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Polybius Game Urban Legend Resurfaces

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the furtive-government-experiments dept.

Classic Games (Games) 81

Eric Greif writes "I've just discovered information on an odd arcade game from 1981, only released in some backwater suburbs in Portland, Oregon. This game was called Polybius and was apparently featured in a recent article in GamePro magazine. This game boasts strange effects on the players of the game, such as various forms of amnesia, as well as behavior and mood changes." GamePro say that " Credited to a company called Sinnesloschen [German for 'sense-deleting'], Polybius... was an abstract puzzle game... one arcade owner claimed that black-coated gentlemen would periodically come to collect data - but not coins - from the machines." Snopes.com call Polybius out as a hoax, correctly, but after all this recent attention, does anyone know who devised this elegant spoof, and when?

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I forget... (1)

szemeredy (672540) | more than 10 years ago | (#6752278)

So that's where Bandai got the idea for the nasty sideeffects of "The World"... Kinda makes you wonder what would happen in real life is something like that actually happened.

First Reply (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6752317)

FR !
http://members.xoom.com [xoom.com] 4eva clit-eaters !

Re:First Reply (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6752331)

Whoa, http://members.xoom.com [xoom.com] rules, period. OGM ROLF ORFL !!!!1!1!1!1!1!

Re:I forget... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6752367)

I believe Polybus is a lot closer to the game in Serial Experiments Lain than Dot Hack's (although I do admit I haven't seen/played/read the latter).

Try Neal Stephenson... (1)

Dormous (638736) | more than 10 years ago | (#6756649)

Actually, that idea was also featured in the book Snow Crash [amazon.com] by Neal Stephenson, which came out long before bandai's .hack//sign or their .hack//* games. Great book, highly recommended.

i started it... (4, Funny)

rj-eleven (312679) | more than 10 years ago | (#6752324)

...try and disprove it.

Re:i started it... (1)

rekkanoryo (676146) | more than 10 years ago | (#6753374)

How dare you?! You stole my idea!!

collecting information from arcades... (3, Funny)

evilWurst (96042) | more than 10 years ago | (#6752337)

Reminds me a little of the movie "The Last Starfighter".

I kind of doubt Pac-Man is a training simulator for anything, though. :)

Re:collecting information from arcades... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6752401)

Randal: They used to call me "Sexy Randal the Pharoah Wizard". ...too obscure?

Re:collecting information from arcades... (1)

scot4875 (542869) | more than 10 years ago | (#6752941)

Nope. Clerks animated series.

--Jeremy

Re:collecting information from arcades... (3, Funny)

Kirby (19886) | more than 10 years ago | (#6755952)

You say that now, but we'll see who survives, when the ghosts finally attack!

Re:collecting information from arcades... (1)

mrseigen (518390) | more than 10 years ago | (#6760351)

Dying from OD on "power pills" is not a great way to fight a war with the departed.

Last Starfighter prototype (1)

wikthemighty (524325) | more than 10 years ago | (#6757249)

Reminds me a little of the movie "The Last Starfighter".

Funny that you mention The Last Starfighter, as it was an unreleased game for the Atari 800 [atariprotos.com] .

Re:collecting information from arcades... (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 10 years ago | (#6771064)

You have been recruited by the star league to defend the frontier against Xur and the Kodan armada.

I F'ing loved that movie!

correctly (1)

muirhead (698086) | more than 10 years ago | (#6752377)

Snopes.com call Polybius out as a hoax,
correctly...

Where's your proof?

Re:correctly (1)

@madeus (24818) | more than 10 years ago | (#6754166)

Where's your proof?

Erm, you can't always prove something was hoax, trying would obviously be an exercise in futiity in many cases ('as any fule kno').

You can however use that organ called the brain to make a rational judgement about the likely hood if it being real.

If this doesn't set your bogon detector to maximum altert, you need a new one.

Re:correctly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6754788)

Who is a likely hood? I think the likelyhood that @madeus [slashdot.org] is a hood is, like, quite high.

You can however use that organ called the brian (err, however you spel that grey thingy) to make a rational judgement about the likely [sic] hood of erorrs in your posts, and bother to check them before you click that button.

If this doesn't set your grammatical bogon detector to maximum alert, you needs to gets a new one.

