Some of the most persistent and disturbing urban legends of all time originate from the domain of video games – dating back to their earliest incarnations in the arcades and home systems of the 1980s, and continuing to the present day – and like so many mythical horror tales, many of these stories have some roots in fact.
The creepypasta community is overflowing with examples of “haunted” or “cursed” video games: just a few examples include “BEN Drowned,” which involves one gamer’s nightmarish experience with a used SNES cartridge; “Lavender Town Syndrome,” named after a location in Pokémon that allegedly caused multiple children to commit suicide; and the pre-internet legend of POLYBIUS – an early ‘80s arcade game that reportedly caused intense physical and mental distress to several players in the US Pacific Northwest before being quickly pulled from circulation.
The incident which likely inspired the POLYBIUS legend dates back to 1981, when the first alleged “death by video game” made headlines – fueling a media frenzy about the potential hazards of gaming and triggering outrage from critics who already claimed arcade games were addictive and physically harmful to young people.
The details of this case, which involves the bizarre deaths of two individuals – Peter Bukowski, age 18, and Jeff Dailey, age 19 – are the subject of today’s investigation, which not only contains documented medical evidence, news archives and police reports, but also an unsettling conjunction of circumstances that suggests something more sinister at work than a cut-and-dried case of “video game exhaustion” (which is itself a strange but genuine medical syndrome).
Watch our new episode above… and as always, be sure to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any legitimate information which may help crack this nearly 40-year-old mystery!