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!