This Game Emits Smells & Is Developed by ITE Students


The next time you walk past a fruit stall and catch a whiff of banana scent a flash of red light somewhere, don’t freak out and start looking everywhere for a pontianak. Relax. You are not in Tainted.

Developed by 15 final-year students from ITE College Central’s Higher National ITE Certificate programme in Games Design and Development for their final-year project and in collaboration with researchers from Keio-NUS CUTE (Connective Ubiquitous Technology for Embodiments), Tainted is a computer game that emits smells based on progression through the game.

Tainted emits banana, jasmine, pineapple, and mango scents, which serve as indicators of the game’s progress when paired with colored lights. Keio-NUS developed the smell-emitting modules. For example, red lights and a banana scent indicates a pontianak is nearby. The team believe horror is the best way to use smells to create suspense.

The journey was tough as the student had little materials for reference as the concept was rather abstract. For 6 months, they stayed in school for up to 10 hours daily as they had to go through countless rounds of trial-and-error before the game was ready for submission to the Tokyo Game Show.

The game lasts for about 3 minutes and ends when the player is caught by the pontianak. Tainted is supported by the National Research Foundation, Prime Minister’s Office, under its International Research Centres in Singapore Funding Initiative.

I would really like to have the students develop Tainted into a full-fledged game (maybe an action-packed RPG) featuring all the local horrors, spookies, and haunted places. 3 minute-gameplay is just not enough and I am looking forward to screaming like a banshee while making my character (I would name him Mr. Bomoh) flee from Ms. Pontianak.

Additional Information

Unlike Tainted that releases smells based on the game’s progression, Smell-O-Vision is a device that emits a variety of smells based on the scene on the your game screen. The device comes pre-loaded with 20 smells and has a ‘volume control’ feature to ensure the user is not overwhelmed by the scents. Smell-O-Vision was launched 5 years ago.

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