Thanksgiving (i.e. today, if you’re celebrating) is a day to honor the three F’s – family, friends, and food! And let’s face it, as much as we enjoy our families and like our friends, food is really where it’s at today. In my household, the day is pretty much defined by festive meals and various merry foodstuffs. With that in mind, it seems only appropriate to discuss food as it relates to one of our favorite activities, one in which you may be partaking on this holiday: video games! Food and games go hand-in-hand, what with it being used most often to provide health to characters. It’s also been used sarcastically (the cake in Portal), unavoidably (see: Don’t Starve), sympathetically (bringing food to a hungry prisoner in Dragon Age), and cooperatively and/or competitively (in any number of survival games). It can be very active and rewarding – food from street vendors in Sleeping Dogs grant various bonuses – or passive and interesting – watching folks gather around tavern tables in Skyrim is strangely entertaining. Mmmm…just thinking about food is making me hungry! But before I dash off for another heaping portion of a dinner I already ate, here are five of my favorite food moments in games.
1. Maya’s bottomless stomach Ace Attorney
When it comes to game characters who love food, Maya Fey from the Ace Attorney series can stand with the best of them. While hamburgers seem to pop up most often as Maya’s food of choice, particularly as a reward for solving a difficult case, it seems no meal is beyond her liking – spaghetti, birthday cake, ramen you name it! She’s truly an equal opportunity food lover!
2. Cook everything in Breath of the Wild!
Of all the activities in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, cooking is my favorite. Not only is an essential thing to do if you want to keep Link alive, but part of it involves being something a mad scientist. Because not only can you cook things that are obviously food to make meals, like fish and apples, you can also cook monster parts and bugs to make various potions that provide Link with things like protection from the heat or cold, or make him speedier or stealthier. Plus, the animation of Link cooking is fun to watch, especially when he cooks up something special!
Video from YouTube User Yusuf Çiftci
3. Dust: An Elysian Tail’s “mysterious wall chickens”
Fans of Dust: An Elysian Tail know well the “mysterious wall chicken,” a power-up that can be found in…well…walls, or bought from shops. However, fans of the Castlevania series will more fully recognize this as a direct ode to that series’ own “wall chickens,” well-preserved poultry/health items that could also be whipped out of Castlevania’s walls. Yep, it’s a thing.
4. Baking with Peach and other food adventures in Paper Mario
The Paper Mario series is one of the more interesting offshoots featuring everyone favorite mustachioed plumber. And if you didn’t know it already, it actually features quite a bit of cooking! For starters, both Paper Mario and Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door contain characters who can cook up recipes that result in items that provide Mario with health, stamina, and other boosts. But then, in Paper Mario, there’s a whole quest that involves helping the capture Princess Peach bake a cake. And you’ve got to get everything just right to appease the very hungry and very demanding Gourmet Guy!
5. Gauntlet – don’t shoot the food!
Though there have been numerous remakes of Gauntlet over the year, the original game set the tone for many of the RPGs that we play today. In the handful of times that I played the original game, I can’t say that I was the player with the most finesse. And this was nowhere more obvious than in my terrible habit of shooting all the food away. Yep, you don’t want to do that, surprisingly, because then you have no food! The thing of it is that it’s just so easy to do accidentally, what with the swarms of enemies waiting to greet you at every turn. Indeed, in Gauntlet, I learned a valuable lesson that I still abide by today – don’t shoot the food!
What are some of your favorite food-related moments or activities in games?