Todd Luoto: The POLYBIUS Mystery

After a month long hiatus mostly due to colds and flus, I’m happy to present this conversation I had with writer, director and producer Todd Luoto from Los Angeles and previous guest Natalie Zarrelli from New York! We talk about the mysterious video game Polybius, about which Natalie wrote over at Atlas Obscura:

Gamers who tried it couldn’t stop playing, and began acting oddly: they were nauseous, stressed, had horrific nightmares. Others had seizures or attempted suicide, many felt unable to control their own thoughts. It was only later that they recalled how Polybius was serviced more often than other games. Men in black suits opened the machine every week, recorded its data, and left, with no interest in its coins. Soon after it appeared, the mysterious arcade game vanished without warning—taken by the men in black suits, leaving no record of its existence.

Todd and Jon Frechette wanted to explore this mystery and set about to make a documentary with a Kickstarter project. Unfortunately, that project didn’t raise the required capital. So instead, they will be launching a podcast about mysterious American urban legends and the first season will be dedicated to the Polybius conspiracy. It will be called Unknown USA: The Polybius Conspiracy!

UPDATE!: Here’s a link to the podcast:

Here’s the trailer Todd and Jon Frechette made for the original video version of this project which will be replaced with a podcast. ( I will give you a good idea of just how spooky the urban legend of POLYBIUS is.



Todd Luoto


Natalie Zarrelli

Atlas Obscura: The Urban Legend of the Government’s Mind-Controlling Arcade Game:
The twisted tale of Polybius, the world’s most dangerous video game:


Music and Sample Credits

Waysted – Kromatiks Music

Amazing 80’s Home Arcade Game Room – Doug’s Home Arcade Collection (

In the Game Part 1 – Matt McLellan (

Left: Azuria Sky (

Things We Almost Lost – Azuria Sky (

In the Game Part 2 – Matt McLellan (

Image credit: ( Newsilver95

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