Talk:Polybius (video game)

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- Nah, this is a total fake. The author of this hoax probably thought he was being clever or something. RocketMaster 00:40, 19 December 2005 (UTC)


- I currently live in Portland Oregon (Born and raised). When I was a child me and my friends went to an arcade known as "Wonderland" which housed a Polybius cabinet. My two friends played it but I never played it due to excessive crowds that were constantly around the cabinet and my claustrophobic anxieties. I remember after my friends first played it they started acting very strange and within a month they moved away without any explanation. I have yet to be able to contact them - I warn you all to stay away from this.

No, this is the 500th person that has claimed to see it, but I can tell you are lying because you are "WARNING US TO STAY AWAY". What exactly are we supposed to stay away from? We don't even know the game exists, nevermind if it had any disatrous effects to the body and mind. If you are really telling the truth, please, provide us with the name and phone number of this so called "wonderland" so further investigation can be persued.-- 22:13, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
THERE IS A WONDERLAND. Currently there does not exist a Polybius cabinet in it. I have been to it, yes that one in Portland. -random ip —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:30, 15 April 2011 (UTC)

I have been researching this game for sometime now...and it does seem plausible that the game may have existed, but was removed from the market because it caused siezures. Of course this could be a hoax. As of right now, no one knows for sure, but I'm continuing my research nonetheless. Sites I used in my research, for those interested: A site that seems solid to me A forum with some interesting posts, some of which are probably hoaxes, but some seem interesting. Suspicious...but there's no way to disprove this guy's claim. If anyone besides me thinks that any of these sites should be added to the article itself, please do so. I don't want to be the only one who thinks these sites are relevant. Lord Sephiroth03:42, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

Moved from article[edit]

The following comments added to the article by User:, I put them here, unedited. --Cúchullain t c 20:14, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

I think it's about time I laid this to rest, however entertaining the speculation.

My name is Steven Roach who is primarily based in the Czech Republic. Sinneschlossen was a company set up by myself and several other mainly amateur programmers in 1978 that worked on component parts for Printed Circuit Boards that saw programming as a limited but very profitable sideline. I think the fact that it wasn't the focal point of our business took the pressure off of us and hence we created some quality work which quickly gained a reputation within the industry.

We were approached around 1980 by a Southern American company that shall remain nameless for legal purposes to develop an idea they had for producing an Arcade Game with a puzzle element that centred around a new approach to Video Game Graphics. They were very keen indeed to gain an upper hand in what was already a very competitive market so we were offered a staggering commission-based renumeration package to develop something special that utilised the technology.

We developed the game in little more than two portacabins that were knocked together where we spent many stressful mornings, evenings & nights which was a great pity because it compromised our relaxed and innocently amateurish approach to our business in spite of the financial possibilities.

Marek Vachousek was the programmer who came up with the name Polybius - he had studied Greek Mythology at Masaryk University and came up with the name because it sounded quite bold and mysterious, which is what we wanted quite simply. The inspiried graphics combined with the puzzle elements and scintilating gameplay was something to behold - we playtested it for hours and hours and it certainly was an addictive game that was well loved professionally and recreationally by all that played it. The company couldn't have been happier and we all thought we were on the verge of something very special indeed.

We then received a phonecall stating that there were concerns within the company that the basic graphics which featured prominently in so many other games of the time were fine for the average gamer to spend hours at a time without any noticable physical or mental detriments but the intense and engrossing gameplay of this new step was very much an unknown quantity so the game was put back several months due to divided opinion within their board of directors, much to our consternation for breaking our backs to finish it on time.

We received heartening collated playtesting figures and were then told that the game would receive a temporary limited release which bouyed us significantly but shortly after, we received terrible news - a thirteen year old boy from the Lloyd District of Portland, Oregon had suffered an Epileptic Fit while playing the game, only six days after the machines had literally been installed. One of the senior employees that I knew very well contacted me to tell me that it caused immense ripples of panic throughout the company who were of the opinion that they had "created a monster" as such. It may sound laughable now but please bear in mind that this was 25 years ago when the Video Game Industry was in it's infancy.

