25 July 2008

Cooking in Video Games

We have an ardent admirer of the Nintendo Wii game,  Cooking Mama Cook Off in our household (not me.) While I am unlikely to ever want to play it, what I like about the game is that my daughter is learning that there is wide variety of foods out there (who knew that you could turn preparing sole meuniere into a game? There are some seriously good dishes in Cooking Mama, including a few that no Mama would ever have time to make). 

Nintendo DS users (such as myself!) can now get Cooking Mama formatted for the DS, but also an interesting Nintendo "game" called Cooking Guide. Cooking Guide is a recipe guide with videos and cooking tips for your DS. You can select recipes by calories, cooking time, difficulty, or a variety of other options. The clever part of the idea is that it uses the voice recognition in the DS to allow you to flip through the recipe steps or activate the cooking timer. 

The form factor of the DS seems well used here. It would prop up easily on a kitchen shelf, and it is portable enough to take to the store as a shopping list (which the DS will help you make.) 

The first video they show in the Trailer has the DS "chef" chopping off about 2 inches of some asparagus at the end. Personally, I snap them so I just get the freshest bit, so I would already be prone to ignore some of the DS advice right off the bat. 

The recipe shown in the trailer seemed to have measurements in metric AND also uses tablespoons, teaspoons, etc. A converter would be a clever option to include, but it isn't clear that there is one there. The trailer shows an option for adjusting the measurements based on the number of servings. This is a *great* idea, but I don't necessarily know that the method they are using (possibly just multiplication) for this is sensitive enough for something like baked goods.

The voice in Cooking Guide didn't really match up with the Chef graphic for me, and I missed (only for a moment) the cheery voice of Cooking Mama. All this aside, I will probably give it a try and report back.

For some on-line food gaming fun, check out Sushi Go Round.

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