Can Cooking Video Games Actually Make You Better In The Kitchen?

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The gaming industry has witnessed a rise in food-themed games, from casual mobile apps to more complex console experiences. It often claims to bring entertainment in the sense that players will be enriched with cooking skills. But will virtual cooking experiences really translate into real-life kitchen skills? Here, we examine the pros and cons of cooking games for real-life kitchen proficiency.

The Rise of Cooking Games

Cooking games are becoming more and more popular, whether on smartphones or gaming consoles. Also, cooking theme slot machines can be played using a UK casino bonus, giving you massive payouts along with entertainment and hopefully some culinary skills.

The media has hugely improved the quality of food culture, so the demand for cooking games is increasing. The explosion in cooking shows, food blogs, and culinary influencers has only stoked our appetite for all things edible. 

Game developers have wasted no time capitalising on this food trend, as it lends the perfect gaming experience for those with an appetite to see and feel finished culinary goods while still engaging in interaction that passive entertainment cannot provide.

How Cooking Games Work

Cooking games generally fall into the same category and follow similar gameplay.

  • Players choose a dish to prepare from a diversified selection.
  • Then they gather the ingredients they need from a virtual pantry or marketplace.
  • Then they go through a step-by-step process of cooking the dishes.
  • And finally, they get to garnish the dishes, and based on the set criteria, they are rewarded with game points.

Cooking games have quite different gameplay mechanics between mobile (simple tap-and-swipe controls) and PC/console titles, as the mouse, keyboard, or gamepad are obviously more intricate input devices than touch screens. Some games are more focused on the management side, while others lean towards pure cooking creativity. Most versions have time-specific tasks that push the player to multitask and bring the idea of a kitchen on fire to your gaming screen.

Most of these games are built just for entertainment purposes and have no real-life implications. You just drag and drop stuff into the cooking pot, and a chef appears, saying, ‘Job well done’. Though there are several cooking games that aim to provide more realistic cooking experiences and potentially help improve real-world culinary skills, these include Cooking Simulator, Cooking Mama, Cookstar, America’s Test Kitchen, and Let’s Get Cooking.

Benefits of Cooking Games

Playing cooking games comes with a number of benefits, with the highlights being the following:

Know Your Ingredients

In each new level of cooking games, players learn about brand new cousins from all over the world. With each new dish come different ingredients, and more immersive games teach you everything about these ingredients. Where they come from, how they are produced, what purpose they serve in the dish, and how they taste. Such exposure helps you increase your culinary vocabulary and kindles an interest in diverse foods.

Understanding Different Cooking Styles

Even though the primary aim of such games is to provide you with entertainment, if you really pay attention, they may teach you how to chop, sauté, or bake! Certainly, virtual practice will never supersede real-world application of the skills described above, but it will provide you with a deeper conceptual understanding.

Recipe Comprehension

Next up is understanding and following recipe instructions in a time-specific environment. These games teach you how to follow guidelines and instructions and how to schedule your tasks so you can hit the nail on the head within a limited time frame. Many cooking games are fast-paced, which can assist you in bettering your time-management abilities, something so important to a real kitchen environment.

Limitations of Cooking Games

While there are a number of advantages to playing cooking games, there are also a few drawbacks:

Lack of Sensory Feedback

One of the inherent limitations of cooking games is that they can never simulate all the senses we use in real life. In a digital space, players will never know if something is burning or feel the dough of toasted bread, as with real food, to test out taste and seasoning. These sensory cues are fundamental to fostering a cooking intuition and recognising what combinations of flavours and textures make sense together.

Simplified Processes

Unfortunately, a lot of games lose that detail for the sake of gameplay and turn everything into drag and drop so you, as a player, do not get bored. For instance, you won’t like sitting and staring at your computer screen, waiting for potatoes to boil for 20 minutes so you can mash them. So, game developers have to make things more suited for the virtual world. Even though it increases the entertainment value, of course it decreases the credibility and real-life applications of the skills you learn from the game.

An Aid, Not a Replacement

While they can provide helpful information and ideas, virtual kitchens should by no means replace real-life cooking experiences. If you are just beginning your cooking journey, these games can be the perfect place to start, as they provide an entertaining and pressure-free platform for you to discover. On its own, virtual learning will not make you a better chef, but when combined with the right amount of time spent practising in your kitchen for real, it will do the trick.

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