GameScent review — Smell-o-vision

The first time I heard about the GameScent, I laughed out loud. Smelling your game? That’s a new one. It’s a funny thought, but at least interesting in principle. Now that I have one in hand, I get the idea, but I’m not sure who thought it was a great one.

Opening the box you’ll find the GameScent atomizer device, a bevy of accessories, and the scent bottles you’ll be using. I wasn’t sure originally how one sets up a GameScent, but with this handy video, things came together. Essentially, the GameScent has an app you’ll install to your phone, and you’ll sync an adapter which is connected to your console or PC either via 3.5mm audio cable or HDMI to the GameScent device. Easy enough, right?

The adapter is connected to your gaming device in this way because the GameScent uses AI to read your sound and choose its sprays accordingly. Honestly, this is really impressive, because nothing here seems all that complex. Of course, it working correctly with the data it’s receiving is paramount, so that is a factor in how well it truly works.

Connecting the adapter is where things can be a little bit tricky. As mentioned, you can do so via either a 3.5mm audio cable or an HDMI, both of which are included in the box, although they are ridiculously short. You don’t have to run these too far from the adapter, so it’s not the worst thing. Where the complications come in is via your choice in listening to your game. If you like a headset, it’s going to be a problem. The Xbox has the ability to split audio signals, and you can probably rig up something on PC to do the same, but your PlayStation will need the adapter close by so you can run a wired splitter from the controller. There is also an audio out on the adapter, but I’ve had some buzzing with my audio going through it. Again, this is more of a nuisance, but worth mentioning.

Running it through HDMI has worked like a dream, however. I’ve gotten the best sound simply listening this way and through my TV, so I’d suggest you run it using HDMI. Once you’re all plugged up, the app will take you through the steps needed to get the adapter and atomizer synced. These are simple, and if you follow them to the letter you’ll be connected in no time. What’s really great is the two options give you the opportunity to use the GameScent almost anywhere you game, as long as that device has a 3.5mm audio jack or HDMI, which most do. Heck, you could even hook a 3DS to this thing. VR is probably the best thing to marry this to, given immersion is the goal.

Putting the GAMESCENT together (Scent Bottles) #ps5 #gaming #gamescent

While I was able to get things going eventually, the app itself doesn’t always tell you things are working correctly. I felt like my audio was running into the adapter the first time, but unless you’re checking it via the audio out you really don’t know. This is where the HDMI comes in handy, because if your audio isn’t coming through the TV, you know there’s an issue. For the adapter and atomizer, you do get a red dot denoting if it’s not working, but beyond that you simply have six gauges showing you how much scent you have left (which you can press to spray the scent manually), and a pause button to stop the spraying when you aren’t playing.

I’m getting a little ahead of myself in assembly, as you need to put the scents into the atomizer. It’s easy to do; just screw the top off the scent bottle which is designated for a specific slot (thankfully the slots and bottles are numbered and labeled as to where they go), pull the spray nozzle out of the slot, screw it to the top of the bottle, then re-insert it into the slot. There are contacts on the spray nozzle that will touch the ones on the slot, which trigger the nozzle when it’s time to spray.

After being assembled, it was time to test this baby out. Surprisingly, it actually works decently well. While playing Call of Duty, I was able to get the Gunfire scent spraying on and off. I don’t know if it’s the reading of the audio, or if it’s just built in, but it wasn’t spraying the scent too terribly much, so it wasn’t blowing my room out with the smell. The Explosion scent would also occasionally spray, but it wasn’t picked up as well as gunfire.

Moving to Forza, I was able to get Racetrack spraying. This sound is pretty obvious, so it was nice to see it being recognized. A sound that seemed to confuse the GameScent was my crashing; on two occasions Explosion sprayed out. Nothing is perfect, and there are a few more instances we’ll get to, but it was funny seeing something else triggered in these moments.

A Plague Tale: Requiem seemed to be the most on point. It begins in a wooded area, and the sounds of birds chirping and wind through the trees stimulated the Forest scent. This one very much seemed to be on a schedule, spraying regularly as the sound was the most potent of the games I’d played so far.

The last game I tried in order to trigger the final smell, Storm, was Inside. It was a little more difficult to find a game on my Xbox that would specifically set off this one, but I’m guessing rain and thunder is the most obvious. Even still, the sound of the pouring rain was mistaken for the wind in the trees, as Forest occasionally sprayed. Even more, the gun sound in Inside triggered Explosion, another goof by the AI. This also happened when I attempted to try Rainbow Six, which sprayed Storm because, I assume, it read an explosion as thunder.

In my opinion, the AI GameScent employs is giving a valiant effort. A movie might have better sound design for a device like this (and I believe it should work with it), with games focusing on spatial sound in a way that can limit it. When your audio is loud and evident in what it is, GameScent reads it well. In a typical game audio mix (which involves a lot of different sound), you might get differing results. It’s not a perfect science, but I’m still impressed by this being possible.

Why we remade smell o vision.

That said, I’m not sure these smells elicit thoughts of what they are supposed to represent. I’m having a tough time telling you that any of these smell like what they should, although the Clean Air smell is nice (which occasionally sprays to clear your airspace). They can be close, with Gunfire and Explosion evoking some qualities I’d imagine they have. Racetrack is a big maybe for me. Storm never seemed to spray enough to give its fullest scent, and Forest didn’t really give me vibes of the woods at all. It’s a mixed bag at best, but I wouldn’t say any of them are ones I smelled and immediately recognized what they were going for.

I would definitely tell you to use them in an open, well-ventilated area, whatever you do. I’ve seen some people call these stinky, but I only felt that way if I stuck my nose directly into the spray. Gunfire and Explosion make sense as ones that won’t be pleasant, so I guess there’s that. It does make me wonder how weird the upcoming scents of Blood, Sports Arena, Fresh Cut Grass, and Ocean might smell. The latter two at least could smell really nice.

Finally on the block, let’s talk price. I don’t like to usually add this as a discussion point, but the GameScent costs $179.99 (on a special for $149.99 right now). It’s not bad when considering everything that comes with it, and the great job the device does at what it should do. But, when the scents don’t hit the smells you’d expect and it’s a bit of a novelty, is it worth almost $200? That’s for you to decide.

In the end, I think that’s the biggest question I have. Who is this for? I’m surprised at how well it works, but I’m not more immersed because of it. Perhaps a VR enthusiast might be the perfect pair to what GameScent does, but it’s probably more the person who has money burning a hole in their pocket looking for the randomest thing possible to accentuate their gaming experience.

If you’re one of those people, you can pick up a GameScent via this link!

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David Burdette is a gamer/writer/content creator from TN and Lead Editor for Gaming Trend. He loves Playstation, Star Wars, Marvel, and many other fandoms. He also plays way too much Call Of Duty. You can chat with him on Twitter @SplitEnd89.




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The GameScent is an interesting quandary. Smelling your games is now possible, even if not a perfect one-for-one, but should you? And, who wants to do that? I’m not sure, but in any case, this impressive piece of tech can find a niche, but I’m not sure it’s that large.

David Burdette

Unless otherwise stated, the product in this article was provided for review purposes.

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