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The True Story Behind Gaming’s Most Bizarre Urban Legend

In the 1950s, the CIA began experimenting with alternative ways to weaken the enemy. The project was called MKUltra and consisted of tests on unaware subjects with the goal of finding the perfect interrogation methods. In 1976, the secret had been leaked to the public and began to spur countless conspiracy theories. In the madness, one of the most bizarre gaming urban legends began to brew, and it all started when a video game cabinet appeared in an arcade in the quiet town of Portland. Soon enough, people couldn’t stop talking about “Polybius,” a top-secret government project that gave players seizures and night terrors. Could it be real?

Dust off your Atari: It’s time to delve into the unexpected tales behind your favorite video games with Great Big Story’s Emmy® nominated series, 8 Bit Legacy: The Curious History of Video Games. How did a game so bad become iconic? What does it REALLY take to become a Nintendo game master? And what ever happened to the Street Fighter II champion who simply disappeared one day?


Portland, OR, USA

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