With the obvious exception of Pong, it seems as though food has been a part of video games since the very beginning. And why not? When it comes to healing, the only thing more iconic than a pixelated First Aid Kit is a big, hearty, pixelated meal. But not all food is for healing, and the effects of food in video games are various. But really, it’s mostly for healing. To see just what I mean, take a look at 10 notable examples of food in video games and the effect it has on your character.
Just in time to get you ready for lunch, too.
Pizza – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games
I don’t know that eating an entire pizza – or a half, more that matter – would restore your health and give you the energy to jump around, do flips, and fight the Foot Clan, but I’m cool with anything that makes things easier in the impossible TMNT game for the NES. Pizza wasn’t used to heal in only the original NES TMNT game; it became a staple in later TMNT games, too.
Pot Roast – Castlevania games
Like pizza in TMNT, the pot roast (or giant turkey leg; I always thought it was a pot roast) can be gobbled down to heal your character, whichever generation of the Belmont clan that may be. In later games, you could actually buy the pot roast to use as a healing item whenever you needed to heal.
Mushroom – Super Mario Bros.
The mushroom in the Super Mario Bros. games wasn’t for healing; it was a power up that would increase your size and give you the ability to bash previously un-bustable bricks. Even better, you could take a hit from an enemy without dying. Certain mushrooms, like the one above, wouldn’t power you up but would instead give you an extra life – you know what? If you didn’t know that, you probably shouldn’t be reading this site.
There are also mushrooms in the NES game 3-D Worldrunner but those don’t power you up. They’re poisonous and kill you, a cheap concept I found out the hard way.
Apple – Streets of Rage 2
The best way to heal from punches, kicks, stab wounds, and, generally, gang fights, according to the Streets of Rage game, in by eating an apple. For what it’s worth, I always thought these games – especially the second one – were far superior to Final Fight.
Eggplant – Kid Icarus
Unlike almost all the rest of the food on this list, the eggplant was the last thing in the world you wanted to encounter in Kid Icarus. Thrown by the Eggplant Wizards at Pit, an eggplant would turn Pit into a giant, walking eggplant, unable to attack and making exploring a dungeon absolutely miserable. As an aside, I always loved the Eggplant Wizard, King Hippo, and Mother Brain as the three main villains on that old Nintendo cartoon. What was it? Captain N?
Cherries, Bananas, Pretzels and more – Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man
The food found in Ms. Pac-Man didn’t give you any special abilities, but it was worth a lot of points, and if my memory serves correctly, that was good for extra lives. Of course, gobbling up the food was a risk, especially since it didn’t give you the invulnerability of a power pellet.
Burgers – BurgerTime
In BurgerTime, the entire game was based around the concept of making burgers. I imagine an updated version of this game could be quite terrifying, what with high-definition eggs and sausages chasing you around. No thanks.
Bowl of gruel – Gauntlet
Another impossible NES game, in Gauntlet, your character constantly lost health, and there wasn’t much you could do to stop the slow drain aside from eating a nice bowl of gruel. The best was playing with a friend and racing to see who could get to it first.
Burgers, Fries, Drumsticks, Shakes, Pizzas, Popsicles and more – DeathSpank
DeathSpank is an incredibly stylish game – very over-the-top and silly – so it follows that the foods that heal your character is sort of off-the-wall and ridiculous, too. Why a cheeseburger heals more effectively than a drumstick, or why french fries and ketchup can heal you while you’re on the run I have no idea, but the variety of foods in DeathSpank does add to the fun of the game. Best of all, if you’re short on drumsticks, you can just slaughter some chickens and problem solved.
Fruit – Castle Crashers
During gameplay in Castle Crashers – a great downloadable game – fruit heals your character. But there’s also a side, mini-game called “All You Can Quaff,” in which the object is to eat more food than your online competitors. I’m not really sure what the point of is, being that there’s nothing really braggable about button mashing, but I guess it’s worth it for those who are into getting achievements.
Can you think of any examples of food in video games that I may have left off? More specifically, food that has an effect other than healing? Let me know in the comments section.