(P.S. dude, nothing personal. That "likely hood" thing just amused me, that's all. Plus, I'm bored. ;-))

Re:correctly (2, Insightful)

nanojath (265940) | more than 10 years ago | (#6756922)

Proofs of negatives are damn tough to come by - and even if the absence of proof is not the proof of absence...


Snopes doesn't really go into it true but it doesn't take a hell of a lot of investigation to call this out as bogus.


First, search around the internet and there is a certain monotony to "reports" of this game. For the most part it is clearly the repetition of some blurb someone wrote that has just gotten pasted hither and yon. There is no supporting evidence, no credible, attributed first-hand accounts. Just like a hoax: a simplistic, monolithic data source makes for a singular, monotonous presence on the 'net.


Next, the supposed ROM. The only evidence that exists of this is a screen shot that could obviously easily be faked. It's said it hangs up on the title page - how convenient. Where's the file? Who found the ROM? Where did it come from? Who's got it now? Easy enough to fake up a title page that's just a typical 80's bubble font - not even any graphics or new information, just the "game" and "company" information that already existed in the story. Most believable explanation? A lazy hoaxer just propping up a tired rumor.


Finally, the whole premise is just dumb. Video games cause amnesia and nightmares? How? Magic science, of course. Secret Military hoodoo. And like the military doesn't have an unlimited supply of seventeen and eighteen-year-olds in the enlisted ranks and guards that they could experiment on to their hearts' content. No, they'll cart experimental equipment out to the boondocks of Oregon to test teenage slackers... uh, to what end again? To collect data... on what? High scores? Giving random punks amnesia and nightmares - I'm sure it's tops on the CIA's to-do list. In fact, who exactly collected this information about kids losing their memories and waking up screaming? If someone, somewhere, legitimately discovered and demonstrated a trend, where is that person? Anyway the idea of video-game mind control is such a chestnut cliche that Harlan Ellison actually mocks it as such in the short story "The Hour that Stretches."


In short, Slashdot's proof is Snopes' proof is my proof is as good as proof that something doesn't exist gets - if there's no supporting evidence and the premise is implausible, it's as certain as it needs to be that it's just BS.

Just a wild guess: (2, Interesting)

fm6 (162816) | more than 10 years ago | (#6752434)

Probably comes from a story or novel. Polybius is the sort of thing a thriller or SF writer would invent. Perhaps we could ask the writers of a certain TV show [caltech.edu] where they ripped off the idea.

I'm reminded of Iain Banks's novel Complicity [amazon.com] , in which the protagonist spends rather too much time playing fancy computer games. Banks, who obviously has the same problem, invented some extremely cool games for him to play, including one which sounds like Civilization, only much more imaginative and creative. People are always asking Banks where they can buy these games. Sadly, they don't exist outside his head.

I think I have played it... (4, Funny)

FluxCapacitator (664284) | more than 10 years ago | (#6752435)

although I don't recall where or when.

Re:I think I have played it... (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 10 years ago | (#6752444)

Are you sure you played it yourself? Perhaps you know someone who knows someone...

I remember that! (3, Funny)

GoRK (10018) | more than 10 years ago | (#6752442)

Oh yeah! I remember that game.. it rocked. The best part about it was that it was free to play. It wasnt very hard, but there were all these weird transitions that played between levels. The game existed for sure, but all this talk of mind control isassssofo nngggrrrrff afsfsffasfaff gggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggg ggggggggg gg ggggggggggggggg ggggggggggggggg

10 minutes on Google Groups (4, Insightful)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 10 years ago | (#6752646)

http://groups.google.com/groups?th=4b04537daa47bef a
Would someone please shoot this story in the head?


It was put there by net kook 'CYBERYOGI' who was also responsible for an annoying April Fools prank last year.

Test, please ignore this comment. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6758791)

Please ignore this comment. It is a test of Slashdot's comment mode stuff.
No, really. This is just a test.

Page hasn't changed in a while... (2, Interesting)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 10 years ago | (#6752685)

Gotta love the wayback machine:

http://web.archive.org/web/2000030322484 4/http://www.clickto.com/coinop/GamePage/Polybius. html

I assume the URL has been broken by /. string filters...

