The South Park method—now 19 years running, with no signs of slowing down—is simple (on the surface, anyway): take a current, irritating pop culture trend, exaggerate its worst aspects in the crudest way possible, and go to town. And yet, we’re still kind of impressed by the show’s take on the current virtual reality boom in video games: a VR mask—dubbed the “Nosulus Rift”—that pumps the smell of human flatulence into people’s faces. The mask is being developed for the show’s new licensed game, South Park: The Fractured But Whole, due out December 6. (Like the previous South Park game, The Stick Of Truth, TFBW is being developed by UbiSoft, and centers on a new kid in town with powerful control over his own roving, enemy-blasting gas.)
If you’re interested in a deep Wikipedia dive today, there’s actually been a fascinating amount of work done in the field of incorporating olfactory components into media, from Smell-o-vision and AromaRama in the 1950s and ’60s, to scratch-and-sniff cards and the growing world of digital scent technology. But it’s rarely been used for such a biological purpose (although John Waters’ 1981 film Polyester—which came with a card imbued with the odors of not just flatulence, but also “model airplane glue,” “skunk,” and “dirty shoes”—could probably give it a run for its money.)
Sadly (or, you know, not), the Nosulus Rift won’t be widely available. Instead, it’ll be used at demo events for The Fractured But Whole at conventions like PAX, the better to give players that real South Park experience while they play.