Video games and cooking: between virtual and real recipes

Video games and cooking: between virtual and real recipes

Video games and cooking

On the surface, video games and food seem to be two worlds completely disconnected from each other, but in reality they are much more interconnected than one might think. Since the dawn of the world of video games, food has always played a fundamental role: heal the characters. Gunshots, kicks, punches, cuts, explosions, there is nothing that a good roast cannot heal. There are countless titles that use various types of dishes to provide a healing or strengthening effect, although unfortunately in real life it is not enough to eat a nice plate of pasta to heal a fracture ... But this is the magic of the videogame world, where everything is possible.

Over time, the relationship between these two worlds has expanded, taking new paths: the act of cooking has become increasingly important in many modern video games, so much so that some have their own focus only on this issue. At the same time, the custom of creating real recipe books taken from the most popular videogame series has become popular. So let's find out how the relationship between food and video games has evolved over time.

The food represented in video games

From apples and chicken legs that can be recovered from the trash cans in scrolling fighting games like Final Fight or Street of Rage - in spite of hygiene - up to the realistic representations of five-star dishes in titles such as Final Fantasy XV or the Yakuza series, food has acquired more and more importance in the videogame world.

If once it was enough to break crates or other objects in the scenario to find freshly made delicacies, now there are video games that allow you to recover the necessary ingredients and then indulge yourself with various recipes. Taking some recent examples: in Tales of Arise, a Japanese RPG released last year, you can manage a farm or fish to obtain ingredients to use for cooking while camping. Food in this case will give important bonuses to defense, attack or other statistics, guaranteeing the party of heroes considerable advantages in combat.

capcom Even in a blockbuster like Red Dead Redemption 2 it was possible to cook in the middle of the Wild West, in order to obtain bonuses not only to health and stamina, but also to other characteristics such as concentration. Then there are survival games, a genre that has recently become quite popular (especially in streaming) in which the goal is to survive in hostile environments. In Don’t Starve, for example, you will have to manage alone in the middle of the wilds populated by monsters, looking for any type of thing that is edible and cooking it so as not to starve. In Rust the principle is the same, you have to survive in the midst of nature by being careful of wild beasts and other hostile players, and one of the main concerns must be to stay strong by eating and hydrating, otherwise you risk weakening too fine. to die.

There are also video games that have elevated food to an art form, as if to allow the player to obtain a collection of the most sought-after delicacies. In the Yakuza series, for example, you can visit all the restaurants in the Kamurocho district, inspired by the real Kabukicho district in Tokyo. The locals present are often the real counterparts of some famous chains, so much so that lovers of Japanese cuisine will be able to find their favorite dishes there, including ramen, sushi, gyudon and other delicacies. Even the latest Animal Crossing allows you to become a master chef, offering the possibility to cook a large variety of real dishes such as potato dumplings, muffins, apple pies, fish and chips and even the much-hated pineapple pizza.

Sega Finally, some titles have devoted themselves entirely to cooking, transforming the process of creating a dish into the video game itself. The two most famous examples are: Cooking Mama is a successful series originally released for Nintendo DS, in which the player will have to face various mini-games that simulate the different activities that take place in the kitchen, from cutting the ingredients to mixing them and so on; Overcooked, on the other hand, is a multiplayer video game that supports up to 4 players and simulates the kitchen of a restaurant in which the various chefs will have to manage the different steps to create a recipe in the shortest possible time, often in unthinkable conditions, for example cooking on two. moving truck or in the middle of a carnival float parade.

The world of video games has therefore managed to make culinary processes a game, which was apparently unthinkable until not many years ago, but at the same time even virtual dishes have gradually become more concrete.

When virtual food becomes real

If, as we have seen, the culinary art has long invaded the world of video games, the opposite is also true: virtual food then materialized in reality. So today we have some curious partnerships, such as the one that took place recently for Splatoon 3, a popular video game recently released exclusively for Nintendo Switch. Splatoon 3 is part of a third-person shooter series which impersonates humanoid beings capable of transforming themselves into squid or octopus; the title is set in a post apocalyptic world where almost only underwater life forms are left. The uniqueness of the game is that, unlike other shooters, the team that has defeated the most opponents during multiplayer challenges does not win, but whoever manages to color the largest portion of the map with their own ink.

Splatoon 3, however, was not the first case of a collaboration between famous chefs and video games: last year, on the occasion of the release of Monster Hunter Rise, the chef ambassador of Japanese cuisine in Italy Hirohiko Shoda created Sanshoku Dango, little balls in the shape of balls stuck on a stick made with glutinous rice flour and granulated sugar. The recipe is based on the same Dango that you can eat between one hunt and another and who are able to enhance your character.

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For Far Cry 5, the starred chef Lorenzo Cogo was inspired by the ingredients of the US region of Montana, in where the game is set, to create some unique dishes: from "Communion" (a heart tartare sandwiched between two hosts and accompanied by a Bloody Mary), inspired by the religious sect that plays the role of main enemy in the game, up to a venison ragout and a dish based on rainbow trout, a fish typical of the American region.

If these collaborations with great chefs are not enough, a recent trend allows players themselves to cook the recipes of their favorite video games. In fact, in recent years many videogame-themed recipe books have been released; for example, the recipe book of the aforementioned Monster Hunter, which teaches how to prepare the tasty dishes that have made more than one hunter's mouth water. Then there are the post apocalyptic recipes taken from Fallout, such as Deathclaw's omelette (one of the most difficult enemies of the game), even with the possibility of making Nuka Cola at home, the drink symbolizing the title.

In a short time this trend has expanded to many other titles: we have the space kitchen of Halo and Destiny 2, the fantasy one with the cookbooks of World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV and there is even the book of Pokémon recipes, with creating dishes in the shape of your favorite pocket monster. Also for God of War: Ragnarok, not yet released, a book of recipes inspired by the world of the Norse gods is already in the works.

The combination of cooking and video games, strange as it may be, has therefore proved to work well, satisfying both the fine palates of gourmets and passionate gamers. At this point we are curious to find out what will be the next steps that will unite these two worlds even more.

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