Let the Games Begin!


Foodie Gamers. Who knew that was a demographic?!
Apparently they are out there. The Food Network is hoping to captivate them with its first foray into video gaming.

I’ll confess that I’ve never seen the point of television cooking shows. I want to chop the onions and breath them in as they cook on my stove. I want to be able to taste something when it’s all done. I don’t even mind cleaning up the kitchen afterwards. Clearly I am not the demographic.

The Food Network’s Cook or be Cooked! uses the Cooking Set for Nintendo Wii in place of the usual gamer’s remote. The controls are built into a faux skillet and a Swiss Army-like contraption that unfolds into a knife, fork, spatula, and grater. The premise of the game is simple: follow the step-by-step recipe instructions using the game controller/utensils to simulate the action. Points are awarded for each skill as you crack an egg on the edge of the skillet or swirl the pan to coat it with oil. Mishandle the controller and that onscreen cracked egg could land on the counter, or the animated kitchen can fill with smoke. The final dish is tasted by the miniaturized Food Network judges who will let you know if the mashed potatoes are lumpy or you had a heavy hand with the pepper mill.

The video game category has steadily expanded beyond the action and adventure games of its early days. You can take a yoga class with Guru Anja Rubik with Wii Fit or sing harmony on Sergeant Pepper with The Beatles: Rock Band; and now you can cook with Food Network stars. I don’t know if Cook or be Cooked! will encourage actual cooking or just keep people on the couch watching cooking shows. All I know is that I prefer to crack real eggs, not a computerized simulation. And even better is to fill the house with the smell of bacon cooking alongside the eggs.

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