Nvidia's marketing team this week announced an Nvidia-branded shower gel and deodorant as a PR stunt for social media giveaways. As far as I can tell, their Sphynx Ampere toiletries do not smell like new graphics cards, so who cares? However! This does make me wonder: which PC gaming smells would you like as a shower gel, perfume, deodorant, aftershave, air freshener, or such? What are the good smells of PC gaming? Which would you eagerly accept as a boxed toiletry set from your aunt this Christmas? I'll go first.
I've always enjoyed the sharp and pungent smell of ozone which heralds a catastrophic hardware failure. An old power supply about to go. A new graphics card which will cause immediate disappointment. An alarming scent which has no place in a normal environment. A scent which makes you go, "What is that? OH NO." I'd quite like that.
Of course, perfumes are rarely composed of a single scent, so I can expand this desire to a complete product. As an amateur bog person/selkie/naiad/sapient lump of moss which somewhat resembles a human being when viewed from a specific angle, I ache for good dank smells. Trust me, I've tried so many and they usually come up wanting. So what I would want from a PC gaming scent is: an old PC booting up in a mossy glade.
Just imagine! A base of earth and moss and wet and fungus and rotting stumps and decay. An intoxicating note of douglas fir, that pine cut through by zesty grapefruit. Then a 486 which has sat out in this forest for decades, the raw ozone of its ancient power supply and mechanical hard drive spluttering and grinding into life as you boot up. And on top, just a hint of sweet must from the damp dust inside the PSU drying out then burning away. Lovely.
I've asked around the RPS treehouse—which, I assure you, smells wonderful—and have received a few more scent suggestions (scentgestions?).
"I would like something that smells like the satisfaction of scraping fluff out of your keyboard," RPS deputy editor Alice Bee tells me. "Not the fluff itself, which I assume would smell catastrophic."
Hardware editor James bravely tested reports from "a lot of people saying the Steam Deck vent smelled nice as it got hotter." He returned two minutes later to declare, "it smells like the printer section of the PC World in Swindon that I sometimes went in when my dad needed office supplies." I do not know if that is good or bad. Let's bottle that scent either way.
This proved controversial when vidbud Liam noticed. I think only chatlogs can capture it:
Now hold on a moment here
The "Steam Deck Vent Smeller" has LOGGED ON
That thing smells like a dream
Quite often when I die in a game, I'll tilt that bad boy towards my nostrils and allow myself a little treat smell
It smells like EGX on day one. Fresh plastic. It's the best.
Starting to think the reason my Steam Deck isn't functioning properly is because I've smelled all its power out of the vent
Huffed away the teraflops
We may need opinions from you to settle the Steam Deck vent scent matter.
What else do you fancy sniffing, reader dear? Let's trust that all of these would definitely smell good, no matter how awful they may seem in words.
A few potential thoughts to get you started. The smell of a new graphics card? The rich smell of a chunky paper manual? The strange factory smell inside a freshly unwrapped DVD case? The scratch-and-sniff card included with Leather Goddesses Of Phobos? The many metallic scents of blood spilled on sharp motherboard pins? I don't know, the pleather of a new uncomfortable racerback gamer chair? I suppose you could also pick scents from PC games, yearning to sniff the virtual if you find nothing desireable in the physical. Do tell!