The Role of Food in Video Games

For years, food has played an integral role in many of our favorite video games. Whether you are playing on your smartphone or a wider screen with your console or computer, you can’t deny that various foods in video games create a lasting impression during your gameplay. In other words, game developers use food to immerse players into the virtual world as it is something irresistible and relatable.

What’s your favorite snack when playing video games?

Here are three roles food has played in many video game titles:

Used for Sustenance and Boosting Stats/Skills

Perhaps the most obvious and relatable role, many games use food as sustenance. For example, in many simulation games, it is crucial that you feed your characters or virtual pets. Otherwise, they will die and you may or may not suffer consequences in your gameplay.

On the other hand, some games use food as a healing or revival item. In the case of Genshin Impact, for example, players can access their inventory to feed their characters should they run low on health points or die during a fight. The characters may also experience “fullness” if you keep feeding them.

Food as healing item? Rock on!

Some games also use food and drink to provide a boost in defense, attack, and critical rate, making players stronger and more resistant to certain environments. For instance, Dark Souls players use edible consumables to enhance stamina, increase resistance against ailments (toxic, bleed, and frost), and boost elemental and magical attacks.

Simulates Our Real-Life Relationship with Food

Ever wondered how you can’t touch, smell, or eat virtual food, yet your mouth waters at the sight of it? You are not alone. As mentioned, game developers use food to entice players while they play. Like in Monster Hunter: World, its developers mastered the art of fine-tuning the texture of meat, the consistency of sauces and soups, and the appearance of perfectly cooked food, which is why many dishes in the game always look good. In a way, players crave the dishes and satiate their hunger by feeding their characters with them.

Anyone can play along with food!

You may also think of dishes in video games as the ultimate food porn. Not only do they elicit human responses to seeing delicious food in real life, but the realistic texture and plating make them aesthetically pleasing. Think of it as a virtual tour of a property you plan to buy. For instance, before purchasing a Pag-IBIG foreclosed property, you want to tour the property from your screen to see whether it is worth looking at in real life. Plus, photos and video presentations of the foreclosure may convince you that it is your dream home.

Part of Lore/World-Building

While most video game foods serve as sustenance and boosts, others serve a crucial role in the game’s lore and world-building. Take The Last of Us as an example. Since the game’s plot is set in a zombie-like apocalypse, players have to navigate Joel and Ellie (the game’s protagonists) to forage the woods for any edible meat, fruit, and greens they may find. Some conversations even talk about rationing canned goods to feed all survivors for a week or more.

In Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, saké is an obtainable item from bosses and through exploring the grounds of Ashina. Besides alluding to a real-life ceremony in Japan, giving rice wine to specific characters unlocks key conversation responses that help players understand the plot and characters better. Players might even score hints on some bosses’ weaknesses after sharing a cup of saké or two.

Celebrate your victories with food!

The bottom line of food and drink is that whether they are tangible or virtual, they play vital roles in our lives. From sustenance to healing, forging relationships, culture, and aesthetics, food will remain a part of our lives and will continue to reflect aspects of our routines and aspirations.

31 thoughts on “The Role of Food in Video Games”

  1. I agree with you whether that food is real or not it has a very huge role in every human being. Food can help you gain more energy, sustaining your life, and etc.

  2. Yes, food has a grear role in our life. I try to have the healthy and energizing foods to feed my brain.

  3. Yes, food plays a major role in our lives. It’s also a good bribery tool (in moderation) to get teens working in a classroom. 😉

  4. I really enjoyed this post. I’ve found that any time my family does anything related to the TV, whether it’s movies, tv shows, or gaming, we always have snacks.

  5. This was an interesting read. I’ve often wondered why kid and adults seem to always have food with them whenever they are gaming or watching TV.

  6. Great post. Food is the great uniter. We see it on film, in games, and of course, in our everyday lives. Food always plays a huge role in life.

  7. This was a really interesting read. I love the comparison between how food is used in video games and how it’s used in our real lives.

  8. I have to have snacks when I’m playing video games! Food always plays a huge role in my life and mood. (everything’s better with snacks!) Great post!

  9. I agree that food plays an integral role in our lives and how advertisers are always to look for ways to incorporate their brands in every part of our lives, including video games.

  10. I’ve totally agreed with this stuff, foods that we eat while enjoying and playing our favorite video games affect greatly one’s person being especially on the appetite side. While playing video games our brain is constantly being used and we need supplements for it to burn on this occassion.

  11. I was so excited to create food in Breath of The Wild! Great read. I’ve never actually pondered the subject of food in video games.

  12. Very interesting, I never thought to think about the relationship between food and video games. Food is a huge part of our lives, in more ways than we realize!

  13. When we play video games, yes, we burn few calories, but we also eat more. I never knew the detailed reason though. Very thoroughly you have mentioned it!

  14. This was sooo interesting! I never thought about the role of food in video games because I don’t really play video games! I have a friend who does, so I could ask her about this.

  15. I’ve never seen food from this perspective, probably because I’m not into video games. Then again, it’s nice to get to know food in relation to video games.

  16. It reminded me a bit of the tomogatchi handheld games the kids had when they were little (they are grown now). Interesting twist on the food info!

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