About "Sinnesloeschen" (4, Funny)

Nice2Cats (557310) | more than 10 years ago | (#6752732)

This is in fact German, though it does sound somewhat strange. Die Sinne are in fact the senses, and loeschen is to delete or clear. The oe is really a umlaut (two dots above the vowel), but I can't get Slashdot's US-centric rendering machine to display it. What is usually a sign of correct German is when the transcription of the umlaut is done correctly like this, which is rare enough -- compare all of the ubergeeks who should really all be uebergeeks. Also, it is not California uber alles, but Kalifornien ueber alles. But I think Mr. Schwarzenegger will get that right.

Anyway. The "s" in the middle of the word is a Fugen-s that connects word parts the same way a dash does; usually, if you use a dash, you don't need an "s", though the rules can be complicated. In theory, you have a legal noun now (das Loeschen), but you probably would say die Sinnesloeschung instead. It isn't exactly wrong this way, but is sounds strange.

If they had wanted a cool name, they should have gone for Sinneserloeschung, which is more poetic (IMHO) and implies that the senses slowly die. Or, of course, there is always Sinnestod, the "death of the senses" -- I'd have gone with that.

Re:About "Sinnesloeschen" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6752901)

Dude, shut the fuck up. No one cares.

Re:About "Sinnesloeschen" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6752992)

You are such a dick. The comment you replied to has been the most interesting so far. Go fuck a dog.

Re:About "Sinnesloeschen" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6753247)

OOOH LOOK AT ME I KNOW GERMAN! HURR HURRR HURRR. LET ME FLAUNT MY KNOWLEDGE BY NITPICKING ON THE COMPANY NAME AND TELLING THEM HOW THEY *REALLY* SHOULD HAVE NAMED THEM BECAUSE I FUCKING INVENTED GERMAN RAH RAH RAH.

stupid lameness filter. i do not use too many caps, dammit. what a stupid stupid filter. I am not using too many caps. i think about half a message is fine. blah blah blah. the comment blew. I could have shat out a better one.

Re:About "Sinnesloeschen" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6754149)

dude, shut the fuck up, scroll down and read that which does interest you.

it was interesting to the rest of the world.

you fucking faggot.

Re:About "Sinnesloeschen" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6759580)

Why is this modded Funny? I'm German, I find it informative. Foreigners should find it particularly informative.

Tsk tsk tsk.

-p

Re:About "Sinnesloeschen" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6763333)

Maybe because German language can be funny (without particular reason) to foreigners?
Hmm... Why the sentence "Eat your Sauerkraut" makes me laugh?

Kinds reminds me of the recent beta-7.com hoax. (1)

FauxReal (653820) | more than 10 years ago | (#6752786)

There was this... well still is this site http://www.beta-7.com [beta-7.com] that claims the new Sega football game causes siezures and memory loss. There was an article here on slashdot maybe a month or 2 ago.

Worst...Story...Ever. (1)

Alkaiser (114022) | more than 10 years ago | (#6759739)

Seriously...I thought this was dead and then some retard posted it somewhere else recently...now I find it on Slashdot.

It's fake...obviously. The "guys in black suits not taking the quarters"...which would have belonged to the arcade owner is an obvious giveaway. I realize that there isn't a lot of game news right now...but maybe if Slashdot would post some links to reviews...maybe we could have something that's possibly on-topic.

Why aren't we allowed to mod stories?

Electronic Mindcontrol in 1981? :\ (1)

Randy Wang (700248) | more than 10 years ago | (#6752939)

i have to say, I am impressed with the idea of an arcade game controlling peoples' minds in a small town, but there are a few problems: 1. A guy comes and collects "data". Right. This would imply that they were doing research of some kind, and it's a fairly obvious thing to say that the best kind of data collection comes from a variety of sources. Thats why good polls are never conducted in a small area where there is a fairly predicatble response to questions. You would have to do this in a number of cities in order to collect reliable data. 2. Mind control in 1981? Using a computer game?! I wasn't aware that tetris could do that. thanks for the tip, though.

So where is it??? (2, Insightful)

WWWWolf (2428) | more than 10 years ago | (#6753243)

Where's the ROM? Or, if there's the ROM, how do you emulate it? (You just don't plug it in MAME...) And even if you have the ROM, where's the damn hardware? It's been a while since year 1981 - anyone can make a ROM of a game, call it "Polybius" and make people think that's the real mind-erasing game thing. And it'll be even more convenient if the game won't work in emulator...

No, we need more solid evidence than vague reports. Specifically, hardware specs, full history, ROMs, whatever - but not rumors.

