On Career Choices and Culinary Gaming

There are times I wonder what would happen if I consider doing the unthinkable like making a complete 360 degree turn in career choice. For most of my life, I found myself drawn to Journalism. That is of course not counting the years where I dreamt of becoming an engineer, a lawyer, or a priest at different phases of my very young life.

I'm not exactly sure as to what prompted me to imagine myself donning a chef's hat. After all, what could be more impossible than a rat in a chef's hat but here I am re-watching the movie "Ratatouille," oblivious to the incredulity of the story line. Next to that, me considering a culinary career might not be impossible after all. This may also be in part due to a website I came across recently- CulinarySchools.org which provide so much information for those who would consider embarking on a culinary career.

The website also has a wide variety of features that would cater to Internet users from all across the world. Besides workout monitors and tipping calculators, cooking aspirants can easily search for schools depending on the US state where they are located.

The website also has something for the youngsters, which I myself took a lot more time looking into. That is the wide collection of food-themed video games, featuring original and even licensed properties (official HTML-5 games from Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon among others) that features different genres. Some are more educational while others harken more to our golden days of playing the classic Diner Dash.

Just to give an idea of the types of games that their large collection has in store, here are my top six picks:

Adventure Time Rumble in the Nightosphere

What's the first thing I think of when it comes to culinary careers? Food? Maybe, but this game is not just all about sugar, spice, and everything nice.

Based on the critically acclaimed Adventure Time series from Cartoon Network, Adventure Time Rumble in the Nightosphere is a rather short platformer game that has players take on the role of the mysterious Peppermint Butler, as he fights the possessed Cinnamon Bun and his army of monsters. Unlike the other games I played, this one can have two players, with the partner playing as series minor character Starchy.

To clear each level, players must recall their Super Mario Bros. lessons and stomp on their enemies (depending on the enemy type, some have to be stomped on more than once). In a twist of the formula, players must keep pressing either the up or W button and carefully hover each character across the stage while making use of the sides of the screen to teleport to the other side of the stage.

While the game is surprisingly short and quite repetitive (outside of the final boss battle), the game makes up for it with challenging and exciting gameplay that forces players to think twice before mashing buttons on the keyboard.

Honestly, the controls are sometimes difficult to work with, especially when it comes to maneuvering the characters midair and keeping the characters' ghostly gliders safe from harm. Nevertheless, who doesn't want a good challenge? This one is definitely best played with a friend. 

We Bare Bears Chocolate Artist

Now for a game that's perfect for the cold weather. After all, who needs Starbucks when we have the always reliable Grizz, Panda, and Ice Bear to keep us company.

Based on the Cartoon Network show "We Bare Bears," Chocolate Artist tasks players in serving hot chocolate to customers by holding the left mouse button and swiping into the direction displayed in the thought bubbles. They can also get combos by performing the specified move for a larger number of customers.

With only three tries before it's game over, players must serve as many customers as they can and fill up the star bar at the bottom right corner of the screen.

Besides the inclusion of the three lovable bears, the game makes use of its mouse-based gameplay very well. It tests players to act faster each round, while also asking them to be very careful with each stroke of the mouse. It's a sweet blend of warm cartoon aesthetics with polished task-management gameplay that is sure to delight casual players.

Perhaps, the fun part is that each level becomes even more difficult. It is designed to keep players on their toes and intrigued from start to finish.

I also just love the sound effects of the game whenever I get combos of twos, threes, and so on and so forth.

Lunch Shop

Being a sandwich lover, I have quite the soft spot for sandwich-themed games (if my history for casual cooking and time management games would suggest). Fortunately, Lunch Shop did not disappoint.

A simple fast food simulator game, Lunch Shop tasks players to prepare dishes based on a customer's order on the rightmost part of the screen. This is done by basically clicking on any of the items on the ingredients table, then clicking the check mark once orders are ready. Sounds easy enough, right?

