Smellable Games Are Decades Away

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Smellable Games Are Decades Away

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Are you ready to smell your games? Yes? Well then be ready to wait a couple decades, because researchers at Birmingham University have hit a few snags in getting their videogame smell-o-vision technology to actually work.

When news broke last month of a project at Birmingham University to create a system that uses aromatic wax, a fan and a PC to potentially create games that you could not only see and hear, but smell, the potential seemed endless. Suddenly NBA 2K becomes ten times as immersive when you can smell Charles Barkley's sweat while posting up deep in the paint. You'd fire off a mortar in Gears of War and catch the scent of smoke and cinder in the air.

Well it turns out that the engineers at Birmingham may have revealed their project a little bit too soon. According to research director Bob Stone, the "delivery mechanism is clunky" and the "technology doesn't work, not at the moment anyway." Stone sounds decidedly pessimistic about the project, pointing to the inherent flaws of a smell-centric mechanical system.

"As long as you've got something that needs to be physically wafted at the human face you'll have delivery problems because it's going to be noisy, clunky and you'll not be able to remove the smell," Stone said.

He also downplayed the potential impact it could have for games: "If you can create great content which makes your hairs stand on end using visuals and music, then what's the smell going to add to that?"

Stone thinks there could be some use for smells in games, but that the idea is most likely a dead end. "With current levels of technology and, bearing in mind the complexity of how smell is linked to memory, spatial awareness and even emotion, I can't see how it's going to be used," he said. "We're looking at 20 to 30 years before this technology works."

On second thought, maybe I don't want to smell Charles Barkley.

[Via IncGamers]

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Yeah, John Waters tried smell-o-vision decades ago and it never caught on, unless they plan to put something addictive in the nose-o-ports (probably), I fear the same will happen to 'smelly games'. Seeing as my daughter is nose-deaf, I doubt it will impress her either at 28.

I'm not sure I'd want to play some games with smell.... I mean, what would Half Life 2 smell like when you started running into Zombies?

My main interest in this is simply as a stepping stone to amazing virtual reality. I think it is worth as many years as it takes.

Given the sewer level is a staple of the FPS, I've got to ask: Does anybody really want this in a video game?

stupid idea. Look at the content of most games! 90% of what's pumping through your smelly box would be blood, gunpowder, and rotting corpse flavor.

WinkyTheGreat:
I'm not sure I'd want to play some games with smell.... I mean, what would Half Life 2 smell like when you started running into Zombies?

Imagine the Mighty Poo in Conker's Bad Fur Day.

...

When the tech is finally perfected expect a sudden explosion in sales of Cooking Mama games.

Could make cooking games better but that's probably about it.

...

I'm hungry...

Socken:

WinkyTheGreat:
I'm not sure I'd want to play some games with smell.... I mean, what would Half Life 2 smell like when you started running into Zombies?

Imagine the Mighty Poo in Conker's Bad Fur Day.

...

Oh god... I know this is talking specifically about games, but what if it goes to movies? Imagine the Golgothan (shit demon) in Dogma....

Am I the only one who would love the smell of sulfur, smoke, blood and cordite attacking me while I play an FPS?

Combine it with surround sound and my HD Samsung and it makes for some pretty intense gaming.

But I suppose the potential is there for more excrement based gaming.

Swings and roundabouts I guess.

Knight Templar:
Given the sewer level is a staple of the FPS, I've got to ask: Does anybody really want this in a video game?

That was the first thing I thought of.

When 99/100 games are legally required to contain a sewer level, must we, MUST we, have the ability to smell the rancid feces?

well if it's a shooter just take 2 previously fired gun shell cases and putt them up your nose lol but seriously no ,i wouldn't want that just fix and perfect what we have first then we'll look at smell-o-gaming

Keane Ng:

Are you ready to smell your games?

No.
no.
no.

WinkyTheGreat:
I'm not sure I'd want to play some games with smell.... I mean, what would Half Life 2 smell like when you started running into Zombies?

Exactly!

Yes, it would be more realistic to have tons of smoke blown in my face whenever a mortar exploded next to me in a WWII FPS.

Would it be more fun? No, not really.

There are some things games just don't really need.

They've tried adding smell to movies on multiple occasions, never worked. Let's do it for games, wooo! Really, I don't want to smell the blood and tears of my enemies.

WanderFreak:

Knight Templar:
Given the sewer level is a staple of the FPS, I've got to ask: Does anybody really want this in a video game?

That was the first thing I thought of.

When 99/100 games are legally required to contain a sewer level, must we, MUST we, have the ability to smell the rancid feces?

Perhaps this will encourage the use of a new, revolutionary, Doom 3 flashlight-esque melee weapon that leaves you utterly helpless yet strangely relaxed: the pressurised can of Air Freshener.

But... do you really want to smell the Heavy's Sandwich?

JC175:
Perhaps this will encourage the use of a new, revolutionary, Doom 3 flashlight-esque melee weapon that leaves you utterly helpless yet strangely relaxed: the pressurised can of Air Freshener.

BOOMEEEEER!

*spritz*

Mario is down in those pipes all the days. Do we REALLY know what those pipes are used for? Better find out before we want to smell them.

greatt im gonna smell my own blood everytime i play a game then...

ten years ago i read an artical about this coming out the same wax fan combo.

I really wouldn't want to smell most of the games I play... I mean really, who WANTS to smell death all over the place.

I'm gonna have to go on the side of not bothering with smell in the games, and instead focusing those developing resources on stuff that won't get turned off for 95% of the time of gameplay.
The first thought that ran through my mind reading this article was the sewer chapter for No Mercy in Left 4 Dead. And I don't want to know what radioactive sewage smells like in Half Life 2. Seriously.

There are some things I can think of that I don't want to smell. Any time I run up against something in a game and a character remarks, "This stinks" or something like that, I never think, "man, I wish I could smell it."
I don't want to smell rotting zombies.

I think this is a brilliant idea for immersion but I'm not sure I want to smell the carnage in Prototype.

Anyone want a Zoidberg smellable game?

How would you be able to do that with Sci-fi/ fantasy based games? What would phazon from Metroid Prime smell like, or the scenery in Bioshock?

PirateKing:
There are some things I can think of that I don't want to smell. Any time I run up against something in a game and a character remarks, "This stinks" or something like that, I never think, "man, I wish I could smell it."
I don't want to smell rotting zombies.

What would a rotting zombie smell like? Although it could be made it would either be unrealistic or terribly limited for the technology that it is.

looks like the inevitable sewer level is about to get worse!

Am I ready to smell my games? No, but I do smell the boxes of a brand new game... Amazing.
The sewer level, and hell any level from Oblivion or Fallout would reek. Think about the diner in the middle of the wasteland with all the dead bodies... *hurk*

What happened to smell-a-vision? It'll make cooking shows kickass. *drools*

SAint's Row 2 would instantly become less appealing.

Left 4 Dead woul be much more ... disturbed, you could see what the survivors are coughing about when a boomer vomits on them ... yummy :|

We look at an experiment in psychology where a TV programme claimed to be using smell of vision for the first time, they used the explanation of inducing the smell using a frequency of electromagnetic waves or similar, and asked viewers to right in if they smelt anything (they were told it would be a summery smell). And, around 80, people wrote in. Which is only a small result but only about five or so wrote in to say they did not smell something. The twist was that the TV programme did no such thing which shows the power of suggestion may be enough. So perhaps video games should just claim they can do and we'll fill in the blanks.

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