When I first heard about the Nosulus rift a few weeks ago, I took it as a joke. A VR peripheral that emits the odor of flatulence? It’s not anywhere near April 1, though, so when my colleagues found out that it would be on display at Gamescom, a show I’d be attending, I started to get a little concerned. Jokingly, I told my boss that I’ve decided not to attend Gamescom. [Editor's note: The entire news team made him promise that he'd try it. He was a good sport about it, in the end.]
My Doom Approaches
The gaming show neared, and I had booked an appointment with Ubisoft for South Park: The Fractured But Whole (a title you need to read out loud to understand). As I arrived at the Ubisoft stand, I spotted the Nosulus Rift in a glass box, which gave me some hope that it was just there for pictures.
A Ubisoft spokesperson called me in to the South Park meeting room, at which point my hopes were instantly shattered. There was a working Nosulus Rift. It was mere inches away from me, staring me in the face. It sat there, smug, on its mirror pedestal, taunting me. "You know what I’m going to do to you," it seemed to say.
A key feature in the new South Park game is the power of flatulence, which you can activate at the press of a button. The point of the Nosulus Rift is to immerse you in this experience by unleashing an odor especially developed to smell like farts.
I’ve got to credit the creators on the scent they’ve made–it is truly awful. It smells like a burning toot that was kept in a balloon for some time, and then carefully sprayed directly into my nostrils. I could elaborate further, but in the interest of professionalism, I’ve held back here on describing just how rancid the smell is. As the Nosulus Rift expels its gas, you can feel a light wind blowing past your nose, which only worsens the experience.
This Thing Is Pure Evil
However, the smell itself isn’t the worst thing about the Nosulus Rift; what it does to you psychologically is its most repugnant quality. It's a strange thing to willingly [Editor's note: Partially willingly] put on your face, knowing what's about to happen. Even though it looked clean, and even though I saw a Ubisoft spokesperson wipe it down with a wet cloth, I was filled with fear and disgust. It’s not comfortable either, but the worst part by far is the moment you’re about to press the fateful button. You know what you’re about to do to yourself, and yet, you go through with it anyway.
I skipped lunch the day I had this demo, and I really hope that Ubisoft takes it no further than a promotional device. It does exactly as advertised, but it showed that truth in advertising isn't always a good thing.