Polybius is an arcade cabinet game released in Portland, Oregon in the early 80s and the task was to create a virtual identity for the game. Polybius is also believed to be an urban legend.

For the first part of this project I did extensive research on the game/urban legend. I read about the bizarre rumors around the game, including that it had several psychoactive and mental effects, including nightmares, insomnia, amnesia and night terrors. It was also said to be a government sponsored experiment, with men-in-suits regularly monitoring the arcades and, finally, one day taking away the cabinets.

Along with the game research, I studied the game design style of the 80s. I decided to start with a slick, simple look. I used an angular font and for a more intricate look I made a background of characters, runes to be specific. After joining the two images, I wrote a Processing script to glitch the image.  The final identity of Polybius the creepy, government game/urban legend can be seen above.

If you wish to hear more about this urban legend, or see the other 28 “press start” screens that didn’t make the cut, send me an email!