By: Bryant Francis
Technically speaking, video games have been around for almost over 40 years now, though most people will only think back to their days playing “Pac Man” as the earliest of the age.
Since then, the portrayal of food in video games has widely varied, as it really
hasn’t been necessary to have players sit down and eat virtual food… until now.
Arcade game that has since been “ported” to every major console in some form or another, your little yellow character would eat various fruits that appeared on the screen in order to raise your overall score.
Remember realizing that you had to make sure to have food on hand so that your caravan could eat? (Note, this was BEFORE they all died of Dysentery.)
Any Kirby game. The whole point of these games is that basically any enemy is food, and you can eat them. Normal food does restore your health, but still, you eat your enemies. And yet he’s a small, pink, adorable puffball with his own TV show…
Super Mario Bros:
While you never actually saw your little digitized Mario or Luigi eating them, the iconic
mushrooms that gave them extra lives or caused the characters to grow twice their size have remained in pop culture even to this day. Just don’t ask what people think those mushrooms actually do.
The 1996 playstation game saw the titular bandicoot gathering some strange kind of fruit known as “Wumpa Fruits” as a point system akin to Mario’s coins and Sonic the Hedgehog’s rings, giving the player an extra life upon gathering 100.
Dragon Warrior Monsters:
While the Dragon Warrior series had previously existed for some time in other systems as a traditional Role-playing game, this one jumped on the Pokemon dynamic which involved capturing and training monsters. The end result actually varied from the system used by Pokemon in many ways, but one of the most obvious was that players used food to try and convince the monsters to join their side, after the battle, instead of whittling down their health and keeping them alive long enough to make a capture.
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater:
The only game in the series to rely on food as a part of the major gameplay, eating food restored the main character’s stamina, affecting a wide variety of the player’s actions, including aiming ability and health recovery. Food that spoiled could also be used as a weapon, helping take out enemies as stealthily as possible.
World of Warcraft:
While not the first game to use food as a healing item by far, it continued a tradition started by previous MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online role playing games) to use food as a healing item that could be easily acquired from in-game vendors (and, in some cases, other players.) Players could consume in between combat, forcing them to stop and eat in order to regain health. Some foods also would provide status bonuses. The game as a whole even possessed a whole cooking profession that could be trained.
Cooking Mama Series:
Using the Wiimote/DS stylus, you prepare meals with the assistance of an eerily cheery anime-styled woman. You probably won’t learn how to actually cook with this one though.
(PC, Xbox 360, Playstation 3)
This game provides a catch to the food that’s supposed to restore your health. Barring few (if any) exceptions, it also irradiates you slightly, which, if not checked, can be unhealthy in the long run.
Personal Trainer: Cooking
We have now come to the point where video games are actually helping you prepare food. This “game” (more of a guide of sorts) provides recipes, helps organize shopping lists, and even responds to voice commands.