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Christmas Season 2011: Nine delectible gaming foods
by Andrew Whipple III

The holidays are finally here, and with that comes the requisite avalanche of food and tsunami of triple-A titles that you'll never have enough time to finish.

In honour of all of the edibles you're probably wasting, we at Gamer's Guide to Life want to recognise some of our favourite foodstuffs in video games. What better way to enjoy holiday nourishment than analysing the digital equivalent?

It may never have crossed your mind, but food is an important part of videogame design. Much like real life, without proper sustenance our avatars would shrivel up and disintegrate into the uncaring winds of the digital world. In fact, videogame characters would simply respawn, but that's beside the point. So, whilst you're diving deep into your household delicacies, take a moment with me to explore the food integration in these nine video games.

Energy tank

Found in: Mega Man
Believability: 9/10

The Mega Man games are known for their unforgiving difficulty, slamming music and, of course, Energy Tanks. The Energy Tank is basically your 'get out of jail free' card, as it refreshes your health before you become an unrecognisable hunk made formerly of man and machinery. Usually, they're found in hard-to-reach areas and secret passageways, but occasionally you'll get a lucky drop from a normal foe; when this happens, the accepted reaction is to joyfully scream like a small schoolgirl (if a girl is playing, the result is, instead, a manly football shout).

Mega Man is a dude made of lots of stuff. We don't know exactly what makes him tick, or what could be lurking underneath the lid of those rare E-tanks. Really, it could just be a gob of oil, Sour Patch Kids, or something weirder still. Whatever lightning-infused shock plasma liquid he throws down his gullet works, though, and I don't think anyone has any reason to argue.


Found in: Super Mario
Believability: 7/10

There isn't a single Super Mario game that doesn't have the famed mushroom shuffling about in its digital depths. It was fairly obvious that this item would make it to the final list, so I'll make this as terse as possible. How does a mushroom make somebody grow? That's another debate entirely, and the answer is surely lying within another castle, but the real question you should be asking is how does each mushroom affect Mario? Green ones give him another go at life and the red ones make him healthier (in other words, bigger). That's how it works in Mario-land.

If you think about it, Mario doesn't have it that bad. Mushrooms are really very nice when sautéed with various ingredients and they can literally go with anything if you love them that much. Mario fetches these things out of boxes in all sorts of crazy environments, and fortunately for him mushrooms can grow practically anywhere. As for Mario getting bigger or gaining another life due to their properties, mushrooms certainly aren't bad for you, so I suppose they could aid in your growth. As far as the extra life goes, though.


Found in: Donkey Kong Country
Believability: 8/10

Bananas aren't exclusively found in the Donkey Kong Country series, but they're certainly a heavy focus. Whilst you might question how bananas float of their own accord, collecting one hundred of the potassium-enriched fruits conjures up a free guy out of nowhere. Don't ask how it works, though; I'm a little more concerned about collecting them from industrial complexes, swamps and underwater.

The bottom line is that bananas are good for you, and the emphasis on collecting them in Donkey Kong Country shows that quite clearly. It might make little sense as to why a horde of creatures are after a bunch of bananas, but if Donkey and company were smart they'd just let the Kremlings have them. Why? Well, I'm fairly certain that ingesting bananas found scattered about an oil plant can't have any positive effects on you.

Assorted foodstuffs

Found in: The Elder Scrolls
Believability: 5/10

Skyrim has taken over the lives of the weak-willed here at Gamer's Guide to, but we who have somehow wrested ourselves away from its confining grasp tell of its plethora of assorted foodstuffs. Yes, every Elder Scrolls game contains a vast variety of food items, whether it be standard cabbage, carrots or a simple baked potato. The magic of this food presents itself, though, when you find yourself in a sticky situation. Defying the laws of everything, you can effectively stop time and gorge yourself, since each piece of food gives you up to one or two health points back without even having to leave the inventory screen. What does this mean? Well, that Black Knight who lifted his two-handed blade of killing to strike the final blow will instead find a refreshed and replenished adventurer before him.

