You can’t taste it or smell it, but food and drink play a big role in video games, providing everything from sustenance to secret weaponry
Food has always played a vital role in video games. From Pac-Man’s bonus fruits to Mario’s magical mushrooms, it has provided everything from sustenance to supernatural abilities – and in games such as Cooking Mama and Overcooked, food preparation became a genre in its own right. Game developers, like the creators of cooking programmes and recipe books, have discovered that well-presented food is irresistible – even when we can’t eat it.
In the modern games industry, where detail and authenticity are paramount, the depiction of food has become an art form. Kaname Fujioka, executive director on Capcom’s fantasy adventure, Monster Hunter: World, says: “We design the ingredients and recipes based around the grade of the food, as well as any seasonal events it may be tied to. Since we’re unable to showcase the most important elements of food (taste and smell), we have to alter, exaggerate or potentially deform the visuals in a way that conveys that as best as possible. In order for players to believe that the visuals look ‘delicious’, a lot of fine-tuning is done on details like the colour, lighting and softness.”