Biorhythm Machines

In the 1970s, there were plenty of machines at the arcade that would offer you a few minutes of gameplay for your hard-earned quarters. Only one, however, offered you valuable pseudo-scientific advice, allowing you to dial into the natural cycles of life – the biorhythm machine.

Biorhythm machines presented the theory that one’s life could be broken into three key “cycles” – intellectual, emotional and physical, each of which changed on a daily basis. If you bought into that premise, biorhythm machines were ready to serve as your guide.


All one had to do was deposit a quarter and enter their birthdate and the machine did the rest, analyzing that wealth of information and spitting out a card with a graphical representation of key areas, such as health, luck, and of course, sex.

If your chart said your luck was spiking, it might be a good day to play poker with your friends. If your endurance levels were low, you might want to skip that one-on-one game.

The catch was that these readings changed on a daily basis, so it was going to cost you almost a hundred bucks if you wanted to follow your daily readings for a whole year. Most people didn’t, but that didn’t stop millions from dropping a quarter in whenever they happened to be at the arcade.

As a result, these machines proved to be a very successful and lucrative endeavor, replacing the fortune telling machines of earlier decades, which were likely just as accurate. And once the arcade explosion really took hold, biorhythm machines started disappearing, their valuable real estate needed for games like Asteroids and Pac Man.

Were you one of the people who used biorhythm machines to fine-tune your life? I’d love to hear from anyone who remembers these classic arcade attractions in our comments section below.

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6 Responses

  1. Elijah says:

    What a memory blast – there was one of these at the “The Omega Diner”, I wanted to use it to see if I was going to meet any girls soon!

  2. Frank Perri says:

    Man, I remember these. I used to love them! I was young at the time, but mostly I would put the quarter in because you could watch through the clear window as the computer controlled pen drew the little peaks on the slip of paper. Back then, watching a computer use a pen was even more shocking to me than the biorhythm!

  3. John Schlarb says:

    I really believed in these when I was a kid in the 70’s. I was always extra careful on those those triple-critical days.

  4. Joel B says:

    Yeah as a kid driving with my pop up the NJ turnpike, these weird machines were at all the Howard Johnson’s (some may still be?) I used to get a quarter from my pop and wait for my completely incomprehensible and meaningless but cool card to print out. HoJo’s were horrible places to stop and the food was awful but still they were also kind of magical places with vending machine full of magical puzzles and machines that made hot chocolate while you watched.

  5. Gerald (Jerry) Hester says:

    I designed this machine for “For-Play” company back in the day. Used a 4004 CPU chip. I still have a copy of the the program listing, breadboard, and a roll of cards used for developing the “Biorhythm” machine.

  6. Todd Peters says:

    There was one at the Zayre in Addison Illinois, I put in the date, on multiple occasions, from when I was seriously hurt ( pronounced dead actually) and dang if the pen barely moved on each category ( talking 1/8 of an inch) how it “knew” that, I really don’t know!

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