At 00:00 a.m. on March 1, 1997, a 14-year-old version of this writer- extremely lanky and awkwardly dressed- was standing outside a videogame store alongside his mother and a few slightly bedraggled-looking young men, clutching the pocket-money he’d saved for nearly 18 months, absolutely desperate to give it away.

This was undoubtedly the nerdiest moment of my life, and I’ve never since gone to a midnight launch of a videogame console, despite owning about a dozen since. But when I’d waited more than a year for the UK launch of the Nintendo 64, and, having convinced my infinitely-patient mother to drive me into town in the middle of the night, I was excited. Incredibly excited. Perhaps more excited than a night before Christmas with Santa, Willy Wonka and a dozen sugar-rushing puppies, even.

Back at home, opening my new console on my bedroom floor (it’s called “unboxing” now, and people post painfully long videos of it online…), I was hit by that curious smell of new electronics. But not just any old electronics smell; this was the smell of a new Nintendo 64. Clean, new, professional, yet somehow extremely welcoming…

Up until now, I had thought I was the only one who noticed these things- that videogame consoles, new mobile phones, whatever- had a distinct smell of their own, not just ‘electronics’.

But over at our Japanese site, Mamiya-san has written a great little article about his own experiences with much-loved games console the PC Engine (perhaps known to some as TurboGrafix-16), and, in particular, its own very special smell. Since the machine remains relatively unknown outside of its native Japan, I can’t help but share his experiences with our English-speaking readers.


From the original NES to the Super Nintendo to the Sega Megadrive… we’ve seen a variety of videogame consoles make their worldwide debut. Although few of us play with the machines now, there are undoubtedly plenty of people out there who, in years gone by, were completely obsessed with them and spent hour upon hour playing.

But let me ask you this: What did your PC Engine console smell like? Didn’t it have an awesome smell? My white PC Engine certainly did! I know I’m not alone here, since, talking to a number of acquaintances, the charcoal-grey “Core Grafix” model also had a distinct, incredibly pleasant, fragrance of its own. Those of you who owned one; did yours have the same smell, too??

The smell has stuck with me- even years later, I can recall it like it was yesterday. I have no idea whether it came from the plastic the machine was made from, or whether it was the electrical innards of the little beast that produced such an intoxicating aroma. But both the main unit and the controller gave off the exact same smell. Like a new car, or a non-alcohol anti-bacterial wet-wipe…

It smelt so clean, so gentle and new… A clinical, yet calming smell… It was kind of like being able to smell something from the distant future; a distinct, new species. Aaah, that PC Engine smell!  Neither the NES, Super NES or Megadrive had anything like the same smell.

Ah, to sniff that little plastic box one more time. But I dream…

I feel you, Mamiya-san, I really do.

Fellow gamers, do you have a particularly nostalgic console smell story of your own to regale us with? Feel free to tell us on Facebook, Twitter or in the comment below.

In lieu of a photo of my awkward-looking 14-year-old self, I’ll leave you with a photo of incredibly proud-looking young Mamiya-san holding his brand new PC Engine console.

Have a good day, boys and girls!

photo: Evan-Amos

▼Mamiya-san / photo by RocketNews24

[ Read in Japanese ]