And if you have rumors, at least make them believeable, coherent and verifiable (not "my brother's wife's aunt's roommate's son played it once").

I could tell you of games that were extraordinary to say the least, and one clearly could not believe they have actually existed unless you saw them with your very eyes. But at least if I type their names to Google I can find them pretty fast and they run in emulator. (Try "Army Moves" - the %#@&*ng jeep jumps, can you believe that? - and "Painterboy" - a noble predecessor to Grand Theft Auto, except that you paint houses instead of kill people. Both for Commodore 64. =)

Re:So where is it??? (2, Funny)

BTWR (540147) | more than 10 years ago | (#6753393)

Dude. Polybius is 100% true. I'm serious. My brother's wife's aunt's roommate's son played it once.

Re:So where is it??? (1)

N0decam (630188) | more than 10 years ago | (#6754353)

Dude, now I've got the bombastic marching music from "Army Moves" stuck in my head. I haven't played it for well over a decade, but still remember the music was fairly well know marching songs.

Re:So where is it??? (1)

WWWWolf (2428) | more than 10 years ago | (#6758753)

Yep, Fred Gray's great soundtrack. I never remembered the game's name, until I came across it in STIL. (The pieces are "Colonel Bogey march" from Bridge Over River Kwai, and Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever".)

As a game, it's definitely a game that the next generation just refuses to believe to exist. "You can't have good and appropriate game background music. And what's with that damn jeep? Cars can't jump like that! Aaaaaaargh! Take it away!" These days, if you make a war game it has to have even a little bit of realism of any kind, back then, any pothead could design a game that sold millions...

How naive (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 10 years ago | (#6767547)

No, we need more solid evidence than vague reports.
Dude, if you're going to insist on verifiable evidence for every little thing, think of all the fun you'll miss [state.gov] !

Marine doom? (1)

paradesign (561561) | more than 10 years ago | (#6753294)

They mention in other rumours of the famed 'Marine Doom'. Im wondering if anyones ever played it. how different is it? and why hasnt it gotten onto the net? i want to play it.

Re:Marine doom? (1)

paradesign (561561) | more than 10 years ago | (#6753329)

oops... youll find it here

http://www.cybernetic.co.uk/usmc.zip

from the article. yes, i r teh suck.

Re:Marine doom? (1)

Tom7 (102298) | more than 10 years ago | (#6754019)

The link is right in the article. Too much Polybius?? ;)

Re:Marine doom? (1)

mcgroarty (633843) | more than 10 years ago | (#6808785)

Does it ever bother you that you're not like everyone else? That being pleasant to be around is so easy for them and so difficult fo ryou?

Re:Marine doom? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6809152)

You are dumb.

You are ruining it (3, Interesting)

Metal_Demon (694989) | more than 10 years ago | (#6753443)

You are all missing the point. What could be a very interesting conversation on whether this could ever happen, how, why, and does the government secretly keep tabs on people who kick ass at war-games, has become "prove it". It is quite obvious this game is a load of crap but the real point is What If?

That being said I'm going to get this topic on the right track whether you like it or not. First of all I don't think the government does keep track of who has the highest scores at contra. With the way games are today they prove nothing about real world abilities. There are plenty of fat people who couldn't shoot a real gun straight if their life depended on it, but they could ownz joo at Counter Strike. I actually think it could potentially be useful for agencies like the NSA, CIA, ETC to test peoples logic skills with puzzle games, though most of these are a console thing and therefore would be hard to collect data from people who don't come to you.

In the future, if virtual reality ever becomes a reality, and there are very realistic FPS and strategic combat games I wouldn't put it past big brother to monitor the l33t and attempt to recruit them. [disclaimer] I might be insane, I've been playing alot of Polybius lately. [/disclaimer]

Re:You are ruining it (2, Interesting)

Hanashi (93356) | more than 10 years ago | (#6753818)

The idea of a government using games or puzzles as recuitment devices isn't farfetched at all. In fact, during WWII, the British Government Code & Cipher School ran crossword puzzle contests whose secret goal was to identify people with the ability and interest to be trained as cryptologists. Some of these people went on to work at Bletchley Park, breaking Axis radio ciphers like Shark and Enigma.

Of course, that's a far cry from your standard arcade video game. I doubt there's much value to recruiting skilled video game players into the military. Now, if you want to talk about using games to recruit someone, a hacking game like Dark Signs [darksigns.com] would be a better target for the paranoid among us.

