South Park: The Fractured But Whole is here at Gamescom 2016, as is a new torture device from Ubisoft called the Nosulus Rift. Instead of dropping you into a virtual reality world, however, the Oculus Rift spoof has something far more sinister in mind. Its sole purpose for existing is to deliver a potent fart smell during specific game moments.
I tested the Nosulus Rift out during a brief demo of the game because I possess both an insatiable curiosity and a deep sense of self-loathing. If you thought regular VR headsets made you look like a dork (and they really do), then the Nosulus Rift is not going to do you any favors. The device straps directly onto your face, covering your nose in a way that best resembles Bane from Batman or a high-tech Hannibal Lecter. It seems perfectly harmless at first, until you trigger the game's farting mechanic.
am I cool yet
Farting is a key component of South Park: The Fractured But Whole. It's a command you can trip at any time with a button press; in the demo, it was also a way to jettison my tiny hero through the sky. Immediately after a fart, the Nosulus floods with a smell that I promise only gets stronger as you go. This horrible, noxious gas, I'm told, comes from oils within the device. It's sort of like aromatherapy in hell.
I don't know if I'd go as far as to call myself Polygon's resident smell expert — there are too many people on staff with children — but I can assure you I've smelt some truly horrible things that I have not personally dealt. Still, I'm sure you'd like to see my credentials. That's cool! I respect your integrity. In no particular order of importance, here is a list of just a few terrible things I have smelled in my life:
- A smoothie I once forgot about and left in my car, in the dead heat of a Missouri summer, for five weeks
- A fraternity house
- San Francisco
- Various spoiled foods left to die in my fridge, including milk that assumed a solid form; blackened fruit; and rancid meat
- Gorilla poop
- Many airport bathrooms, both international and domestic
- An average of three video game industry conventions every year over the last four years
- Wet laundry I forgot about and came back to three days later, only to find out it grew mold
- Human urine and feces, incubated in a hot tunnel (you might be thinking this was also in San Francisco; it was not)
I humbly believe that this list, while by no means extensive, will make you believe me when I tell you the Nosulus Rift is — can I swear? It's absolutely [Ed. note: Removed. Megan, please never use this word on our website again.] They call it a fart smell, but it is the scent that farts fart. It is a concentrated blast of an all-day music festival's worst port-a-potty. It is a used diaper left to wither and die in the desert sun, just after being sprayed with the bad breath of someone who loves eating heavy cheeses and corpses, probably.
If you think a few whiffs of fresh air will free you, please, let me assure you that it does not. The smell lingers. I've blown my nose no less than seven times today, forced my olfactory organ into every aroma-laden corner of Gamescom I could find, and yet it haunts me still.
According to the very lovely Ubisoft rep who subjected me to this nausea-inducing experience, only eight to 10 of these monstrosities exist. They're unlikely to ever make it to retail. The thought helps me sleep at night.