Every effort was made to withdraw the game from the public domain as quickly as possible but the scaremongering was already out in force and a lot of the children were queueing up or daring their friends to play this supposedly nightmarish game. Company Directors descended on the town to assess the situation which may account for these reports of "Strange Men in Black Suits hanging around" and the machines were often taken in daylight, causing minor but noticable incidents.

As far as I was made aware, only seven machines were distributed around the area and no other health-related incidents were reported. I heard "off the record" that the company made a one-off settlement to the boy's family and no more was heard, apart from all the internet-based speculation and resulting paranoia. We disbanded Sinnesscholssen shortly afterwards because we didn't want to restrict ourselves to the stringent deadlines of other companies and favoured distancing ourselves from the game in case of any lingering recriminations which could have done a great deal of damage to our personal and professional reputations which was our livelihood and with some of us having very young families, this was extremely important to us.

As far as I'm aware, no ROM's or otherwise exist unless they remain in the bowels of the company that distributed it. We only received a basic payment in view of the fact that the game was withdrawn without nationwide or international distribution so we grew to loathe it and was often a cursed word whenever we used to meet up and still is today, which is a shame. I still believe we created something that should have changed the face of gaming and would have set us apart from the rest of the industry but Arcade Games were often compared to drugs at the time because of their addictiveness and we created something that small-minded bureaucrats perceived to be the Heroin of the Video Game World that's only crime was to be many years ahead of it's time.

I'm sure people will doubt the sincerity of this so feel free to drop me a line at as I'm happy to answer any questions.


The problem with his story is that there are no facts that can be verified independently. He declines to provide the name of the company he worked for. A South American company in 1981 testing video games developed in Czechoslovakia in arcades in the United States in 1981 is an odd story to say the least. Its also hard to imagine Czechoslovakia in 1980 as being able to produce internationally competitive arcade video game hardware from scratch. The story stands entirely on his word. The only way for it to have credibilty would be for him to share facts that can be independently checked. He has never done that. (talk) 03:50, 20 January 2014 (UTC)

- As we all appreciate someone actually trying to shed some light on this, and bring an explanation of what happened to knowledge. Here we have one given to us, and as some people will take this information consider the matter explained. So there should be nothing more to discuss or talk about then, right? But that (i believe) is precisely why this information or rather disinformation in this case, has come to us. It is seemingly a nice story that is given to us to bring closure upon the matter, but sadly the real truth most likely will not be able to be proved. (i know we all like confirmation of the truth) But I believe this myth about the infamous arcade game that randomly appeared (only in a couple of places) and then mysteriously vanished, and the mysterious men dressed in black that supposed collected data from the machines. My opinion about the myth of this infamous arcade game that mysteriously appeared in the suburbs of Portland Seattle in mid year of 1981, I will state as follows. If this explanation gives you closure to the matter, then good, go with that then. Let your mind not be troubled trying to take this any further, but im sure alot of you out there (like me) with a better understanding of things, We are trying to focus on a much bigger picture, some have already fit many small pieces of a much bigger puzzle together, or are in the process of doing so. These strange occurrences sort of make sense in a way, the stated corroborated pieces of information that we do have do fit in to the rest of the puzzle, a very small part of a hidden agenda. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2605:A000:C460:2701:31F4:1788:CADE:5223 (talk) 19:59, 26 May 2014 (UTC)

Re the last post: why is it that "you people" who basically believe everything is a conspiracy wlays think you as so much more aware than the rest of us and more intelligent? Or is it just that you are more gullible and your lives are so shit that you have to believe there is a reason that your lives are shit?? (talk) 17:52, 7 July 2014 (UTC)


I reverted the article, not because the information is not interesting, but it is a violation of wikipedia policy. The proper place for it is the talk page. Lord Sephiroth 00:38, 23 March 2006 (UTC)


The symptoms remind me of my reaction to R-Type: addiction, night terrors, and sleeplessness.