Re:You are ruining it (1)

JFMulder (59706) | more than 10 years ago | (#6755161)

ABC's Alias second season toyed with that idea. I'm not through season two yet, but in it the Russian government was using a special test in the 80s with question that don't seem appropriate for the normal 6-8 year old. Then based on the results they flag certain kids as potential spy material and recruit them years later. The thing is the test was given to AMERICAN students in the United States (someone must have been working as a double agent in the minitry of education or something to pull this out). So basically, Russia was recruting american kids and used them as spies against their own country. Well, that's what I got from the show's first 7 episode. I'll be watching the rest of the tapes pretty soon.

Re:You are ruining it (1)

diesel_jackass (534880) | more than 10 years ago | (#6754012)

I take it that you've never read Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card?

Re:You are ruining it (1)

Metal_Demon (694989) | more than 10 years ago | (#6754415)

No but it's actually on my current list of books to buy or borrow. And for the record I'm not saying that nobody has ever thought about, discussed, or even participated in something like this before.

A vague recollection... (5, Insightful)

Thedalek (473015) | more than 10 years ago | (#6753500)

I seem to recall a similar concept being presented in a comic book in the early to mid eighties. I suspect it was a Marvel comic featuring a team of heroes. In fact, I quite clearly recall that another part of the storyline was that the machines were powered by kidnapped children (in addition to erasing player's brains).

However, posted to Usenet by yours truly:

Every mention I've seen (coinop.org, gooddealgames.com, etc) is extremely skimpy on details such as names, dates, and specific arcades. The general story at the moment is that in less than a dozen arcades in a suburb of Portland, OR in the early 1980s, Polybius was
introduced. It was an abstract action/puzzle game which did't really attract much attention to itself. However, some people who played it reported incidents of amnesia, forgetting important details about their lives, such as their name, or where their home was. Further, some reported terrible nightmares.

The story further states that most of the kids who played Polybius swore off video games entirely, and that one became a big anti-videogame advocate (some instances of the story mentioning him as a lobbyist). However, no names are given.

Lastly, at least one former Portland, OR arcade owner claims that men in black suits would periodically come in to gather data from the machine, but not quarters. Again no names given.

Examining the logic of the story, however, makes it extremely suspect. If such a thing had truly happened, then the conspiracy in question didn't really do anything to avoid attention. In fact, they did almost everything they could to -attract- attention.

Picture this:

ARCADE OWNER: Oh, hey, you must be here to look at the Polybius machine.

MAN IN BLACK: Why do you say that?

ARCADE OWNER: Because you're wearing a black business suit, stupid. This is an arcade, not a juice bar. By the way, aren't you going to take the quarters or something?

MAN IN BLACK: No. I'm getting data.

Etc.

Now, if such a thing -had- happened, it should have set off warning lights all over the place.

On the other hand, my paranoid brain just spat out a possible explaination other than the "we're being obvious because no one will believe it" explaination that conspiracy theories so often use. How about "we're being obvious because some people will believe it, and we want to control what you believe?"

Fact: In 1983, video games were becoming a serious contender for consumer money.

Fact: In 1983, the public at large did not percieve video games as something to be regulated or monitored.

Fact: They do now.

Some other things to consider: Video games cannot induce amnesia or hallucinations. In fact, no form of video/audio stimulation can without exceptional chemical circumstances.

However, drugs can. Astonishingly, there are drugs which could have produced the exact reactions the children who played Polybius experienced. Many of these could be delivered via touch, or through the air to be inhaled. It wouldn't be too hard to hide a delivery system in a thing as massive as an arcade cabinet, but even that runs a risk: What if someone got hold of the cabinet?

Does everyone remember those bean-bag ashtrays that used to be all over the place? Acades were cluttered with them. Ever know of an arcade that actually cleaned them out?

It wouldn't be too hard to hide a delivery system in one of those, and no one would notice if a vapor seemed to be coming from an ashtray.

In other words, if the whole Polybius thing did happen, the whole thing is a smokescreen for political manipulation to demonize video games so that the government could control them. The game itself was a red herring.

Beware the ashtray.

Re:A vague recollection... (2, Insightful)

sporktoast (246027) | more than 10 years ago | (#6754864)


[...] cannot induce amnesia or hallucinations. In fact, no form of video/audio stimulation can without exceptional chemical circumstances.
I seem to recall learning in school about Ptolemy doing experiments with a spinning spoked wheel and sunlight. He demonstrated the effect where at certain speeds the spokes appear to stop or rotate backwards and also the hallucination of color when the wheels were only black and white.

