Olly: What A Delightful Frag-rence

By Craig Pearson on November 8th, 2011 at 4:19 pm.

Perhaps best not to play Saints Row 2 with this on.

My favourite smell in the world is the smell of my ex-cat. You’ve probably heard of Dexter, but you’ve almost certainly never had a whiff of his glorious bouquet: it’s redolent of stupid cat, obviously, but I miss it. Now I’ve moved away from him I might get an Olly, a little box that puffs out odours from your PC’s actions.

It attaches to the PC’s USB and whafts out odours according events, and what smelly stuff you put in it. Someone tweets? Why not have it puff out a tang of tangerine? Facebook updates could spread the smell of old tyres. Uninvited Linkedin invites? Why those smell like dog sick to me. It has a little drawer for inserting various smelly things, so all it takes is a slice of lemon to tell you when you have mail.

To make it even more futuristic, you be able to download it, or at least the 3D model files and parts, here. It’s open source, so there’s bound to be someone out there that can make it puff out the sweet smell of success (my girlfriend’s armpits) whenever I stab someone in Team Fortress 2, right?

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56 Comments »

  1. Red_Avatar says:

    I’ve always insisted that there’s one huge thing missing from any gaming experience and that’s smell – people generally underestimate how important the sense of smell is. When you go abroad, it’s the smells that make us realise we’re somewhere different, the aromas of different trees and plants, different food, different fragrances – I can’t imagine this will be usable for quite some time, but if games had a kind of box that emitted certain smells according to what you were up to, it would be a step in the right direction for more.

    • Griddle Octopus says:

      Once you’ve been to a big LAN party, you’ll never want to smell anything again. A thousand youths subsisting on Pizza and coke, sleeping beneath their computers, for three days… ah, Multiplay.

    • TheTourist314 says:

      That description of LAN parties is exactly how Id software was described in their early days.

    • NYMinuteMan says:

      Funny, Leisure Suit Larry’s Al Lowe demanded that a decade ago. It’s an interesting concept which may actually work out at some point. Image that combined with an equivalent to AmbiLight…

    • Shuck says:

      There are two major problems with reproducing smell. The first is that unlike vision, which can be reduced to red, green and blue light, smell has hundreds, and more likely thousands, of basic components. If you’re stuck with a limited selection of smells, that’s not very useful. Also smell tends to be highly individual in its associations in ways that images and sounds aren’t. So it’s difficult to impossible to create a particular mood through smell.

    • Rawrian says:

      I’ve just realized why there’s no toilets in Morrowind and Oblivion. Visionary people at Bethesda made sure their games are prepared for the future!

    • Dan Forever says:

      Whilst I agree with what you’re saying, I have 2 reservations:

      1) Artificially smelling things always have that chemical undertone that belies the thing they’re meant to smell like.

      2) I don’t necessarily want to smell foul things whilst playing a game. The smell of dried urine upon entering a public toilet is something I can live without – especially from the comfort of my home.

  2. TheBigBookOfTerror says:

    My PC already does that. It’s called “Dust getting into the case and setting everything on fire”. It really brings the smell of the battlefield to life in Arma 2!

  3. Lambchops says:

    Have I fast forwarded to April?

  4. Baboonanza says:

    Shouldn’t the smell of success be the smell of some other bit of your girlfriend?

  5. King Toko says:

    If someone manages to sync it with what is happening in a game so its always changing for example you are in some sewers and then you smell the sewers then that would be good probably.

    • Richard Beer says:

      And yet another reason for developers to stop using F***ING sewers in their games! I’m looking at you, Dead Island…

    • King Toko says:

      Sewers are the future.

    • Torgen says:

      Sewers are our tradition.

      Sewers are an even greater tradition in PC gaming than crates. The very earliest PC games had sewers (and caves, which are nature’s sewers.)

  6. atticus says:

    lesbian porn.

    there, I said it.

  7. sneetch says:

    I wonder if you can buy the smell of “battlefield terror” yet? Cordite (or rather its replacement), blood, sweat, bile and faeces? It’d calm down multiplayer soldiers if that was released every time you got fragged.

