The Food of Games

Do you ever think about the food you eat in games? You will now.

The Food of Games
Far Cry 6. Screenshot courtesy of RedRansome on Xbox Live.

Ahh, food. Have you ever played a game and wound up a little peckish? Or maybe you thought that the crazy quest you went on to get someone their Cup Noodles wasn't too far-fetched and that you could go for some yourself.

But you and I both know that it's not as simple as Cup Noodles.

The curiosity

What would a plate of Ninja Nachos actually taste like? Would Sea Salt Ice Cream really be that perfect cold treat for a hot day? The Creamy Heart Soup has fruit in it, does that even work?

The curiosities sparked by game food have led the creatives and cooks among them to not only make their own attempts at replicating game food but to produce cookbooks as well. Indeed, you can now find step-by-step instructions on how to make your own Sweetrolls instead of using the sticky fingers method.

You get what I mean.

For those gamers out there that are less inclined to make a blind attempt at creating their own Suspiciously Fuzzy Drink, there are so many resources to satiate not only your belly but your curiosity.

Skyrim practically begs us to try it out with their in-game book called Uncommon Taste.

Screenshot by Author.

When we're hungry, we're weak.

Truly, we're not as strong when we're hungry, and that goes double for our playable characters. Think about it; when we have had a long day, our HP levels are dropping, and we're tired and sore, what's one of the first things we look forward to when we get home besides the bed? Exactly: food.

When health potions aren't at hand, what do our characters want most after taking a sword through the ribs? That's right, a nice juicy monster steak cooked up by Ignis himself. Or we could go a different route; what about eating to live? You know, like us, in real life. It seems a little too obvious to name Don't Starve here, so instead, think of Raft, Starbound, or 7 Days to Die as a few examples, though there are many more. Don't drink enough fluids? You die. Don't eat enough food? You die. It's not a good time. But in both of those games, the hungrier you are, the weaker you get.

Have you ever tried to do physical activity when you're so hungry it hurts? It makes sense.

Now, what about the mechanics like the ones in Resident Evil: Village where the food will permanently power you up? You don't see Ethan eat literally anything through the whole game besides what the Duke cooks up for him. It's no wonder Ethan eats a meal like Three-Flavored Mititei in one sitting – which, by the way, consists of four fish, two poultry, and three meat. That's four whole fish, two whole chickens, and three cuts of meat generally from bigger animals like pigs. Boy can pack it away (but for those of you that have beaten this game, maybe that has something to do with it? OOOH, FAN THEORY TIME! But no spoilers here, folks). But in eating that giant meal, Ethan permanently receives a massive increase to his maximum health. He eats, and he's stronger.

All these points aside, if your favourite character from a game has a favourite food, haven't you ever wanted to try it? The food in games makes them feel more real, and assists players in feeling more connected with them. Being able to eat food inspired by them is like living through the characters' taste buds.

Screenshot by Author.

Why is this such a big deal?

The curiosity can be enough to get someone to try something new. If there is a new cookbook full of recipes from a player's favourite game, you know they're going to try it out. Not everyone knows how to cook, but having that kind of inspiration and background behind the recipes can be a fantastic push to learn.

When a group of friends gets together for a Dungeons & Dragons night (sure, it's not a video game but still a good example), why not have food from that game to go with it? Not all the work has to go to the DM, the players can do it themselves too. Any hangout gaming session in general could do the same thing. Or LARPing. Whatever your game is. Pun intended.

Food isn't only life, but it can provide a connection. Game food is another level of immersion. The recipes inspired by them are another level of appreciating the work put into a game, and enjoying the food is a fun way to bring the game to life.

Humans can bond over a chunk of stale bread. Try telling me they won't bond over a whole Horker Loaf.

Where are the recipes?!

I used to be an adventurer… Oh, you've heard that story already? I'll jump right to the point then!

There are cookbooks everywhere, even for games like Tomb Raider or Assassin's Creed that didn't involve food at all. They were inspired by location as opposed to in-game food. Neat, right?

Skyrim, WoW, Destiny, Overwatch, Fallout, Dungeons and Dragons, Minecraft, Pokémon, Hearthstone, Legend of Zelda, Streetfighter, Earthbound, and FFXIV have their own mix of official and unofficial cookbooks. There is something for anybody and everybody, and most of them can be found on Amazon or even in a regular little book store.

Screenshot by Author.

Another option if you don't want a whole book of them (or are trying to save some money) is searching up individual recipes online. The Geeky Chef is a great place to start, with a bunch of different recipes from games, movies, and books alike. They've also got their own selection of cookbooks available there, which looks like it would be more of a variety of recipes as opposed to being focused on one world alone.

This is just another big way that games have inevitably brought people together, or encouraged players to try new things. If you don't know how to cook, maybe this would be a fun new way to try learning!


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