Somewhere I have a flexi-single that came with an audiophile magazine that demonstrated a psycho-acoustic hallucination. You needed headphones to get the full effect. It would alternate high and low tones between your ears in various patterns, but your brain would perceive it as a different pattern. I believe it was based on this [ucsd.edu] research [ucsd.edu] .

Auditory and visual hallucinations are known to occur to people in situations of acute sensory deprivation (like dark neutral bouyancy tanks).

In each of these cases, no "exceptional chemical circumstances" were involved.

Re:A vague recollection... (1)

Jerf (17166) | more than 10 years ago | (#6756346)

Everything you describe, except sensory deprivation, are optical or auditory illusions, not hallucinations. They reflect weaknesses in our perceptual system, or sometimes, they reflect strengths.

For example, in our eyeballs, before the signal even goes out on the optic nerve, some edge detection is performed on the incoming optical input. If you remember the optical illusion where there is a regular grid of black squares, delimited by white lines, and you see little black sparkles in the intersection of the white lines flashing everywhere, that's your "edge detection" you're seeing. Despite the fact those little sparkles are illusions, they really flow from a strength of our visual system, not a weakness; the first step a computer vision system will perform is quite often an edge-detection stage, and how well done the edge-detection is can have a huge impact on the effectiveness of the system.

Some drugs and being excessively tired can also cause you "edge detection" to go crazy, making things seem to shimmer. (Like in the Simpsons when Lisa drank from the amusement park water; that's the effect they were trying to simulate.)

I also think, though I don't know, that the fancy moving patterns you see when you close your eyes and concentrate on what you're seeing is the edge detection system semi-randomly firing, and providing input to the even higher-level brain functions.

Now, "acute sensory deprivation" does cause hallucinations as your brain over-interprets what little stimulation it has; in a way, it's just an optical illusion writ large and occurring on a higher semantic level, but there is a qualitative difference. I would say that you provided a counterexample to the grandparent post's claim, but it still fails to provide any evidence that a video game could affect people in any serious way through the application of visual or auditory stimulus that we would consider within the domain of a normal video game. (i.e., loud low sounds can cause naseua, but that's not normal video game fare.)

(Some well-done video games can affect us emotionally, but it's done with perfectly normal stimuli, just well-assembled on the conceptual (story) level.)

The point that the video game as described is effectively impossible still stands.

Re:A vague recollection... (1)

ameoba (173803) | more than 10 years ago | (#6756937)

Hell, just playing Crack Attack [aluminumangel.org] for a few hours before going to be is enough to make me see things...

Re:A vague recollection... (1)

Pfhor (40220) | more than 10 years ago | (#6757464)

My friend just got a hold of the Flaming Lips "Zaireeka" album, which features 4 cds to be played simultaneously. It has a warning about causing disorientation and nausea. It is supposed to be extremely immersive.

Just thought I would throw that in.

Re:A vague recollection... (1)

slaker (53818) | more than 10 years ago | (#6759360)

I'm pretty sure the comic you're referring to was one of the early issues of "Team America", a book about motorcycle racers who could form a gestalt being called "The Marauder".

IIRC the kidnapped kids were basically locked inside the arcade games. I was maybe 7 years old when I read that. It scared the hell out of me.

Polybius's Business Model (2, Funny)

tansey (238786) | more than 10 years ago | (#6753786)

1. Make customers have amensia and forget the game
2. ?
3. Profit!

Re:Polybius's Business Model (2, Funny)

ronfar (52216) | more than 10 years ago | (#6755238)

To fill in the question mark, just see the movie Memento. To the best of my own memory (I'm too lazy to hunt for a script):

Motel Clerk: Business is slow, so when I told my boss about your condition he said, "Try to rent him another room."

Memory Guy: So how many rooms am I booked into in this s***hole, anyway.

Motel Clerk: Just the two, for now.

Memory Guy: Well, thank you for being so honest about the way you are ripping me off.

Motel Clerk: No problem, you aren't going to remember it anyway.

Memory Guy: There is such a thing as too much honesty.

Re:Polybius's Business Model (1)

mrwiz (74631) | more than 10 years ago | (#6762671)

heh, sounds like puzzle pirates...

