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Priceless Play - 29 December 2018

The Joy of Cooking

I'm sorry, dear reader. I have failed you. I was unable to get this to you in time to save your Christmas dinners. Your beef wellingtons, unwell. Puff pastry, unpuffed. If only you had had this collection of free games about cooking -- only then could your Christmas dinner have been truly spectacular. I am here to rectify my error. There's always New Year's.

Now: where to look for guidance? Sure, there's Cooking Mama, Overcooked, Cook, Serve, Delicious, The cooking minigames in Breath of the Wild, The cooking minigames in Skyrim. No game with cooking in it is bad (it's the law) and also cooking games teach you how to cook in the real world! Slice, dice, and sear. Let's get started.

Jack Guo's Learn to Cook

Let's start with the basics, shall we? In Jack Guo's Learn to Cook, the premise is that your parents have come over to your wildly spacious apartment expecting a meal which will prove whether or not they have been successful parents. Every child must eventually serve their parents a meal to determine if they've grown up. If the meal is bad, I'm sorry. You are still a high-functioning child. Thankfully, Guo is here to help.

Put fully-formed items of food into large skillets and hope for the best. You are on your way to becoming a star chef.

Keane Ng's Hot Pot Panic

Maybe, in the midst of all this learning, you are struck with a sudden bout of panic. It's alright -- it happens to the best of us. Here's a little something to help you work on your cookery multitasking. Keane Ng's Hot Pot Panic is, as he describes, a "game about the struggle to have a conversation while also stuffing your face with food." Trying to juggle talking and eating is already hard enough -- but can you cook, eat, and talk? Maybe you need a bit of practice in Hot Pot Panic.

BigGreenPillow's Mr. Yeti's Fast Food

As is made patently aware in this SkiFree update role-reversal, Yetis need to eat, too. And frankly, this is a very good tutorial for you to accommodate their dietary needs. Step one: be a yeti. Step two: follow skiers. Step three: eat the skiers who run into trees or cannot ski fast enough. Delicious. Double points for the chef's attention to seasonality! It is so important to pick fresh ingredients.

How to Cook: Vegetarian Edition by Ninjettt and Vreyes

But wait! Oh no! What if you have a vegetarian over? Or, god forbid, a vegan*? How could you ever possibly cook a meal without meat?! Here we have Ninjettt and Vreyes' extremely helpful cooking game, How to Cook: Vegetarian Edition. In this game, your ultimate goal is a classic game of inventory chicken. Er... you have to combine things from your inventory until something works. Yes: flowers, ice cubes, and an open flame can make a delicious dinner. But it's up to you to figure out how.

*vegan food is delicious, everyone should eat more vegan food

Stefano Gualeni's Something Something Soup Something

Now that you have mastered the art of cooking for all diets and species, it is time to teach our extraterrestrial brethren. And, of course, the first thing that all aliens must be taught is what is or is not soup. In Stefano Gualeni's Something Something Soup Something, you work in a restaurant in the year 2078. We have figured out how to teleport food items from space right to the kitchens, but on occasion, the aliens get it wrong. Soup can be hard sometimes. The aliens are really trying. But no, batteries do not go in soup.

If you can help the aliens discover what is or is not soup, you will help to create an internet-wide comprehensive theory of soup.

Good luck, chefs. I have taught you all I know.

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Hot Pot Panic

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About the Author
Kat Brewster avatar

Kat Brewster


Kat Brewster is a sometimes writer, sometimes game designer, and most-of-the-time academic based out of the University of California, Irvine. Kat's research focuses on play, the future of digital work, and queer archives. You can reach out on Twitter @katbamkapow.