Can those symptoms wear off? Ismael Perez (talk)


I've summarised Roach; since it's already on the talk page I won't reproduce it. Matthew Platts 14:08, 8 May 2006 (UTC)

CyberYogi's real name[edit]

The name "Windler" reminds me of 19th century scientist Friedrich Wöhler, who signed his letters to Justus von Liebig as "S. Ch. Windler" - so, this may be a part of the hoax as well.

No. Its not. Windler was around for a very long time on usenet in the 1990s. He was a very strange person. Far too strange to be himself a hoax. (talk) 03:26, 20 January 2014 (UTC)

In-game screenshots?[edit]

The people at VG Cats appear to have found in-game screenshots of the game: see here. Should they be put in the article? I don't really know. What do you think? --NetRolller 3D 13:17, 22 June 2007 (UTC) Sorry, just realised that they are fakes... :-) --NetRolller 3D 12:50, 23 June 2007 (UTC)

Sup. I the author of that "review" of Polybius. Yeah, it's a total hoax. Those pictures, I obtained from the beatmania IIDX video of the song "TRANOID". You can find the video at YouTube. See ya 'round. :P --ToyoWolf 10:23, 21 August 2007 (UTC)

The kid who replied and said he was a programmer also posted elsewhere in the forum saying that he goes to high school in Arizona, seems unlikley for an old programmer who moved to Kentucky right? Fun story though :) -- [-- (talk) 21:44, 12 February 2009 (UTC)

Redirect: Why?[edit]

Why was this article redirected into Urban Legend? It doesn't make any sense. This is just as viable an urban legend as Bloody Mary, The Hook and the backmasking of Stairway. --ToyoWolf 08:32, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

Spoken version of article.[edit]

I made a spoken version of this article. Is it okay if i upload it? RocketMaster 11:03, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

Article needs to be redone[edit]

This article isn't written like a regular Wiki video game article and should be rewritten as such. Doshindude (talk) 20:34, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

Agreed, it's written more like a retelling of the urban legend than a wikipedia article. And it's not particularly useful to anyone. (talk) 19:41, 12 February 2009 (UTC)
But it is an urban legend. If you want to find evidence on gameplay and sales about this game that might not even exist, go ahead and add it to the page. Will(B) 15:21, 1 May 2011 (UTC)

Why the taringa bit was deleted[edit]

serious shit, i'm reversing the article

Its not a german word[edit]

hey, i can´t contribute to the discussion if the game is actually real or just a hoax, but as a native german speaker i can tell at least that the words:"Sinneslöschen" (from the article) and "Sinneschlossen" (from roach) are both NOT real german words. They are both an in every day language impossible merge of real existing german words. "Sinnes" means "senses", and "löschen" means "to delete". The translation as "sensory-extinguishing" is wrong, the german word for that would be "sinneslöschend" or better "wahrnehmungslöschend". The word "Sinneschlossen" is even more wrong. The translation of the Words is "Sinne" (without a "s" this time) what also means "Senses" and "schlossen", what translates to "had closed". A rough translation of this non existing word would therefore be something like "sensesclosed". hope this helps a bit. :) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:10, 17 June 2012 (UTC)

I'm sure you know a lot more about German than I do, but to me the translation does seam to fit very well. Even though when translating words & phrases almost never translate perfectly. In most cases to translate something well you have to have a good knowledge about both languages and you can usually find something that works well and is a good fit. I think who ever translated the name 'Sinneslöschen' into the English 'sensory-extinguishing' was using not only his knowledge of the languages very well but was also using his/or her brain extremely well. It is one thing to take a word or word translation from one language to other, if we do this it makes the translation come out very odd on the receiving end, so when we translate we take into account other language and translate according not only the words being used but also the idea about what is being a said and how to best find a fit on the other end. (no thing is perfect) — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2605:A000:C460:2701:31F4:1788:CADE:5223 (talk) 20:18, 26 May 2014 (UTC)

Retrocade investigation on the origin of the legend[edit]

I found an issue of Retrocade (a retrogaming ezine), that can be bought online, containing an article with a thorough investigation of the legend. It debunks various parts of the legend (such as the existence of a company called Sinnesloschen), gives mundane explanations for others (like the "seizures" part, that was just an exaggerated report of a kid getting a migraine after playing Tempest) and shines some light on who Steven Roach really is and what he has done (a criminal who ran a correctional facility called Sunrise Beach and was arrested for child abuse).

