Now kids have another reason to ignore their parents’ advice of not playing with their food. They can dice and slice the food in the heat of the kitchen.
Far from trying to cook anything for the family, they are now playing foodie games that take these kids into an almost-real virtual kitchen.
A host of new video games, like “What’s Cooking? With Jamie Oliver” by Atari; “Cooking Mama World Kitchen” by Majesco; “Hell’s Kitchen: The Video Game” by Ubisoft; and “Personal Trainer: Cooking” by Nintendo are experiencing a huge fan following.
Jamie Oliver of the Naked Chef fame now has an interactive cookbook with a game in the hand-held Nintendo DS. Oliver has about a dozen cookbooks to his credit and is also a campaigner for the improvement of school meals for children in Britain. According to Oliver, “I’m looking at this as a digital book with a game rather than a game with a digital book.”
Oliver’s video game hit shelves very recently, in October. It includes more than 100 exclusive recipes along with images of the most mouth-watering food by David Loftus, the food photographer. This game allows gamers to cook some of the recipes. The players of “What’s Cooking” can actually get their hands dirty with the help of the voice recognition technology on the DS. They have the ability to move forward and backward going through the steps of the recipes. The game also comes with a shopping list creator, recipe swapping and recipe storing facilities.
Oliver states that his daughter who is 6-years-old is a pro at the game already. “My little Poppy loves it. She finds it freaky that her dad is saying, ‘Come on, come on, play the game.”
The game that gave way to the food game craze in North America was “Cooking Mama.” This is a Japanese game that was brought out in 2006. This game has the facility to use a stylus and a touch screen on the DS to enables players to cook anything they want to. One of the most amazing aspects of the game is that players can actually “cool” off the food by blowing air into the microphone of the DS.
The latest season of the hit cooking show, Hell’s Kitchen leaves fans hungry for more. Gordon Ramsay’s trademark spit and vinegar is brought back by Ubisoft in the form of a video game of the same name on Nintendo Wii and DS. This game offers players three phases of challenges; for preparation, cooking and service in the high-pressure kitchen and dining room. All this is made more real just as a live cooking show, with the presence of a virtual Ramsay watching over the cooks and scoring each meal after the three phases are executed. The virtual Ramsay is as eloquent as the original. He yells at them when they make mistakes, praises them when they have done something right or even shuts down the kitchen if their skills do not reach his expectations. He has even given his own voice for his animation character. Some of the recipes in the video game are said to be exclusive to the game and not seen anywhere else.
The excitement, pressure and intense competition faced by the players, is what keeps the players glued to these kitchen games for hours on end. Parents can no longer shoo children out of the kitchens.
Studies suggest that these video games do have a health message and children who are involved in meal preparation through these video games are more likely to eat better and become good cooks. This seems to be helping many children overcome fussy eating habits.
These video games are also said to help children achieve many milestones. They learn to follow directions and complete an activity in the given time. These games will stimulate all their senses. Many parents have also reported that their children who play these kitchen video games are showing interest in the kitchen now. One mother proudly states that her daughter wanted to learn how to break eggs for scrambling. For once parents cannot complain that video games are bad for the children. How much more can a video game do?