Man, I am low on energy. I just need some strength to keep me going forward. I know there has to be something worth grabbing to eat to give me a boost. Where should I go to find it? I see a vending machine and walk to it. Maybe there is something in there to help me. As I hit the machine with all my strength, an odd and salty-yet-satisfying smell comes out…
… it’s a roasted turkey.
What? Yes, as crazy as it seems, in 2D beat-’em-ups, food tends to be the energy power-up you receive after destroying an oil drum, vending machine, trash can, and random property in the area. Sometimes you will receive jewels or a weapon (like a pipe that comes out of a cardboard box).
Who’s cooking all of these foods, and why are they in the oddest of places? Yes, that this mechanic has become a staple in the genre has always baffled me. I know the designers of these games can’t figure out why themselves, and, yes, the games are fictional, but don’t you wonder how these delicious snacks and meals stay intact?
Now, I know most of us will think of the game Final Fight and other 16-bit and arcade brawlers that first introduced food power-ups. River City Ransom has you going into restaurants and purchasing food (you think that would be the proper way to regain health). You know what shop you’re in and what food you’re gobbling down. It’s a natural and, to a point, sensible approach.
Not like in Double Dragon III, though, where in the arcade version, you have to pay for your health by inserting tokens or quarters. That system, pre-microtransaction, wasn’t the way to go. You no longer see it in beat-’em-ups after the upset that game had. Players were used to finding health items to restore them. Paying for them was out of the question.
Now I need to know how these foods came to be. Who are the chefs, cooks, delivery drivers, and others who placed these meals, fruits, and snacks into the weirdest places? I want to know which restaurant is providing this food and what recipes they use. How does the food stay so hot and fresh after 5 levels of massacring other humans, robots, and supernatural beings (and what about the lack of blood and guts after being around such brutal fights)? I have so many questions and concerns, but I think I’ll never know.
I just want to thank these food service folks. I want to be able to shake their hands and say, “You have saved me from inserting another coin” or “Thank you for your meal that not only gave me health but helped my score give me a extra life.” They deserve to be rewarded. Who wouldn’t want someone placing a full Thanksgiving spread in a trash can? If you’re broke, you just kick it a few times, let it crumble into thin air and disappear, and then kneel down and eat?
We know as weird as this scenario seems, health items in video games appear in different ways. I just appreciate the cooks and chefs who make the effort to help me on my journey as I rescue a person, the city, or a pet or stop some devilish plot that caused this whole situation. These people just need to be recognized for their contributions. Also, can we get some seasoning for the dinner meals? They seem to be pixelated and dry.
Which video game has the best meals? Who do you think cooked these delicious dinners? Let us know in the comments or on our Discord.