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There's an urban legend about an arcade game from the 1980s that may or may not have ever existed. However, now somebody who claims to have played it is going to make it real, again, I guess. The story of Polybius is one of the great video game urban legends. However, whether or not it existed previously, it's about to come to life as a PlayStation VR exclusive.
If you're not familiar with the urban legend of Polybius, here's a quick rundown. The game is reported to have appeared in a couple of video arcades in the pacific northwest in the early 1980s. The title is described as having been incredibly popular, to the point of addiction, however, those that played the game were supposed to have been hit with some pretty hefty side effects including amnesia, nausea, and nightmares. Polybius was reportedly visited occasionally by "men in black" who appeared to pull some sort of data from the machine and then vanished. The game was only in the arcades for a few months before disappearing, never to be seen again.
Jeff Minter is a game developer who claims to have played the original game and he has taken his experience and transformed into a new game for PlayStation VR which attempts to recreate the mythic title. He recently recounted the story of his experience with Polybius to the PlayStation Blog in Europe.
Minter has previously worked on psychedelic game titles before including Tempest 2000 a mid-1990s remake of the original Atari arcade title. This may be a fitting history, as there are many who believe that if Polybius actually did exist, it was likely an early version of Tempest.
A glance at the gameplay trailer for this version of Polybius certainly makes us slightly confused and maybe a little sick to our stomachs.
While we're not sure that we actually buy Jeff Minter's story about playing the real Polybius, it sounds a little too much like marketing for his new game, that doesn't mean that the namesake game won't be good. Following in the footsteps of other psychedelic VR games, like the new version of Rez, it seems that the genre is really seen as a great option for VR games.
Was Polybius real? If you actually played it we'd love to hear your story in the comments below. Otherwise, we still love the urban legend. The only problem is that now we'll have to be specific when we're talking about the story and the actual game.