the game is said to contain subliminal messages which would influence the action of anyone playing it.

The exact origin of the legend is unknown. Some internet commentators think it originated as a usenet hoax. Other bloggers believe the story is a true urban legend one that grew out of exaggerated and distorted tales of an early release version of Tempest that caused problems with photosensitive epilepsy, motion sickness and vertigo; the early release of the game was therefore pulled.

On July 20, 2007 a Sinneslöschen website went online that offered a freeware Polybius game and cabinet art for download. The game, created with DarkBASIC, features gameplay and graphics based on the interview with Steven Roach and messages taken from the 1988 movie They Live. The game and site were made by the same person who created and released other freeware games at the site RogueSynapse. In fact, both sinnesloschen.com and roguesynapse.com point at the same IP address, while the PC Polybius game can be seen running in a custom cabinet in a photograph at RogueSynapse.

Several videos of this game have been made and uploaded to YouTube, where it is often described as if it were the actual game the urban legend is about. Some videos, due to their spinning graphics, may cause harmful effects to those with epilepsy.

A Polybius machine was featured as a gag in the September 24, 2006 episode of The Simpsons, titled "Please Homer, Don't Hammer 'Em". In an arcade full of outdated arcade machines from the 1970s and 1980s, Polybius can be seen in the background. On its panel only one button can be seen, presumably the start button. To further the spoof, the front of the machine was printed with the words "property of US Government".


Distribution : Internet - Free
Platform(s) : Arcade

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