While players are treated to the all too familiar "stack 'em up" gameplay 'ala the Papa's Pizzeria franchise, the game also adds not one, but two timers to keep players alert. Besides the need to finish orders before the yellow timer runs out, players must also be on the look out for the clocking down purple timer at the top. If that runs out, then it's game over.

That's not all, though, as players must strictly sort all ingredients from top to bottom, according to how they are sorted in the order. For instance, if an order asks for a hamburger and some fries but the latter is at the bottom, then players must first click the fries pack then the fries themselves. Serve the order with the hamburger being sorted first would give you a poop emoji for failing.

In all honesty, this game gave me a difficult time for awhile, but I eventually got around to being careful in selecting the ingredients. If you are in search of a fun food-themed game that is spiced with a side of decent challenges, then Lunch Shop is the game for you.

Water the Village

Of course, how can one prepare food without having to use one of the most important compounds known to humankind: water?

In the game that I would call as my personal favorite of them all, Water the Village is a puzzle-based game that requires players to distribute water based on what each house wants (i.e. the red-colored hot water and the blue cold water) while diverting the green waste water to the nearest filter. To do this, players must connect the filters, houses, and water sources through a limited number of pipes, while also closely monitoring their different types.

Players can also make use of different power-ups to change water temperature or flow speed, and can collect coins for bonus points.

As a huge fan of strategy games, Water the Village is definitely a doozy, especially with its trial and error-based gameplay. What makes the game even more exciting is the addition of timers for each water source, which challenge players to analyze the resources available and to connect the pipes quickly before time runs out.

I have to also highlight one level that involved hot and cold water going through one connecting pipe. As these water types would not mix in-game, it took me a few minutes to realize that I had to release the hot water earlier due to the lengthy path it has to take before the cold water blocks it. It is a nice touch that shows that the game goes above and beyond a call to deliver not just a fun experience, but also a casually puzzling time.

The Casagrandes Mercado Mayhem 

No ingredients? No problem. Head on over to the Casagrande family's Mercado and be treated to some hospitable superstore service to cater to your culinary needs.

Now imagine Night of the Consumers, but more family-friendly and not horror-themed. You would get Mercado Mayhem, a game based on the Loud House animated spin-off "The Casagrandes."

Here, players tend to the titular family's mini-market and have to help customers finish their groceries. The young girl Ronnie can be tasked to pick-up the customers' orders, while the older Bobby can be moved to restock supplies after every order. 

The game is a simple time-management adventure, wherein one simply has to click around the environment in order to get to the goal. While it is mired by some lagging issues and sometimes characters are not as responsive as they should be, Mercado Mayhem is still a fun superstore simulator that is supported by the show's colorful and lively art style.

SpongeBob SquarePants Krabby Patty Crisis

Finally, what food-themed game collection would it be without the lovable sponge himself.

In this fast-paced tower defense game, players control the Krusty Krab's best and only fry cook as he dishes out Krabby Patties left and right to insatiably hungry customers. While keeping customers away from the barrier at the bottommost part of the screen, players have to mind how much Krabby Patties it would take to make them happy and how much they can keep before their "ammo" runs out.

Players can also collect power-ups to blast customers in a near instant or slow them down during each round. A more challenging mode that involves protecting Mr. Krabs from the customers while he wanders around the screen is also available, but I do recommend both versions.

Out of all the games I played, this one definitely takes the cake in being the most difficult. Although I made it to about three rounds in the normal version before eventually getting a game over, the one where I had to protect Mr. Krabs did not even spare me in the first round. Maybe my gaming skills simply needed a polish, but I nevertheless found Krabby Patty Crisis as a challenging yet rewarding experience.

Photo by Michael Browning on Unsplash

Who knows what the future really holds? What is there to stop me from being a Chef-Journalist? As I work to obtain my degree in Communications, let me settle for now in playing food-themed video games.


Post a Comment