An Ode to Eating in Video Games

Video games are a form of escapism. We play them for many of the same reasons that we read books and watch TV and movies, mainly, to experience something different. But, it's not always the things that disconnect us from reality which are the most interesting. There is something oddly fascinating about the mundane in video games. We often expect the nexus of a game to be something violent and if not violent, then something action oriented. But for many games, particularly RPGs, a significant amount of time a player spends is relatively peaceful. Players do a great deal of walking from one area to another, speaking with townspeople, gathering materials and crafting. I think it's worthwhile to acknowledge these moments because they remind us of ourselves outside of the game while managing to feel intriguing. One of the most common tasks a player is required to take on is eating. Food is uncanny in video games. Often it looks like things we've eaten or at least know exist, but always with a bit of a twist. It looks better than in real life just like food looks better on TV than on a plate. When implemented well, the act of eating  can be one of the most pleasurable experiences in a video game.

I came to this thought about food and eating because, I've been playing a game called Odin's Sphere which uses cooking as the most effective way of earning experience. And it's just, so charming to watch each character sit down to a meal, it intimates life right down to the difference in mannerisms that the 5 playable characters display when eating. While Odin's Sphere has a, uniquely, detailed take on the act of eating in games,  it is not the only game which includes a system of cooking, eating or both. Sometimes these systems are complex enough to be the whole game itself, like the Cooking Mama Series which centers around cooking with Mama. But in other games where cooking is a tertiary activity it's still important. I don't remember everything from every game I've ever played but I usually remember the food.

Below I've picked a few games with food I can't get over for your viewing pleasure. And I'm gonna go fix myself something to eat.