Food from video games: more than just a little extra health

Food from video games: more than just a little extra health

Telling stories through the dishes we love

Food is one of the most crucial aspects of living, so it only makes sense that we would find a solution to it in a medium like video games that often attempts to replicate real life.

Food has been a way to get health or energy back from gaming since the early days. The first thing that comes to mind when I think about video game food is meat found in a spooky castle in, or the hilariously anachronistic gyro and fries you can pick up in. It is something that can seem very silly on the face of it, and the way we use food for health in video games has been memed and parodied to death. It is very funny to imagine

Is there any other analogy that works better? I don''t think so. Food is our energy, it gives us energy to do the things we need to do, for example, a simple fact of life that is still a little difficult to remember daily.

Cooking is the name of the game

While food remains an important component to most games out there, we also have games that focus on food. For example, there is literally nothing else to do in those games except make food. It would get too repetitive or boring after a while, but Mama always finds new ways to keep it just as fun and challenging as trying to make food in real life.

As a cook who has had a wide range of success on their journey to learn new techniques and prepare nutritious-enough foods before becoming sick one day as an adult fending for myself, it''s interesting to have games that tackle what I''d normally struggle for me in an enjoyable game. However, any Cooking Mama connoisseur may attest that the game is equally as challenging, so maybe its a little too true to life there.

Tell me a storywith food

Food isn''t always used in games as a storytelling technique. However, we still see it fairly often in games. Stardew Valley, where food becomes the theme of several holidays in the game, is also a way to get to know your favorite villagers and decommission them.

Breath of the Wild is another game that comes to mind. Some of the adventures I go on in this game have nothing to do with saving Hyrule, but rather finding the ingredients I need to prepare the perfect, most satisfying meal. There are even quests that involve bringing someone food they like, or gathering ingredients for a favorite recipe.

These stories may seem somewhat different up against the heroic backdrop of saving the world, but I believe they reflect on our humanity in a really sweet way. Im sure there are loads of other games out there that feature equally engaging descriptions about food, so I just need to look them out. Food is in many ways the cornerstone of our interactions with each other, and having characters interact and bond over food reminds me of how special those interactions can be in real life.

a story of food and family

That''s what makes me so excited for games like Venba, which will feature an Indian mother who immigrated to Canada in the 1980s, and will serve several dishes and restore lost recipes, hold branching conversations, and explore in this story about family, love, loss, and more, according to the games website.

The cooking technique makes it appear like a spiritual successor to Cooking Mama in certain ways, but the addition of the narrative in parallel with that cooking mechanic is what makes me the most consternated about Venba.

I will be the first to admit that I don''t know a lot about Indian culture, but what I do know is that food is a huge consideration. Im not only interested in playing Venba, but also learning more about other cultures and how it ties to the first-generation immigrants'' family dynamics. I think it''s safe to say that Venba will be one of the first games to look out for.

If the purpose of telling stories is to help us all connect and understand what it takes to be human, food is a natural extension of that. I will always be fun to consume foods in-game to replenish health or receive a buff, but I like the idea of highlighting our relationship to food in game stories rather than always using it as a means to a conclusion. Im looking forward to seeing more food-centric stories in games.

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