If Kojima’s plan had succeeded, Snatcher‘s disk would have linked the game with the real world, relaying hidden messages and releasing crime scene odors.
Whether it involves using rumble in interesting ways or looking for Castlevania files on your memory card, Hideo Kojima’s Metal Gear Solid games are filled with these neat little touches that connect the game with the real world. It turns out that Kojima’s obsession with stepping outside of the confines of the game started years earlier. If the designer had his way, the Snatcher disk would have acted as a portal of sorts, bringing elements of the game’s noir-tinged plot into your living room.
Snatcher is a cyberpunk-themed adventure game that was released for a number of systems, starting with the PC-88 in 1988. The plot revolves around synthetic beings – the titular “snatchers” – that have begun killing and replacing innocent bystanders in Neo Kobe City. As detective Gillian Seed, you have to look into these murders while trying to work through your own amnesia.
Years ago, when the PC88 version of Snatcher was still in the planning phase, Kojima wanted to coat the floppy disk with a type of paint that smelled a bit like blood. As the disk sat in the floppy drive, it would heat up and release the “smell of the crime scene.”
Trust me, you aren’t the only one vaguely disgusted by that thought. The rest of Kojima’s staff were so against the idea that he now refers to this as the “Dead Smell” project.
It turns out that this wasn’t his only idea involving the Snatcher disk. At one point in the game, a character named Gibson leaves a message directing you to search a house. Originally, Kojima wanted to use invisible ink to write that message on the game’s disk. Just like with the blood smell, the heat of the computer would act as a catalyst, revealing the hidden message.
This idea was also nixed, and Kojima was probably asked to never touch a floppy disk again. It’s kind of a shame – Snatcher was certainly a memorable game, but a couple of real-world elements would have kicked the immersion up to another level entirely. Still, it is always interesting to hear about these things, and I wouldn’t entirely be surprised to smell the faint odor of sliced watermelon wafting from the disk drive while playing the upcoming Metal Gear Solid: Rising.