Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mario Batali isn't the only famous Mario

Posted By on Thu, Jul 23, 2009 at 10:43 AM

mario.cupcakes.072309.jpg

The image of a hardcore gamer subsisting on Cheetos and a Mountain Dew may need an update. Example A: this how-to for carving the Mario Bros. 1-UP mushroom out of a radish.

Food culture and design are leaching into video-game junkies' virtual and offline worlds. Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington, allows you to have food and beverages delivered to your seats via the Nintendo Fan Network -- a wireless network at the stadium that works with the hand-held Nintendo DS.  

Nintendo seems to be leading the charge among game developers. Last year, Personal Trainer: Cooking,

a digital cookbook, introduced the idea that a video game system could

help in the kitchen. In a series of advertisements, Friends star Lisa

Kudrow learns to cook

from a friendly automated voice that instructs her and her niece on

making Kung Pao Chicken. Surreal doesn't even begin to describe the

scene.

But the world of video games and food has always intersected in interesting ways. Cooking Mama

-- a game that requires you to "cook" using the controllers according

to the "recipes" shown on the screen -- was a suprise hit on the

Nintendo Wii when it was released in 2007. You chop and stir, and have

to monitor your food so it doesn't get burned, earning points for a

well-prepared dish. And while this game might not help you develop the

skills of an actual chef (similar to Guitar Hero and guitar players),

it is addictive.

Not all video games are as visually friendly or light-hearted. This cartoony free Internet game

puts you at the helm of a fast food joint asking you to raise cattle,

slaughter them and then hire workers to sell the burgers.
     
If you're a gamer still craving junk food, Clever Cupcakes out of Montreal, Canada, will make and ship you a baked good version of your favorite video game character.

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