Can I add a summary of the information contained therein to the article, even if the ezine must be bought and is not freely available online? Devil Master (talk) 13:55, 23 September 2012 (UTC)

Not opposing or agreeing, but is Retrocade a long-term, cited by others, WP:Reliable source for an inline citation, or should it instead simply be in External links? --Lexein (talk) 15:56, 23 September 2012 (UTC)
I don't know, I only discovered Retrocade while I was looking for information about Polybius. All I can say about the article is that it's very detailed, it does not spread information that I know to be false. It mentions three specific people: Brian Mauro (fell sick during an Asteroids marathon, reference here), Michael Lopez (got a migraine while playing Tempest in the same arcade and the same day as Brian Mauro fell sick, no references found) and Steven Roach (claimed to be the creator of Polybius in 2006, reference here, and was arrested for child abuse in Mexico in 1996 and Czech Republic in 1998, references here, here and here). Devil Master (talk) 18:18, 25 September 2012 (UTC)


The problem with me making any kind of edit is everything is considered original research, however, I need to point out that many people believe the legend of Polybius came from someone confusing and exaggerating problems with Poly Play, the actual GDR arcade cabinet. Poly Play had a number of clones, some accounts say it had a tempest like clone that caused seizures, and they pulled it from their cabinets, however, the only confirmed game so far that was pulled was a space invaders game. The problem with verifying Poly Play games is that all but 3 cabinets were destroyed after the Berlin wall fell. I know, this sounds like an urban legend, but, go ahead, verify it. Another similarity is Poly Play cabinets have similar font style and the game that caused seizures matches the tempest clone explanation of Polybius. There are quite a few people on the youtube arcade community which believes this theory has merit. Seizures are no laughing matter either, so that would lend further credibility to the "serious context" of this urban legend.
I made some edits on my original talk post to clarify some stuff I didn't clarify earlier. Anyway, the story of Poly Play does sound almost like an Urban Legend due to the fact that it created its own mystery: The cabinets were crap and constantly being repaired; They were recalled to be destroyed; Only a few made it around the international circuit; Poly Play was introduced to the GDR and the World after 1985 (the same time frame as the mythical Polybius, while Tempest was introduced in 1981 and widely known); The game collection was financed by the communist government of the German Democratic Republic; Some of the games did cause seizures; The cabinets are very difficult to repair - they were basically an arcade nightmare. However, I think this is sufficient proof that suggests a strong link between Poly Play and a mutated myth that developed into Polybius.
It will ultimately be impossible to pin down the origin of Polybius, but I think Poly Play should be mentioned due to its German link, similarities in rarity (faulty memories of a rare game), real life threatening danger (seizures are no laughing matter), and the word Poly. (talk) 01:10, 28 February 2013 (UTC)

The origins are well known. The story was created by a hoaxer around 1998. The person in question can be found in messages from that era daydreaming about new versions of Tempest and he was also a German national. Its somewhat possible that he had knowledge of Poly Play. But as the hoax has never been admitted, there is no way to know for sure. (talk) 04:05, 20 January 2014 (UTC)

Sinneslochen trademark history[edit]

If you do a search of the USPTO on the company name SINNESLOSCHEN, the name has only been registered once in the United States, as an LLC in 2008. This indicates the chance of the screenshot within the article is a fabrication is relatively high.[1] — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:29, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Its not even a screenshot. Its an amaturishly constructed image. Its very obviously a total fake. (talk) 03:59, 20 January 2014 (UTC)

The article needs to be rewritten[edit]

The article in its current form is almost useless. It doesnt even properly tell the history and development of the hoax. Everything in the article that can't be sourced should be removed.

The hoax started with the game description on in 1998. It continued in a small set of usenet group posts in 2001. Then there were the magazine articles a couple years later. Then there was Steven Roach. Then there are the various cabinet sightings. There is no pre-1998 history to any of this. Speculation about games that might match the stories told about the game have no place in the article.

