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The 10 tastiest foods in video game history

Whether it’s gobbling morsels for health, chucking back elixirs for special powers or cooking for coins, food has always been an important part of video games. In Playing with Food: The world of video game gastronomy, The Food Programme looks at gaming cuisine. As an amuse-bouche to the show, here are 10 delectable food moments in video game history.

A tempting steak from Elder Scrolls (Image credit: Bethesda)

1. Mushrooms from Super Mario Bros

Mario's iconic mushrooms (Image credit: Nintendo)

The best known snack in all of video games. Mario, or Luigi, consumes this spotty toadstool and doubles in size, all the better to trample Goombas and Koopas. It always seemed a bit odd that one of Mario’s best friends was also a mushroom, but let’s not think about that too deeply.

2. Cake from Portal

A kind of Schrödinger's dessert, the big chocolate cake in Portal is offered to our protagonist Chell if she completes every test chamber in the game, but it’s never clear if the cake truly exists. Certainly you’re not offered a slice on completing the game. Due to this, the phrase ‘The cake is a lie’ became a meme after Portal’s release.

3. Roast chicken from Streets of Rage

Most food in video games is about replenishing energy, but not all video games found realistic ways of incorporating it. Whenever you found yourself low on health in this classic 90s beat-em up you had to break open trash cans and signage in the hope of finding… a roast chicken. Because apparently people were just leaving entire cooked birds hidden around the city.

4. Bread from I Am Bread

In one of the maddest game ideas in history, I Am Bread sees a slice of bread on a mission to turn itself into toast. Any time the bread touches something it shouldn’t, like bugs or the floor, it gets less edible and you’re less likely to ‘win’. Later expansions introduced more varieties of bread, like bagels and baguettes, because you can never have too much weird sentient bread.

I Am Bread's eponymous hero (Image credit: Bossa Studios)

5. Chorus fruit from Minecraft

In the early 00s, Minecraft became a phenomenon, with kids all over the world fixated on a game that encouraged you to do pretty much whatever you liked. All you had to really do was build stuff and keep your character alive, which included feeding them things found across the land, like chorus fruit, which has the odd side effect of random teleportation.

6. Iguana on a stick from Fallout

The Fallout games present a very gloomy view of the future, where a nuclear catastrophe has decimated the world and left large parts of its population mutated and bloodthirsty. Food is not in luxurious supply and you have to create your own from what’s around, which explains one of the most common snacks available to replenish your dwindling energy: a baked iguana skewer.

7. Burritos from Overcooked

Overcooked became a massive hit for its highly addictive gameplay, which put players in charge of a frantic kitchen in which they had to cook up food orders and before time runs out. Some are simple, consisting of just a couple of ingredients. Then there are the more complicated dishes, like the ingredient-heavy burrito.

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Overcooked's challenging burrito (Image credit: Ghost Town Games)

8. Cluckin’ Bell from Grand Theft Auto

The Grand Theft Auto series grew from being a top-down game about driving very poorly to being an open world game so enormous it was almost impossible to see it all. The world grew so big it even got its own restaurant chains, including Burger Shot and Cluckin’ Bell, a fast food joint that used many puns we can’t really repeat here.

9. Dubious Food from Breath of the Wild

When you’re not slaying Bokoblins and unearthing treasure, this perfect Legend of Zelda instalment encourages you to try cooking. Get the combinations right and you’re rewarded with a sumptuous dish that will replenish your life and possibly grant you special powers. Mix together the wrong things and you’ll wind up with a plate of ‘Dubious Food’, so disgusting that it’s even heavily pixelated on screen to hide your shame.

10. Anything from Final Fantasy XV

Not many games aim to make food look actually appetising. The fifteenth Final Fantasy game made its food look incredible. Countless hours of design and computer power went into making every dish you prepared in this RPG look so realistic that you want to reach through the TV to grab it and stuff it in your face.

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The mouthwatering meals of Final Fantasy XV (Image credits: Square Enix)