Whether it’s the Mario mushrooms, Portal cake or Streets of Rage’s whole cooked turkeys, food has always played an integral role (and looked delicious) in games. But what about games based on food? Believe it or not, they exist, and we’re going to count down the best. I already hear your stomach growling.
5. World Gone Sour (XBL, PSN, PC/2012)
Sour Patch Kids not only make a great theatre treat, but a surprisingly decent video game as well. World Gone Sour is a platforming game available on Xbox Live Arcade, Playstation Network and Windows. It is centered on a Sour Patch Kid whose only goal in life is to be eaten. He fell out of his box at a movie theater, landed in the trash and must traverse through levels to fulfill a child’s sweet tooth. Throughout the game, you must sacrifice other candied kids to gain more points. While it contains the humor you’d expect from a candy-based video game and surpisingly fun gameplay, the levels can be monotonous and boss battles lackluster. Still, this is a Sour Patch Kids video game, so it not being a complete disaster is an accomplishment. For just a fiver, World Gone Sour can be yours. My face is already twitching.
4. (Tie) Avoid the Noid (Commodore 64/1989) & Yo! Noid (NES/1990)
According to boring people, candy doesn’t make a good meal, so how about pizza? Donning a red, rabbit-eared spandex suit with a black “N” embroidered on the chest, Domino Mascot Noid’s mission was to ruin pizza. He starred in not one, but two, count ‘em, two video games.
His first appearance came in Avoid the Noid for the Commodore 64. In it, you play as pizza delivery guy who must, as the title plainly states, avoid the Noid. The pizza needs to get to the top of a building in thirty minutes or less all the while dodging traps and the Noids who are trying to steal that delicious smelling tomato pie. This game has smooth animation and clear background images for a game produced in 1989.
A year later, the Noid went from mischievous antagonist to radical protagonist in Yo! Noid, a side-scrolling platformer released by Capcom for NES. This time you play as the Noid and use an array of gizmos to defeat enemies through each level. Your main weapons are a yo-yo and pogo stick, while a gyrocopter is used in airborne levels. The goal of the game is to defeat other Noids in mini pizza challenge games at the end of each level. Cards and chosen and whatever number it has equals the amount of pizzas to be eaten. The game is surprisingly fun and can be quite the challenge.
3. (Tie) Sneak King, Big Bumpin’ & Pocketbike Racer (Xbox 360/2006)
Pizza not enough for you? How about going for seconds at Burger King? The fast food chain sold more than just whoppers and fries in 2006 when full retail games Sneak King, Big Bumpin’ and Pocketbike Racer could be had with the purchase of a meal. Each game fits into a specific genre and features Burger King mascot The King as a playable character. In Sneak King, you play as the King trying to deliver BK items to hungry people. It operates like Metal Gear Solid in that it’s a stealth-based game. To successfully deliver food, players have to tiptoe around the neighborhood and find places to hide before others spot you. The sneakier you are the more points you’ll receive.
The other two are vehicle centered games. Big Bumpin’ is an intense version of bumper cars with obstacles and power-ups involved. Playable characters include the King, a chicken mascot and actress Brooke Burke for some inexplicable reason. Burger King’s final game is strictly racing. Pocketbike Racer (those really tiny motorcycles) is played through five different courses and even contains a hamburger boy. Both vehicular games can be played on Xbox Live Each game was a surprising amount of fun and well worth the extra four bucks.
2. Cool Spot (Genesis, SNES/1993)
What better way to wash all the solids we’ve covered with some soda? 7Up got in on the mascot game craze during the early ’90s with Cool Spot, the anthropomorphic representation of the red dot in the beverage’s logo.
Rocking some sweet shades, Cool Spot treks through levels to save other spots who aren’t cool enough to save themselves. During your quest, you shoot little fizzy bubbles to defeat enemies. A little spot face at the top of the screen is the life meter; the more Cool Spot gets hurt the sadder and droopier it appears (poor guy). While an average platformer, it again proved that games based on food or mascots are surprisingly not atrocious.
Cool Spot won two awards in 1993. One for “Best Cartridge Music of the Year” from Sega and “Best Sound” by Electronic Games Magazine; pretty big stuff for a soft drink. I think it’s high time this little guy gets a reboot. Cool Spot 2013 has a nice ring to it.
1. Chex Quest (PC/1996)
Time for a snack. Chex Quest came out in 1996 as a promotion to get children interested in their cereal. The game is an exact copy of Doom, the iconic first-person shooter. Instead of a space marine, you play as a human wearing Chex armor going around zapping green aliens called Flemoids. Once shot, they are teleported to places unknown. After all, this was aimed at kids. You must work your way though multiple levels to find the location of their nest. Two years later a sequel was released and because fans were so dedicated to the series a three-quel was released in 2008.
Chex Quest holds the distinction for being the first video game to ever be included as a cereal box prize. The game is such a cult classic that players have created their own levels and even a non-canon fourth installment to the series. Though 16 years old, Chex Quest still holds up as a fun time, if not just for the blast of nostalgia.