1. Underpants (Alpha)
2. ??? (Beta)
3. Profit!

good stuff. ; )

Backwater? (5, Insightful)

afabbro (33948) | more than 10 years ago | (#6754140)

I find it hysterical that Slashdot - hosted in Holland, Michigan, which is (a) the wart on the ass of Michigan, (b set in a dry county, (c) a place where until recently MTV was not offered because it offended the local populace so, and (d) home of various colleges (like some of the Slashdot crew's alma mater) where creationsim is taught - would refer to Portland, Oregon's suburbs as "backwater".

Kids, I grew up in West Michigan and live in Portland and on the scale of "who has more atavistic hicks mired in 19th century thinking," Holland Michigan and Ottawa County lead the pack.

Re:Backwater? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6754240)

This is Eric Greif, I wrote the email. myself and slashdot did not refer Portland, Oregons' suburbs as backwater, but rather the articles did.

Re:Backwater? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6754626)

This is Eric Greif again. I need to correct myself now. My original email DID refer to those suburbs as backwater, but that was just me referencing the articles I read. Besides, this is an urban legend that I was researching, and is likely to be fiction. Let's just PRETEND there was a backwater suburb in Portland somewhere were game players had their senses deleted.

Re:Backwater? (1)

Dsal (685711) | more than 10 years ago | (#6756612)

I'd certainly put Gresham and Milwaukie down as current backwater Portland suburbs... and maybe Oregon City too.

Heck in '83 before the tech boom most PDX suburbs just had a few thousand people in them, now many of them are pushing 100K populations. It wouldn't be too off target to call them backwater back then.

I don't remember playing Polybius back then in any arcade around Portland, so the obvious answer is that I must've played it and it got deleted from my brain.

Re:Backwater? (1)

willjohnson (41739) | more than 10 years ago | (#6759366)

Milwaukie certainly isn't backwater. I'd argue that if you kept go east of Milwaukie to Carver and Damascus and all of eastern Clackamas county then you'll find backwater.

Another local responds... (1)

JimTheta (115513) | more than 10 years ago | (#6756916)

I'm from Muskegon County, just north of Ottawa county. And yes, Ottawa County sucks.

But they're not completely dry, they just have more restrictions. I believe you can't by any packaged liquor on Sundays, and you can't buy beer in a bar on Sundays either (though mixed drinks can still be sold). My friend's wife's family had a liquor store just north of the county line; they made a killing on Sunday, especially when New Year's Eve was on a Sunday. (Poor store burned down a couple months ago, but they're rebuilding!)

I'm pretty sure you can't buy adult magazines on the newstand in Ottawa County either.

I'm not sure if I'd call the area a backwater, but as far as right-wing christian zealots, they rock the house.

Re:Backwater? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6759585)

You've obviously never been to Charlotte, Michigan.

Screenshot debunked in 20 seconds... You try! (5, Informative)

BaumSquad (632811) | more than 10 years ago | (#6754642)

Yeah, you can do it too. I'd post the proof, but I don't really have any web space, and it's more fun to do yourself, and, hey, it only takes 20 seconds. Well, you need photoshop first. Basically just load up the supposed screen shot, go to Image-Ajust-Levels. In the levels drag the middle slider underneath the little graphic representation all the way to the left. What do you see? Just as I expected, a clear differentiation between the copy/pasted text from a real game and the pure black background. It looks like little rectangles of colored blocks around the text that fills the rectangle, and outside of that it is pure black. Basically the pure black background can't get any blacker, and no matter how much brightness/contrast/saturation you add to pure black, it stays pure black. Well, the real background from the screen grabs this faker got to copy-paste the letters together to make the words, or really whatever method he used, have a speckled background. There is a clear rectangular border around all three parts. It's oddly shaped, too. Not evenly surrounding each part of text, which could conceivably be jpg encoding artifacts, but it's a clear border that extends about 2 times the size of the bottom text below the bottom chuck. About 1 times the size of the middle text above that text, and the size of the middle text extended above the top title text. It's a clean line, and very obvious when viewed under these circumstances. An obvious hoax. Of course this doesn't disprove the whole thing, but it totally debunks by far the best "evidence" that is available. Try it! It's kinda fun in a nerdy CSI kinda way... -BaumSquad

Re:Screenshot debunked in 20 seconds... You try! (2, Informative)

geirt (55254) | more than 10 years ago | (#6757407)

Well, I did this with gimp (using image->colors->brightness-constrast), and I saw the same thing, but I belive this is an artifact of jpg compression. You can see the same effect on the screenshots from the other games on the same page (See the "game audits" image).

