This is a slippery slope I’m about to embark upon, but what do I care, you clicked this link, so you’re stuck with me. I can’t be any worse than doing your job, right?
I get video game escapism. I was a nerdy kid before blooming into my awesome alpha male self, so I understand the appeal of being a wizard, or space marine fighting space aliens, or a pirate ninja. Even though sports games don’t appeal to me, I understand why someone wants to play football and play like Tom Brady, or manage a college football team like the UF Gators, or rape a girl and get away with it like Kobe.
But where I get really fucking confused is when games like Cooking Mama become popular. I understand that there is this genre of “casual” games for people, where instead of trying to decide the proper build order for Protoss to rush Zerg, they want to just hit a tennis ball around with the Wii controller. But the problem with cooking games is two-fold. First, you’re doing something that ANYONE can do. Unless you’re a quadriplegic, in which case you can’t play Wii anyway (I will grudgingly say paraplegics are allowed to play cooking games since the wheelchair may make kitchens hard to access).
Unlike access to an Olympic swimming pool, ice hockey rink or even being good enough to make a football team, pretty much everyone has access to a kitchen, even if it’s your mother’s. Second, your final product in cooking is real food. You can’t get real food from a video game. You could attempt to argue that cooking is at some level art, and the game allows you to simulate art–in which case I say, go fucking download GIMP and make your own art.
Cooking games are just too close to reality to be justifiable to me, and if you want to cook so badly go learn a useful life skill that will feed you and your friends. Games that simulate something with such a low barrier to entry are too far removed from the experiential value chain for it to make rational sense. It’s like the mortgage securities derivatives market of the video game world. But don’t tell Majesco, since it apparently is one of their few profitable games. Maybe that should tell you something about them and their target demographic.