Whilst there are people out there who make a living on the back of downing hot dogs and other foods within twelve nanoseconds, it's a little odd to see someone devour their entire collection of paraphernalia as their life flashes before their eyes. I mean, I have nothing against carrots or delicious baked potatoes, but something has to give. Unless it was recently discovered that cabbage has an alien, regenerative power, I'm fairly certain that an iron arrow impaling your body is a large concern. Fairly.

Pot roast and chicken

Found in: Castlevania
Believability: 2/10

There's little as enticing as a nicely-roasted chicken awaiting your arrival after a hard day of vampire-slaying. We complain about rude customers, inefficient co-workers or leaving work five minutes late, but how do you think the Belmont clan feels? Cursed to hold Dracula in perpetual check, these guys have to traverse demon-infested castles riddled with entire walls of spikes and other things that want to kill them. Injury is inevitable at this point, and what better way to heal wounds than to... eat a pot roast?

Assaulting a fortress of demonry is one thing, but asking to be healed by a chicken or a pot roast is something different entirely. First, it isn't like a ghost or some other angry, supernatural beastie is going to purposely drop a nice, fully-cooked chicken for you. Even if that does somehow happen (and it does, surprisingly often), the other way to find this miracle meat is inside the castle walls. That's right, you actually have to destroy the dilapidated remains of a castle wall to realise the possibility of finding a delicious chicken for you to devour. I don't know about you, but if I were trying to kill someone trespassing in my castle, I wouldn't be leaving culinary wonders in my damned walls.

Leaves and spray health

Found in: Resident Evil
Believability: 4/10

The Resident Evil games boast an impressive roster of murderous nasties. With zombie-sharks, -dogs and mutated beasts of varied poor dispositions all vying for a stake in your demise, healing is an absolute necessity. Despite how bad the injury looks or just how diseased the creature was that bit you, herbal leaves will always - and I mean always - do the trick. Crush 'em up, throw them into your stomach, and you're ready for another round of zombie-related injury. It makes about as much sense as a healing spray.

I'm no herbal expert, but I do know that there are some miraculous plants out there. However, I don't think these plants are dropped by a mutilated zombie, and I don't think they're going to be effective in treating several gunshot wounds and a bite to the neck. But I've been wrong before.

Meat buns

Found in: Dynasty Warriors
Believability: 3/10

What do you do when a thousand warriors stand in the way of you and your goal? The choice is obvious if you're playing any kind of Dynasty Warriors game. Killing hundreds of thousands of soldiers is a rough business, though, and even the most stalwart of warriors will eventually suffer from fatigue and injury. Enter the 'meat bun'. Whilst you might indeed be being chased by a horde of angry peons with pikes, you can easily heal those injuries instantaneously by ingesting one of these magical meat buns. Nor does it matter that you found it in a vase; just eat it.

Glorious as it must be to vanquish a thousand foes without ever breaking a sweat, that's easier for me to grasp than a meat bun healing all your wounds in an instant. At least, though, they had the decency to put the food in pots for the soldiers.

Assorted wildlife

Found in: Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
Believability: 10/10

Probably the most plausible of the bunch, MGS3 thrusts Snake into the wilderness, where he must prey on local fauna in order to survive. I don't know about you, but eating a spider just to get through it all sounds tough. No thwacking a wall to discover a six-course banquet here; Snake's the real deal.

Fruit and ghosts

Found in: Pac-Man
Believability: 4/10

The classic circular character gobbles away at all sorts of things, including whatever those energy pebbles are, but what really gets him going is the various fruit bouncing about the map. Fruits that somehow have the ability to move downright scares me, but at least Pac-Man follows Donkey Kong's lead and understands what's good for him. That is, until he goes berserk and starts attacking the ghosts floating around his domain. I'm right there with you, Pac-Man; I don't want people trespassing on my property either, but to eat them?

The fruit stuff is perfectly fine, as it helps maintain a healthy lifestyle for the little man. However, eating ghosts? Not so much. How does that even work? You know, let's just forget about the whole thing.

Bonus: Souls

Found in: Soul Reaver
Believability: 0/10

Raziel, you can't just go around killing people and using their souls as nourishment. I mean, there are rules that need considering. Try something normal for once. Grab a bowl of cereal or someth... woah, woah, woah! Get away you devil demon! You can't...

Yeah, right.

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- Andrew Whipple III

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