One of the first games we played that involved food was The Sims. The ‘wait, they get hungry?’ moment reminded us what AI’s capable of. And seeing Sims (accidentally!) die of starvation taught a life lesson we’ve carried to this day.
In other games, it feels like the characters don’t need food. At all. You can run around for hours without stopping for a snack. How do adventurers like Lara Croft manage on so few calories?
When the balance between gameplay and gourmet’s right, it makes perfect sense. Some of the games in this post let you keep lunch in your inventory. The others bring food into the game in fun, interesting ways. Read on to see our top 5 picks.
Metal Gear Solid vs. Calorie Mate
Anyone who’s played Snake Eater should recognise the name, and the yellow box. In the standard version of the game, you get the chocolate-flavoured Calorie Mate. The HD edition changes it to maple. Either way, it’s a bit shoehorned in: Snake Eater’s set in the 60s, about 20 years before Calorie Mate first went on sale.
Calorie Mate comes in 5 flavours: plain, chocolate, cheese, maple, and fruit. It restores Naked Snake’s stamina 100% when eaten. Will real-world Calorie Mate do that for you? Probably. Each block’s packed with vitamins, minerals, and energy. 3.
Not many foods fit into the MGS story, but Calorie Mate works because it’s made for basic survival. Snake Eater also made us hunt, kill, and cook our own dinner. Birds and frogs… We’ll stick with the energy blocks and the instant ramen, thanks.
Final Fantasy XV vs. Cup Noodle
The most shameless product-game tie-in of this decade, by a long shot. Don’t believe us? Square Enix remade the TV ad with noodles.
There’s a whole in-game quest about Cup Noodles (‘The Perfect Cup’), with special dialogue (it’s Gladio’s favourite food!) and loads of product placement. If you pick meat as your fave topping, you have to go fight a behemoth to get it. We can’t imagine how much Nissin paid for all this to happen.
Thing is, the collab (and the Cup Noodle hat DLC) brings some light relief to the game. When the party sits round the campfire slurping their noodles, we get a break from the heavy RPG action too.
Kirby vs. Tomato
To be precise, the Maxim Tomato. It can heal Kirby completely or add points to the fruit meter, and it takes off up to 100% of damage in Smash Brothers. There are different types of tomatoes in newer Kirby games, but the Maxim’s the original.
Normally, we wouldn’t go near a tomato with black bits on it. Unless they’re from a charcoal grill. Mmm, grilled tomato… huh, where were we? Luckily for us, that giant M proves this is good to eat – a weird mark of approval.
Kirby‘s favourite food can’t be all that bad. The series sets a good example for kids who aren’t so keen on fruits and veggies. Inhale a whole tomato, and good things will happen.
Yakuza (Ryu ga Gotoku) vs. Blue Seal Ice Cream
In Yakuza 3, Blue Seal shops keep Ryukyu supplied with delicious ice cream. Your character’s got other dining options, except they’re not all real brands. So we picked one that is – a place you can try if you ever visit Okinawa.
To pad out the in-world, in-store menu, somehow Blue Seal got 12 ice cream flavours into the game. Like goya (melon), sweet potato, sugar cane, and the ‘Mango Tango’. That’s impressive. Yakuza games have a bonus for ordering every single thing on every menu, so be brave and give them all a try.
Weirdly, we think ice cream adds to Ryu ga Gotoku‘s realism. There’s something human and relatable about a yakuza tough guy chowing down on some scoops of vanilla.
Tekken vs. Chicken
Yeah, yeah, chicken isn’t the most interesting food choice on this list. (Unless you’re a huge fan of yakitori.) But we couldn’t leave out something that’s become the symbol of a game franchise.
‘Chicken’ is the name of a fairly hard Tekken move reversal technique. Reversing a reversal, to be exact. Learning the frame rates for attacks is the only way to effectively pull off a counter like that. Chicken’s also a common item in Tekken Force mode. Walk over it to get some of your health bar back.
Considering everything Tekken games have tried over the years (hands up if you loved Tekken Ball), is chicken all that weird? It’s a great source of protein, which fighters do need to build muscle.
Gaming and food: an epic combo
We’re sorry if reading this gave you the munchies! But we can fix that: try ordering some Japanese snacks on DEJAPAN. We can also give you access to Japan-only editions of video games and consoles.