Have you ever wondered what a female protagonist’s perfume smells like when you’re watching a movie? Or maybe you’ve longed for the smell of burning rubber while playing Gran Turismo? If so – Smell-O-Vision’s here!
I’m sure everyone thought Smell-O-Vision was dead when the concept failed to take off in the 1960s movie Scent of Mystery. The film took advantage of a technique developed by Hans Laube, where different smells, from cigar smoke to oranges, were emitted from the theatre seats.
That’s really as far as ‘smellies’ went… until now. Sure, a Time magazine reader survey may have listed Smell-O-Vision in the ‘Top 100 Worst Ideas of All Time’, but it’s sniffing its way back.
The stench of video games
A new device, called ScentScape, brings smells to gaming. No, not the stench of sweat and mouldy coffee that you might pin to the stereotypical PC gamer. Instead, this emits pongs that are relevant to the video game itself.
When you’re raging around in Call of Duty you can enjoy the whiff of shotgun fire. Or if you’re skipping around in Fable, take pleasure in the aroma of woodland scrub. Hacking and slashing in Dante’s Inferno? Relish the stench of burning… flesh. Ok, maybe that’s not quite what the product’s US creator, Scent Sciences, was going for.
It’s not the prettiest piece of kit, the Metro describes it as a ‘mix between a toaster and a cat-carrying case’, but ScentScape promises to enrich the gaming experience. We’ve already got surround sound, force feedback, motion controls and now 3D – so the only sense that’s holding us back from full immersion is smell.
ScentScape works by combining the odour of 20 basic scent cartridges, to create all sorts of smell to enhance your gaming experience. It’ll cost around £44 to buy and should provide approximately 200 hours of gaming scent.
Do you want Smell-O-Vision?
But is this a gimmick too far? Many of us are already peeved by the onslaught of 3D, and then there’s the steady march of motion controls. When we’re playing Killzone 3, do we really want the smell of futuristic warfare mingling with the stench of our own sweat as we wave around the PlayStation Move motion controller?
Then again, if you want Smell-O-Vision, fair play. It’s your choice to add whatever you’d like to your gaming or TV viewing experience. The problem is that game developers and TV programme creators will have to throw themselves straight onto the bandwagon if we’re actually going to enjoy the full benefit.
Developers will have to program the relevant smells into their games, for example. And somehow I don’t think they’ll want to spend extra money on creating odours that just a few of us will sniff. But maybe you’ve been waiting for Smell-O-Vision all your life?
Do you think Smell-O-Vision is a gimmick too far?
Yes - why would you want to smell what you see? (57%, 131 Votes)
No - I think smells could enhance TV and games (25%, 58 Votes)
I couldn't care less about this stinking poll (18%, 42 Votes)
Total Voters: 230