Thursday, January 26, 2012

Food in video games. Eat all you want without the calories...

Okay, I have to say that although it is not directly related to food, Skyrim is the best all time game in the whole of the universe.  Hands-Down!  The game is immense and just so, gosh-darn-fun and quirky.  There are plenty of the wtf issues and glitches and strange going-on's but you are left with a more simple and real core system.  So, besides talking about my new addiction for a paragraph, what does this have to do with food? Everything.

Back a while ago, I wrote my first article on food in video games and talked about an assortment of games where you get things from roast beef to a bag of chips to increase your health or another attribute. (

Well, I was thinking of this while I was playing Skyrim.  In Skyrim,unlike Oblivion, the food is mostly there to increase your health.  In Oblivion, it was there for making potions or poison.  For instance, in the Oblivion game, bread is used to Restore Fatigue, Detect Life, Damage Agility and/or Damage Strength.  Mixing it with something else that does one of those four characteristics could produce a poison.  In Skyrim, bread can restore 2 health points when eating.  What makes Skyrim even more fun, is that you can actually combine items and "cook" to make something better that heals more.   It is funny that you could have this mid evil character who has never seen anything before, through the use of a fire and a pot, create a stew that could sustain them and restore health and stamina.  I like how one ingredient or sometimes two are all that is needed to create a "cooked" item.  For instance, a chicken breast and a salt pile can be used independently but, when combined, one can cook a grilled chicken breast.  It sounds or makes cooking sound amazingly simple which either is this way for easiness for the game or because the makers didn't care about cooking.  There are probably close to 200 books within the game of Skyrim which are filled with words from over to cover about the strangest and most magical topics.  Yet, putting some complexity into a cooked meal didn't even come up.

One of the recipes is for a tomato soup.  The ingredient list is a leek, tomato and salt.  While those items may work great in a tomato soup, I would dare add an onion, garlic, thyme, basil and some water.  I think that making a more complex recipe requirement for the game would add that little bit more role playing and would make the game a bit more fun.  On the other hand, I could hear the frustration from the hard core gamer who try to do everything possible in the game and are running all over the map looking for an onion or basil. (Neither onions or basil exist in the game.)  I think a culinary expansion should be released which would allow people to experiment and create new cooked items.  Take some bread and some roast beef and mammoth cheese and add it together to make a meatball sandwich.  It could happen, but isn't likely.

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