Polybius is one of the greatest urban legends in video games, and it has persisted for decades despite no evidence of the arcade cabinet ever existing … aside from an homage bearing the same name. As the story goes, a machine from a company called Sinneslöschen was placed in a single arcade in Portland, Oregon in the early ’80s, but it was quickly removed after putting players into a hypnotic trance. Despite the game not being real, Numskull Designs took it upon itself to create a quarter-scale Polybius arcade cabinet to honor the mythos.
Created by the same company behind other quarter-scale arcade cabinets such as Galaga, Pac-Man, and Space Invaders, the Polybius cabinet’s design is based on internet images and rumors that have been swirling for years. The bubble-like lettering can be seen in “leaked” images, and its simple and imposing design seems like something a government agency would create when looking to brainwash people into becoming sleeper agents or whatever else conspiracy theorists have dreamed up.
Numskull Designs didn’t create a game from scratch for the Polybius cabinet. Instead, it displays a startup screen bearing the Sinneslöschen name and then plays a series of mesmerizing images and sounds. It also sports 10 USB ports on the back so that you can use it to power any other quarter-arcade machines you have in your collection.
Despite the small size, the Polybius cabinet features a full LED backlit marquee, a built-in speaker with volume control, and a full-color display. The Kickstarter campaign is currently a little more than 70% funded with a few weeks remaining (it interested me enough to back it) and rewards include the cabinet itself, a hat, and enamel pins. You can check out the rest of the lineup at the official Numskull website. A special 40th Anniversary Edition Pac-Man cabinet is also available.