  8. aeromorte says:

    Yes now i can play dead island with the realistic smell of burnt flesh and sewers! … no wait

  9. Kieron Gillen says:

    “Ex-cat” sounds to me that you’ve either killed Dexter or dated him. Either way, it’s not looking good for you, Craig.

    KG

  10. PureUncut says:

    This sort of thing has been April Fools fodder for years. The future is here gentlemen.

    • westyfield says:

      I distinctly remember Tim Stone joking about a smellyvision attachment here on RPS a year or two ago, in an article about woodcutting simulators.
      Edit: PROOF!

    • Shuck says:

      There was actually a motorcycle racing simulator that could be found in arcades (in the ’60s or ’70s I believe) that made use of scent, along with fans to simulate wind, motors for vibration, etc.
      There have been a couple previous attempts to do computer peripherals that do scent as well, in the ’80s and ’90s. They usually fall apart once people realize the practical hurdles and the general uselessness of the devices.

    • Oneironaut says:

      There was another article on RPS about a similar product early this year.

      http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/02/22/scentscape-usb-smell/

  11. primatewithagun says:

    This could be interesting when watching porn.

  12. Skeletor68 says:

    Sweaty girlfriend armpits means you’ve done your job right.

    Imagine the ‘iron’ smell of blood pumping out whenever you ‘feed’ in Vampire Masquerade. Or the smell of urine whenever you are confronted by a monster in Amnesia.

    • Ravenholme says:

      “Or the smell of urine whenever you are confronted by a monster in Amnesia.”

      I’m sure many players of Amnesia do not need a smellyvison attachment to get that particular experience.

    • ratinox says:

      Sounds good. I look forward to the nascent Olfactory Survival Horror genre.

    • BAshment says:

      they can rename it ammonia.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      Strange. When I play Amnesia, I can only smell Milky Ways.

  13. Fumarole says:

    How long before someone gets it to produce the smell of victory? The smell, you know that gasoline smell?

  14. staberas says:

    just imagine bf3 with this …!
    ” I LOVE THE SMELL OF BURNING TANKS IN THE MORNING “

  15. Ergates_Antius says:

    Given the nature of most games, I really can’t see this taking off for gaming.

    Do you really want to experience the smell of burnt flesh, blood, piss, shit and smoke whilst playing BF or MW. Or the delightful aromas you’ll find wafting through the sewer systems in an RPG.

    Part of the attraction of games is the ability to make believe with things without having to suffer the bad bits. (discomform, pain and death).

    • Tusque D'Ivoire says:

      This was my thought exactly, and has been everytime someone talks about smell-o-vision at the movie theatre or at home.

      The Big Production Value Movies and Games, i.e. the ones that would be able to USE this technology, are all about death, murder, destruction and dark dungeons. How would that smell. do i want that?

      Ok now that i think of it i DO like the smell of a cold, moist cellar

  16. vyshka says:

    Time for an update to Leather Goddesses of Phobos?

  17. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    I for one welcome our burning rubber scented overlords.

  18. Jams O'Donnell says:

    I am going to be the guy who says “shouldn’t it be Frag-rance?”

    See? I was the guy.

    • thegooseking says:

      I honestly can’t believe I didn’t spot that. Normally those things call out to me, flashing beacons of failure that take tremendous strength of will to even ignore. (What does failure smell like?)

      Now I must fall on my s-word. Shit.

  19. Roshin says:

    I never asked for this.

  20. WotevahMang says:

    This + The Binding of Isaac

  21. Spakkenkhrist says:

    My cat is called Dexter, you can sniff him if you want.

  22. LGM says:

    I first read about this device in 1999, and everyone said it was absolutely retarded back then. And guess what? It’s absolutely retarded today.

    If you buy this, you are a fool.

    • Gnoupi says:

      Actually, it was another device, more sophisticated. It was supposed to add particular smells to the different situations in the game. I remember the makers were going from places to places to try to sell that.

      This one is just a perfume dispenser reacting to one trigger.

  23. DickSocrates says:

    Stuff that activates parts of your nose artificially surely has to be possible.

  24. InternetBatman says:

    Great, now I can smell the sewer levels. Rpgs have never been more fun or realistic.

  25. Josh Brandt says:

    You can see the circuitry in one of those pictures on the site, and it’s clearly an arduino, next to the words “He wants to be fiddled with.”