They Want To Let You Smell Your Video Games

They Want To Let You Smell Your Video Games

If gamers have a favourite buzzword, I’d say it’s “immersion”. We want to be immersed in the games we play, we want the experience to envelop us as best it can.

To that end we’ve had motion controls, virtual reality — things that enhance our experience by involving more of our senses. But smell? Smell is mostly off the radar, even though scent can be powerfully evocative.

Today at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco I met the folks at Sensory Acumen. They had a large black device:

They pressed a button and I could smell something resembling chocolate emanating from the unfortunately-named “Game Skunk” device. So it’s not quite there yet, but still — it was enough to make me hungry. I could see this device being a menace in games like Cooking Mama.

Beyond games, I was told that they’re interested in using the device for therapy, particularly for soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

At this rate, soon someone will invent the Smell-O-Scope from Futurama!


  • My immediate thoughts turn to sewer levels, hordes of dead beasts that accumulate around you, and running around with sweaty marines on either side of you. No thanks.

  • This will be where you learn that Mario smells faintly of rotten fish and has tried to cover it with way too much aftershave

  • I’ll pass, thank you.

    Don’t fancy the smell of hydro carbons from racing games, the smell of a dank waste water system in a game where you’re in the sewer, the smell of blood & burnt flesh from a military shooter or the smell of that crack-house in GTA.

  • I honestly don’t think it would help immersion that much. I also think we wouldn’t get 100% smell from the game just a you can now smell this like an advanced version of scratch and sniff.

    I did have a game that included scratch and sniff. I wasn’t game to sniff the brown panel until I knew it was chocolate. Leisure Suit Larry: Love for Sail.

  • The Gran Turismo 2 cd had this stuff on it which have of a faint smell of burning rubber when the discount heated up. It was vaguely cool, after three or four hours of play, to suddenly start noticing it.
    I’m not sure that Id want it for everything, however.

  • No one remembers Leisure suit larry 7 Love For Sail’s scratch and sniff?
    the casino farting scene was disgusting

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