The story goes that during the golden age of arcades, a mysterious cabinet appeared that was all black except for the words “POLYBIUS” in bold blue. Those who dropped their quarters in were given a psychedelic experience that left them with headaches and other medical problems afterward, and strangers in black suits were later seen collecting data from the machine.
There’s no proof that Polybius ever happened, of course, but it’s a fun urban legend that’s grown in popularity since the dawn of the Internet (its earliest mention was on a message board in 2000). People have tried to repllicate what they believe Polybius would have been like, but none have attempted what Quarter Arcades wants to do.
Quarter Arcades specializes in 1/4-scale reproductions of popular arcade machines that are fully playable. They’ve introduced mini versions of Pac-Man, Galaga and Galaxian, and now they’re turning their attention to Polybius. A Kickstarter campaign to fund the “replica” has just met its goal with three days to go.
How do you recreate an arcade machine that doesn’t exist? Well, since there’s no real ROM for Polybius, the screen alternates between showing the alleged title screen and a hypno-swirl. This means it doesn’t hold any real value behind a decoration or conversation piece, which is why some may find the $126 pledge price hard to swallow.
Others, however, will find the sheer novelty of a miniature Polybius on their office desk or kitchen countertop impossible to resist, even if it’s only decorative. If you want your own pocket Polybius, you have until 11:30 PM on September 26.