Top 10 Video Game Food References
It takes a powerhouse blend of stamina and strength to plant yourself on the couch and nudge a thumbstick back and forth for hours at a time. Why else would gamers require a dedicated line of "performance snacks?" Ok, every collaboration between gamer and grub doesn't need to be farcical and insulting. Some games are inspired by good food and drink, others incorporate real cuisine into virtual worlds and yet more inspire chefs to construct edible homages to the games they love. Squid Ink presents its Top 10 Video Game Food References. Additional culinary button mashing is encouraged in the comments.
10. Tapper and Root Beer Tapper, Bally Midway, 1983.
Hop from counter to counter slinging mugs of brew to keep your patrons nice and toasty. Don't let them reach the end of the bar without a beer, and collect the empties that come sliding back in your direction. The Budweiser-endorsed Tapper appeared in bars while Root Beer Tapper, which featured identical gameplay, subbed in generic alcohol-free suds for use in all-ages arcades.
9. Burger Time, Bally Midway, 1982.
A classic "maze and ladder" game featuring short order cook Peter Pepper. Build burgers from bun to bun by marching over the fixings, which plummet downward and stack up to form finished burgers. Fend off menacing two-legged hot dogs and eggs with blasts of pepper or crush them between layers of meat and hand-leafed lettuce. Caramelized onion compote, wasabi butter and blue cheese not included.
8. Shenmue, Sega, 1999.
Yu Suzuki's forgotten masterpiece and its import-only sequel (Shenmue II eventually found its way to North American Xboxes in late 2002) rendered 1980s Yokosuka, Japan and Hong Kong with remarkable verisimilitude, down to the Lotte gum at the corner market. Players were free to shop Tomato convenience stores, noodle shops and walk-up food stalls for ramen, onigiri, bento and candy.
7. Gauntlet, Atari, 1985.
One of the first arcade units to offer 4-person simultaneous play, the Dungeons & Dragons-inspired hack-n-slash title is remembered by foodies for the somberly--some would say mockingly--intoned exhortation, "Warrior [or Elf, Wizard or Valkyrie] needs food, badly!" A synthesized voice, yet another first for arcade pioneer Atari, delivered the warning whenever players' health points sunk below a certain level.
6. Cooking Mama, Taito Corporation, 2006.
The debut of the touch-based Nintendo DS and motion-based Nintendo Wii spawned an entire genre of "home-sim" games that mimicked the movements of common household activities, chief among them cooking. Cooking Mama and its litany of sequels and spin-offs is the endearing mother of them all, teaching legions of digital sous chefs to slice, dice, mix and sauté. You will still require your Cordon Bleu certificate when you apply to stagiere.
5. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Konami, 2008.
Hideo Kojima's genre-topping magnum opus, nothing short of an opera with customizable M4A1 carbines, is heralded for its ultra-realistic gameplay. This extends to the items lead character Old Snake uses to revive himself. Snake juices with Regain, the real-world Japanese energy drink, as well as Hide-Chan Noodles, a parody of convenience store instant ramen. CalorieMate Energy Blocks, another actual edible widely available in stateside Japanese markets, restored Snake's stamina in MGS3 four years prior.
4. Portal, Valve Corporation, 2007.
A revelatory 3D puzzler released as an adjunct to Valve's acclaimed Half-Life series, Portal traps players in a deserted laboratory with nothing but the disembodied voice of the urbane, possibly self-aware and likely psychopathic AI GLaDOS for company. (Yes, there is something called a Companion Cube, but don't get too attached.) GLaDOS promises cake if the player successfully navigates a series of treacherous test chambers. The cake, famously, is a lie.
3. Final Fantasy XII, Square-Enix, 2006.
The curative item Potion has healed countless in-game mages and warriors since the debut of the legendary RPG (role-playing game) series in 1987. FFXII has the dubious distinction of transforming a fictional elixir into an actual drink, released by Japanese beverage maker Suntory in limited edition blue glass flasks that resemble those in the game. They were not, generally speaking, palatable, but eager fanboys chugged them anyway. Suntory has continued releasing potion drinks for the launch of Final Fantasy XIII and the 10th anniversary re-release of Final Fantasy VII.
2. Ms. Pac-Man, Midway, 1981.
Toru Iwatani gave the world its most universally recognized gaming icon in the form of Pac-Man, the pizza-with-a-slice-missing silhouette that does nothing but eat, chomping Pac-Dots, Power Pellets and panicky ghosts. Ms. Pac-Man, originally an unauthorized hack of the Namco-published arcade title, upped the gluttony with roving bonus items, among them strawberries, peaches, pretzels and the fabled 5000-point banana, which did not appear until level seven.
1. Super Mario Bros., Nintendo, 1986.
Fungus hunters and mushroom-heads like to assert that truffles, porcini and matsutake possess magical powers, but none, so far, has been proven to grant immortality. When the mottled 1-UP mushroom burst forth from a hidden Level 1-1 block and chimed its six life-giving notes, the notion of collectible extra lives was born. Shigeru Miyamato's watershed Super Mario Bros. transformed the way games were made and played. The hallmark 'shroom has since been rendered in cake, beef and bento and become one of those most enduring symbols of gaming culture.