Hunger, a human affliction that occasionally has a virtual cause. I spend a lot of time with videogames, so getting hungry while playing is only natural. But what about the unnatural? When a love for food knows no realistic bounds? There are videogames out there with the potential to ruin entire diets. And dental plans. And lives.
Here are ten games I can never, ever play on an empty stomach. Or a full stomach. Damn it, these games just make me hungry.
The Sims 3
The Sims 3 is the only game to ever give me the strange urge to have shawarma and Key lime pie for breakfast (then put the plate on the floor and walk away). It only gets more delicious as your Sim's cooking skill goes up. I once got jealous of my Sim's Lobster Thermidor. Hey, I paid for that Atlantic Ocean semi-delicacy Missy, and your mood meter is doing little to assure me you're enjoying it as much as I would.
The Sims 3 also stands as the best example of a game that makes me ravenous whether or not I'm actually hungry. My poorest of Sims still consistently eat better than I do -- at no point in my life have I had six rotating options for breakfast. I also lack the ability to carry a grocery store's worth of produce at all times. I daresay my Sim has her snacking game down better than Liz Lemon.
Commercial imagery has been telling us for years exactly what food should look like, even if it defies all logic. The drumstick, a Gauntlet staple, is a valuable part of this tradition.
I can never decide if I love or resent the fairy godmother of animal flesh who keeps leaving these meaty power-ups behind. On one hand, a Valkyrie does need her protein. On the other, who would just abandon a delicious hunk of meat? Clearly, they're not aware of the item's universal visual appeal. I get hungry just looking at it.
Fallout: New Vegas
The crafting recipes in Fallout: New Vegas consistently make me bemoan the lack of mutated livestock in this country. Cook-Cook's Fiend Stew, for instance, is made of beer, potatoes, jalapeno peppers, and Brahmin meat. While the majority of the recipes would require real life substitutions -- it's just so hard to find quality Mirelurk meat these days -- in some cases, I'd only want the originals. Grilled Mantis, made with wine and honey mesquite pod, sounds delicious!
My love is not limited to the food: Wasteland Tequila, Cactus Water, Atomic Cocktails, and all the variations of Nuka Cola would all be welcome additions to my refrigerator.
Yoshi's Cookie's biggest flaw as a game was that the objective was to match the cookies in rows, at which point they would disappear. Bosh! Flimshaw! Everyone knows that cookies should multiply, not divide, especially ones as cute as these. They remind me of the Danish cookies I eat by the tinful during Christmas.
If Nintendo ever made Yoshi's Cookies for real, there would be only one order to fill: mine. Not for lack of popularity, but because I'll go Wonka Bar all over that shit.
Costume Quest's Creepy Treats live up to the game's Halloween theme in every way. Some, like the Unicorn Pellets, are a dirty trick. Others, like Pizza Sundaes, Licorice Cables, or the less subtle Sugar Bucket, are all treat. I may be well into adulthood, but I'd gladly take my chances come All Saints' Eve for a stab at some Box Cake.
If I got really lucky and hit the trick-or-treat jackpot, I could even make a meal of it. Chocolate Hamburger, Chocolate Carrots, Gummy Water, and Broccoli Wafers sound like a balanced dinner compared to the garbage I eat in real life.
Under no circumstances should you play this game if you're hungry, and/or like Japanese food. You'll wake up in a corner dusted in panko breading with no memory of the week before.
It's just not safe.
Cooking Mama, with its myriad recipes spanning an impressive range of Japanese cuisine, will not only make you hungry but also force you to go on a massive spree at the local Japanese grocer. However, if you do find yourself locked in a hypnotic foodie trance, just pop over to the Spaghetti Neapolitan recipe (spaghetti noodles, ketchup, and ham). That should cure you right up.
As a precocious four-year-old, watching my mom play this game made me want a hamburger like Kel wants orange soda. Worse, she was obsessed with Atari, so there was no way she was getting up to do anything short of put out a kitchen fire. Come to think of it, I should have made those burgers myself ...
BurgerTime may be crude by today's luscious visual standards, but c'mon, I was a kid. I was probably eating crayons in my off-time anyway. In fact, that may have contributed to my cravings for pixel burgers in the first place.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Yes, I'm aware that Cluckin' Bell does not actually exist. No, that does not prevent my stomach from growling during the constant fast food runs (take that as you will) during San Andreas, even though it's clearly a parody of Taco Bell, which is called "Taco Hell" for a reason.
Even better, all I had to do to make sure CJ was still lookin' fit and fab in that gimp costume was make sure he hit the treadmill every once in awhile. Sure, his mom may be dead and his entire life in shambles, but I get the feeling CJ actually didn't have it so bad. At least he didn't have to pay those damn gym membership fees.
I'm a big fan of cherries, particularly of the videogame variety. Big, red, shiny, and always in a pair, they're the very image of temptation. Forget the rest of the Pac-Man fruit; I only have eyes for the cherries. In fact, if you told me that the fruit in the Garden of Eden had been cherries, I'd have believed you. They're just beautiful.
Of course, in real life, all cherry items taste nasty, and fresh cherries are a bit of a gamble. However, I get the feeling that Pac-Man cherries don't come with pixel pits. This is one example where the virtual is better than the reality.
Kirby Super Star (Gourmet Race)
The food: delectable. The objective: get as much as you can, as fast as you can. In America, I believe we call that a "buffet."
We could all take a page from Kirby Super Star's Gourmet Race. If recreational eating was combined with foot racing more often, we could probably cure that American obesity crisis once and for all.
What videogames make you insatiably hungry?