For us mere mortals, when hunger strikes, a tasty treat from the refrigerator, café, restaurant, or local supermarket is usually enough to satisfy most of us. Not in the gaming world – a place where chicken is typically sourced from trash cans, fruit is found suspended in mid-air and pot roasts can be extracted from wall cavities. Tasty. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the weird and wonderful world of game-based food.
Pixel-based foodstuffs provided much more than nourishment for gaming’s protagonists. Amongst its many properties, it could revive health, enable power-ups and supply bonus points. Best of all, an otherwise innocent-looking snack could easily be used as a projectile with murderous consequences.
Join us now as we explore some of the Mega Drive’s culinary highlights. Let the food fight begin!
Who needs a band-aid, when you can have beef? Or is it lamb? Chicken? Dinosaur, even? One thing that we do know of this mysterious meat is its incredible power to heal. Whether it’s discovered within the walls of centuries-old castles, or in the sacks of little green imps, this particular foodstuff is a welcome treat for any gaming warrior – even if the inevitable food poisoning isn’t.
You have to question the sanity of a household that: 1. Allows a motor race to take place upon its dining table. 2. Manages to spill the contents of its breakfast plate across the tablecloth. In this particular example a careless splattering of baked beans serves to slow down the unsuspecting racer, unless evasive action is taken. Rumors around the paddock hint at this obstacle’s introduction at next year’s Monaco Grand Prix. Bring out the Heinz.
Remember that famous scene in Disney’s Jungle Book where Mowgli pummeled an ape to death with a banana? How about that unforgettable moment when Agrabah was freed from the clutches of Jafar, as a Red Delicious hit him square between the eyes? No, we’re not talking about movies, we’re talking about the fruit salad’s sinister gaming alter-ego. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” – it certainly would in this case.
For those not of the food connoisseur persuasion, the ‘chip butty’ can be roughly described as a ‘potato chip sandwich’, ‘French fries in bread’, ‘bread, chips, ketchup, chips, chips, and bread, and butter and chips’, or more aptly ‘a heart attack on a plate’. In any case, I don’t ever recall seeing a worm eating one. Nor have I ever met an earthworm in a super suit and I’ve certainly never met one called Jim – or by any other name, for that matter. Yet, for any gamer lucky enough to come across one of these fabled foodstuffs, a 200% health increase was the reward. A prescription of antacids was the remedy.
Interesting fact #1: Due to marketing constraints, the 7up branding was removed from the PAL (UK & Europe) version of Cool Spot.
Interesting fact #2: Cool Spot’s gaming debut came in 1990, in the NES title ‘Spot: The Video Game’ – based on Capcom’s earlier arcade puzzler ‘Ataxx’.
Interesting fact #3: Soft drinks bottles should never be used as surf boards, no matter how cool you think you are.
There’s few guilty pleasures greater than a bag of sweets, a collection of liquorice all-sorts and an iced bun with a cherry on top. There’s few sights more frightening than a combination of the three in human form, fixed in smile, with an intent to kill. A sharp sting in the tail was guaranteed for all those who failed to leap from this enemy’s path, which made revenge all the more sweet – quite literally in this case.
Ecco had a problem. An alien race had decided to harvest the ocean, sucking the life from the seabed – his family and friends included. The fate of the entire ocean ecosystem was in his hands / fins. So what did he do? With the competition removed he took the opportunity to chow down, devouring the very souls of those who he was trying to save. Why did the aliens bother? Ecco was doing the job for them. What a hero.
Little is known of Streets of Rage’s Mr. X – the ‘Syndicate Boss’ and all round bad guy. Who was he? What was his obsession with ‘the city’? More importantly, why did he fill almost every trash can, every arcade machine, every phone box with chicken carcasses? Was he not aware of the meat’s near-godlike healing powers? Clearly, the only syndicate Mr. X was ever part of was a poultry syndicate. You want proof? Look at his hands in Streets of Rage 2’s intro. Those be farmer’s hands!
Dr. Robotnik had a problem. It was 1993, Sonic 2 had been and gone. Once again, he had failed to retain the Chaos Emeralds. On top of this, he was bordering on morbid obesity and his cholesterol levels were at an all-time high. So what action did the evil mad scientist take? Aerobics? Zumba? A revived plan for world domination perhaps? No, he instead decided to develop an unhealthy obsession for jelly beans. By 1994, Sonic 3 was released and Robotnik’s pounds had piled on. No wonder he had to recruit an echidna to do his dirty work.
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THE BONUS STAGE…
A few years back, I would often see a small hedgehog scurrying around the back garden, rustling around in the search for food. I would sometimes leave out a small saucer of cat food, sometimes dog food in attempt to befriend the little guy. He was having none of it and soon moved on to pastures new – no doubt it befriended a fox, or echidna, as is the norm. Had I been smart enough, I would have realized that a hedgehog’s favourite snack is the chili dog. Don’t believe me? You clearly didn’t read issue #1 of Archie’s ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ comic series…