JPEG is lossy compression. Sorry.

Quarters? (1)

wileycat (690131) | more than 10 years ago | (#6755438)

Why was the owner suprised the men weren't taking the quarters? Aren't those quarter's the arcade owner's? It's his arcade, he bought the machine, why would men in black suits come and take his money?

Re:Quarters? (1)

flooey (695860) | more than 10 years ago | (#6759904)

Why was the owner suprised the men weren't taking the quarters? Aren't those quarter's the arcade owner's? It's his arcade, he bought the machine, why would men in black suits come and take his money?

And, in addition, why would an arcade owner let men in black suits "collect data" from inside a machine that he owns? Is it common practice to let people you don't know rummage around in your arcade games?

Re:Quarters? (1)

JDWTopGuy (209256) | more than 10 years ago | (#6760386)

Is it common practice to let people you don't know rummage around in your arcade games?

It is when there's a dimensional shambler pointed at your head!

Re:Quarters? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6768678)

Thats not a dimensional scrambler, it's a ladys razor.

Re:Quarters? (1)

hesiod (111176) | more than 10 years ago | (#6784606)

> Thats not a dimensional scrambler,

it's my brother!

Re:Quarters? (1)

DZign (200479) | more than 10 years ago | (#6762908)

It's common for arcades to receive games 'on test'.
They get them for free (or at a reduced price) and must fill in reports about how good the machine does (number of plays/replays/..)

So if a 'new' company would launch a new arcade game, it wouldn't be too strange to put it for free on location for testing.. or to have employees of this company coming around to check out the machine.

Read "Lucky Wander Boy" (2, Interesting)

dsyu (203328) | more than 10 years ago | (#6755499)

if you like fiction [amazon.com] based on arcade machines that never existed?

Mod parent up! (1)

skryche (26871) | more than 10 years ago | (#6757296)

Indeed this post is straight out of Lucky Wander Boy [amazon.com] .

Golden-Tee Golf (1)

Shafli (695663) | more than 10 years ago | (#6756320)

I for one know for a fact that such memory-erasing games exist. My local pub has a mysterious game called "Golden Tee Golf". Several of us play this game regularly and have several pitchers of beer and often shots of alcohol while playing. Strangely, I can never remember anything from these nights. The next day I wake up with a head-ache and am very thirsty!! I think once I saw a guy with a tie in the very same bar as this arcade game. Conspiracy!!!

More Polybius info... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6757041)

I have personally been researching this game for a few weeks now, after seeing the original article, and in fact was the one who e-mailed Snopes.com about it (around Aug 1). I was disappointed that although they concluded that it was false, no explantations of it's origin were mentioned. This topic has also been heavily discussed in the Penny Arcade message boards a few weeks ago.

What I find to be the MOST interesting aspect is not the "amnesia inducing" properties, but if the game actually EXISTS. I have gone so far as to contact multiple arcade machine vendors, some of which claimed to have seen it at one point or another. If it does indeed exist, it truly has to be the most rare game of all time, and I find that to be much more intriguing.

Re:More Polybius info... (1)

dafoomie (521507) | more than 10 years ago | (#6761642)

Yeah, the "government conspiracy" aspect does not interest me in the slighest. Who knows, it could just be a failed prototype arcade game. There's plenty of those. Doubtful, but worth looking into for that aspect. It does seem like a hoax though. If you have the rom then why not release it?

Where is the evidence? (2, Insightful)

blincoln (592401) | more than 10 years ago | (#6761590)

I am reasonably sure that this is a hoax, but I'm disappointed that no one has *any* evidence that it is. Even Snopes just says it's not true, without providing links to any of the alleged original posts on Usenet from the alleged perpetrator of the hoax.

Isn't that how urban legends spread? By a bunch of people repeating what they think is true without referencing any authoritative sources?

Wait one second... (2, Funny)

Xerxes of Zealot (637155) | more than 10 years ago | (#6761881)

"This game boasts strange effects on the players of the game, such as various forms of amnesia, as well as behavior and mood changes"

Wait...I thought the name of that game was Everquest?

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