A-Z of Gaming: C is for Cooking
Some games try to emulate life, to put in some of the experiences and commonplace happenings that everyone sees in their day-to-day life to bring in some level of immersion.
After re-playing through some games recently, there’s something that keeps re-occurring, perhaps a coincidence, but I’ve been cooking up a storm in the virtual world, and this wasn’t during one of those all-night Cooking Mama marathons.
Obviously the premier “cooking with your mummy” handheld simulator can be expected to contain much of the culinary arts, as well as the fantastic Cook, Serve, Delicious on PC and mobile. Although when I’m wandering through a post-apocalyptic wasteland, laser rifle on my shoulder, and a bullet wound in my leg, cooking a grilled mantis leg is the last thing on my mind.
Dependent on the game, the addition of a “cooking” skill or mechanic can be tremendously useful, or just a little extra something to add some immersion and detail to the game world.
Games that have a focus on survival have become hugely popular in recent years, and it’s in this genre where some form of culinary skill becomes a necessity.
The top three games on Steam right now are perma-death survival games. Rust for example has you fighting for survival in a strange radiated land, walking for miles for resources and shelter, and a survivor marches on his stomach. After skinning and butchering a pig for chicken breasts (yes, chicken, its alpha OK?), you had better build a fire and make sure it’s cooked all the way through. A poorly tummy is the last thing you need.
The usual gaming trope is that if you cook something, it becomes better. Cooking pork-chops in Minecraft will make them fill you up more, in survival games like Rust and DayZ it prevents poisoning, RPGs like Skyrim, Dungeons of Dreadmor and Fallout let you gain buffs from eating certain foods that you have cooked or found.
The culinary arts seem to play a big role in MMO’s, a big-time WoW player told me that “Higher level food gives you buffs, and these ‘food buffs’ have become a requirement for end-game raiding”, as well as vanity foods that change your appearance or make you ‘happy’, which is understandable, you can’t be sad whilst you’re eating a bacon sandwich.
Back in the days when I played Runescape, I remember spending hours trying to fish for sharks and lobsters, the shore behind me littered with campfires as players cook their seafood in preparation for PvP.
Cooking can be fun, or can be something more serious; this is true in gaming as well as in life. You can be tapping the screen manically trying to complete a disgruntled customer’s lasagne, or hunched over a fire cooking the rabbit you just killed with the sounds of groaning zombies in the distance.
Or make it a career in the Sims…not that I’ve ever done that, my cooking skill is as good as it is in real life and I just end up setting my virtual house on fire…not on purpose you understand!
Something that seems every day and trivial can actually big a big part of a games mechanics. What other seemingly humdrum and every day aspects of life do you see in games? Let us know.