Game Scent aims to bring smell-o-vision to gaming

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This sort of thing has been proposed every now and then for the last 35 years or so.
Usually as an April fools prank, with the occasional serious venture thrown in for good measure.
It’s vapourware each way.
This one? As it’s “AI-powered” - scam of some sorts trying to cash in on the current hype.


IIRC, some Infocom text adventures had scratch-and-sniff cards back in the eighties, and you were prompted to take a sniff at certain points of the game.


They tried it in movie theatres — not the scratch-‘n-sniff cards that were used in a couple of films (such as Odorama for John Waters’ “Polyester”), but actual tubes that conveyed scents into the air. Of course it didn’t work: there are too many technical hurdles, such as getting the scents to the viewers’ noses at the right time and then clearing out the scent before the next one arrives. This will fail, too, and not just because nobody asked for it.


Why not Puke the Pirate?

Back in 1989 I saw Opera North perform the Prokofiev opera “Love for Three Oranges” in Edinburgh. It was a pretty wild production including scratch-n-sniff cards. Every so often some peculiar-looking characters would enter from the wings and hold up a number card like diving judges at which point you’d find the corresponding patch and do the business.

The best part was hearing three-thousand people simultaneously scratching all around the hall. That’s real surround sound!


Scientology could use this at their Super Power Center for their smell-o-wall.

Was that double-billed with Shostakovich’s opera, “The Nose”?


Missed opportunity there!

It really was a fun production. At one point there was a kind of chaotic circus street scene where, among many other things, a person came on stage quite convincingly wrestling a rubber alligator. During the “struggle” he contrived to be eaten feet-first and, once inside the rubber 'gator, waddled off-stage.

As a teenager, that ticked a lot of boxes I wasn’t expecting to be in play at the opera.


How about an opera, Le Grand Macabre, that revolves (both physically and artistically) around a giant hollow sculpture (on-stage) of a nude woman who had died of a heart attack? (Between you and me, Ligeti got away with a lot.)

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You can really even trace it back to the 1950s with “Sensorama,” which included stereoscopic film and stereo sound, fans, vibrating chair and scent dispenser to create immersive experiences (of e.g. a motorcycle ride).

Each and every time the idea has been introduced, it’s failed to take off, for a lot of reasons (a major one being that scents can’t be reduced to a small number of primary components, making it a non-starter on a practical level).

It’s funny that with this one, they’ve given up requiring support from games (because they never get it) and turned to “AI” to try to extract the necessary cues from the game audio - that just guarantees it’ll be an even worse experience than previous attempts. (What are the audio cues for “storm” or “forest”?)

They all blend together - when announced, it’s hard to discern the fake ones from the real ones, especially since they’re all about as absurd (and I think people have actually made real devices as jokes), and then afterwards, whether prank and the product, they all disappear from the culture and memory just as quickly.


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