Jordan Jones with six video game worlds that would likely smell terrible on the Nosulus Rift…
If you haven’t heard, South Park: The Fractured But Whole is going to introduce a cutting-edge peripheral to market: the Nosulus Rift. What does this magical device do, you ask? The Nosulus Rift will allow players to actually smell the farts of characters in Ubisoft’s upcoming game… a form of simulated flatulence, if you will… offering a brand-new level of questionable immersion. Hands-on impressions of the device have confirmed its effectiveness at giving the user an extremely unpleasant smell where appropriate. If this new technology is any indication, it sounds like we may have to be more vigilant than ever about what games we play. What if this catches on? Sure, that upcoming AAA game may look pretty, but what does it smell like? Are there any beloved retro games that you may want to shield from your precious nostrils? Here are six games that I would advise against playing with any sort of smelling peripheral. Also, just like a fine perfume, I will offer fragrance notes at the bottom of each entry.
Sure, the game might start out smelling great. It seems like a nice Autumn night as our game opens outside of Dracula’s castle. My issue lies with what happens once you step inside. Forgetting the large number of decaying Ghouls for a moment, let us instead focus on a bigger sensory threat: the Mermen. Wet Mermen hopping around the waters of Dracula’s subterranean sewage system would certainly provide an all-out assault on players nostrils. Even worse by far, is Dracula’s repulsive habit of leaving meat inside the walls of his castle. It is neglectful, and unsanitary. Imagine breaking out the Nosulus Rift for some Castlevania. You’re awkwardly walking up some diagonal stairs when you suddenly smell something rancid. Upon breaking a piece of stone wall, you discover the source of the stench: an intact rotten chicken. You rear back in disgust at the putrid, and savory scent. Unfortunately, this is your primary source of health, so bon appetit!
Hints of: decay, wet amphibian, rotten meat.
Leisure Suit Larry
Depending on how old you are, you may not be aware of the Leisure Suit Larry series. Simply put: this a game about getting laid. Each game features Larry Laffer, an average Joe in his 40s, tasked with seducing attractive women in various exotic locations… in his leisure suit. If a bottle of Acqua di Gio cologne, a pick-up artist manual, and a liter of Fireball Whiskey teamed up to make a game, it would most likely look like something from the Leisure Suit Larry series. To figure out why this game would smell so terrible, let’s consider a typical Friday night at your local night-club. More specifically, let’s talk about the bathroom of said establishment. The place where people go to spritz cologne, have a cigarette, or take a swig from that ever-trusty hip flask. This, ladies and gentlemen, is what I imagine every second of Leisure Suit Larry to smell like. Imagine guiding our hero to the woman of his dreams, all the while being invaded by the overpowering scent of way too much cologne, through locales that haven’t seen a mop in weeks. I think smelling this game would be an awful lot like sniffing directly into a cheap Vodka bottle.
Hints of: cigarettes, cheap cologne, stale beer, gentleman’s club buffet.
Boogerman: A Pick and Flick Adventure
Another retro title, Boogerman was a platformer from the Genesis/ SNES era. The game starred a masked, green-clad hero whose chief abilities consisted of flatulence, and… that’s pretty much it. In a game rife with play on words such as “Professor Stinkbaum”, and “Planet X-Crement”, it’s pretty obvious this would be a terrible smelling game. This game actually shares similar DNA with South Park: The Fractured but Whole, and by that I mean they both smell like farts. In fact, I don’t think this game smells like anything else. From beginning to end, I think this game smells like rotten eggs, and with every fart-assisted jump, it would just get worse and worse. The only time this varies would be when Boogerman decides to belch instead, leaving the characters with a very different gaseous experience. Perhaps both! I’ll say this: whatever Boogerman would lack in complexity of scents, I promise it would make up for in consistency.
Hints of: rotten eggs, methane, buffalo-wing belches.
Grand Theft Auto IV
Imagine having to smell an awful pina colada, or “new car” scented air-freshener hanging on the rear view mirror of the latest vehicle Niko Bellic decided to steal. Furthermore, I’m not saying Nico Bellic does not shower, but I am saying that we never see him do so. I can only go with the information that I am given. Being stuck in a vehicle with an individual of questionable hygiene may not be all that action-packed for your nose. Expect the smells of strong perfume, car-exhaust, food trucks, cigarettes, and other various scents that would likely be as eclectic as Liberty City itself.
Hints of: Times Square on Friday evening.
It might be prudent for Ubisoft to actually put a disclaimer on the Nosulust Rift packaging, stating: “Not intended for use with Tokyo Jungle”. Tokyo Jungle takes place in a post-apocalyptic Tokyo, where humans have disappeared. The city has been overtaken with fauna, and animals reign supreme. Quite possibly the only game where a Pomeranian can challenge a Velociraptor, Tokyo Jungle tasks you with surviving as long as possible while controlling various species of animals. Throughout the game, you will fight, breed, and… multiply. Given that description, is it no wonder Tokyo Jungle would smell bad? Think about it: society is destroyed. Sanitation does not exist anymore. Animals run rampant, presumably without daily baths. You know what? Dinosaurs are awesome, but not once have I ever wondered what a Dilophosaurus smelled like. Not once, and never will. Let’s not even get into the fact that these animals are probably using the bathroom all over the city. Oh wait, I just did.
Hints of: wet fur, urine, sulphur, animals mating.
First of all, imagine smelling The Gaping Dragon. Yeah, I’ll give you a moment to contemplate that one.
Dark Souls has a lot to do with fire. Everywhere you look, there are torches glowing, and bodies burning. Throughout the series, your character is inextricably linked with fire. This is a game where you save progress at bonfires, on your way to ascend castles to light even more flames. You know what smells really bad? Burnt hair. I have a pretty strong feeling that the majority of this game not only smells of the obvious awful things like death and decay, but also the unmistakable scent of hair being burned. Everywhere. For anyone who has accidentally singed their eyebrows, it’s understandable that they may want to keep their nostrils, and this game very, very far apart. Not to mention the overwhelming metallic scent from all of the various armor sets. Lastly, it’s pretty obvious that Blight Town smells like farts which, coincidentally, sums up that entire area pretty nicely.
Hints of: soot, sour milk, burnt hair, iron.
Super Mario Bros.
Hints of: rotten fungi, amphibian, wet sidewalk.
Streets of Rage
Hints of: the early ‘90s, dude sweat, teamwork.
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
Hints of: A “Lisa Frank” Trapper Keeper, microtransactions.
If more developers decide to incorporate this kind of sensory immersion in their games, I think that we all need to be a little wary. It is often said: “Don’t meet your heroes”. Well, perhaps there’s room for more sage advice: “Don’t smell your video games”.
… You can find Jordan on Twitter (@JordJJones), and Facebook.