Right now, the article reads like a bulletin board for hoaxers. (talk) 03:23, 20 January 2014 (UTC)

you'd think because it's Wikipedia[edit]

Trolling/hoax/Snopes content wouldn't make it on here.

But I stand corrected. (talk) 23:17, 20 January 2014 (UTC)

Request for sources/citations[edit]

Ok. I dont see and cannot find any source for the following claims made in the article. Unless someone can produce sources for this material, its eventually going to be removed.

- 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.

No source for addiction. lines forming around the machines or fights over play on the machines.

- an unheard-of new arcade game appeared in several suburbs of Portland

The material says "one" suburb.

- 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 only known source says they collected "data about how the game was played". It does not say anything about "psycoactive" or "testing responses".

- In some versions of this mystery, the players suffered from a series of unpleasant side effects, including amnesia, insomnia, nightmares and night terrors.

What are the other "versions" of this mystery and what are the sources for them. The quoted material is basically directly from the source.

- The supposed creator of Polybius is Ed Rotberg, and the company named in most accounts of the game, Sinneslöschen (German meaning "deletion/erasure of senses, Sense-delete"), often named as either a secret government organization or a codename for Atari.

Who is the source for tying the game to Ed Rotberg? Who is the source tying any of this to Atari? Where are the accounts that do not associate the game with Sinneslöschen?

- 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.

Where is the source that says the gameplay was similar to Tempest? Where is the source for "vector graphics"? Where the source for "subliminal messages". The sourced description of the game says it was "kind of abstract, fast action with some puzzle elements". (talk) 19:51, 21 January 2014 (UTC)


I believe this article demonstrates an overall bias to assume the game is pure fiction, using words like "supposed" or "alleged" next to many descriptions of the game throughout the article. For instance, the introductory paragraph states "Not much evidence for the existence of such a game has ever been discovered," which implies that the writer was hoping to find no evidence. Instead, it should say something like "There has been only trace evidence that Polybius was manufactured and released." Another good example is the thumbnail of the title screen, which reads "Title frame of the alleged game", implying that the game is only "alleged" (Wiktionary: "supposed but doubtful"), which directly contrasts to the image's description page, which inarguably states the game is real, non-free, and under copyright protection (another bias we might want to work over). A better caption might read "Title frame of Polybius", since the game's existence or lack thereof has already been declared above. There are more examples of this in the article, such as "According to the story", "The supposed creator", and even "a "lack of hard evidence" situation typical of hoaxes."  Supuhstar *  03:32, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

There no "evidence" whatsoever as to the game existing. The article is documentation of an urban legend. What you are calling for is to use Wikipedia's voice to back the hoax and to treat it as if its real. The article should be careful in its tone to clearly WHO has made WHAT claim about the game and make claims about the existance of the game in Wikipedia's voice at all. Wikipedia is not a message board for anonymous unsourced claims or a forum for trying to turn rumors into facts. The article should document the urban legend but make claims about it. (talk) 05:46, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
I'm not saying there should be evidence, or that this should be a platform for propagating rumors, I'm just saying this article isn't written in the unbiased way that Wikipedia tends to have them.  Supuhstar *  02:32, 27 April 2014 (UTC)
An article dealing with a matter of clear facts has a different standard than an article dealing with a hoax or an urban legend. Such articles need to carefully seperate facts from the stories used to spread the hoax. "According to the story" is appropriate. "supposed" is an appropriate qualifier for "creator" because not using it suggests Wikipedia is using its voice to support the claim. "typical of hoaxes" probably goes too far and should be modified. (talk) 16:30, 1 June 2014 (UTC)

So Wikipedia has moved to accepting creepypasta tales as articles? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:23, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

Wikipedia strives to be an unbiased repository for all knowledge  Supuhstar *  15:40, 7 August 2014 (UTC)

Wreck It Ralph[edit]

The image that the article was referring to for Wreck It Ralph is a hoax. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:35, 7 August 2014 (UTC)

  1. ^