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Top Classic Video Games About Food!

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Let's face it, nothing goes together better than food and video games. Heck, for many of us retro gamers of the '80s, the local video arcade and pizza place were one in the same. Perhaps that's how Nolan Bushnell, co-founder of Atari, came up with the idea of starting Chucky Cheese.

So what better way is there to attract gamers in the retro days than combining the two things that are always on their mind, eating and video games? This is the top 10 of video games about food and eating! Bon Appétit!

Pac-Man

Packshot © Namco
  • Publisher: Namco
  • Year: 1980
  • Platform: Video Arcade Cabinet

The ultimate game about chowing down, the only goal of Pac-Man is to eat everything in sight. From dots, power-pellets, fruit and ghosts, players wind their way around mazes, as they stuff the face of the well loved character that was nothing more than a simplified yellow head created to house an enormous chomping mouth.

Even the name, creation and myths behind the character were inspired by eating. The rumor was that creator Tōru Iwatani became inspired when he saw a pizza with a single slice missing. In reality Pac-Man's shape evolved out of the Japanese character for "mouth" and the name Pac-Man spawned from "paku-paku", the Japanese description of a rapidly moving mouth.

BurgerTime

Packshot © Midway Games
  • Publisher: Data East
  • Year: 1982
  • Platform: Video Arcade Cabinet

Originally titled Hamburger, BurgerTime's platform levels are built out of burger ingredients, including buns, patties, lettuce and tomato, with a plate below each stack. As Peter runs over each ingredient, it collapses to the platform below. The level is complete when each burger is formed onto the waiting plates.

But don't go thinking that the only dangers of burger making are clogged arteries, the real dangers are in the chef's arch-enemies, Mr. Hot Dog, Mr. Pickle, and Mr. Egg, who are anthropomorphize food items who chase the hapless chef around. The only way to defeat them is to catch the evil edibles between or on top of the falling burger layers.

Fast Food

Packshot © Telesys
  • Publisher/Developer: Telesys
  • Year: 1982
  • Platform: Atari 2600

To confirm the fears parents have about the kids eating too much junk food and video games comes Fast Food for the Atari 2600! In the manual it screams the object of the game is to "Get Fatter! Consume as many calories as you can before you get your fill of purple pickles and the snack bar closes."

As a pair of floating lips that look more like a purple claw-like clam, you scarf up salty and sweet stuffs such as Root Beer, Hot Dogs, Cheeseburgers and French Fries. The higher the calorie content the more you score.

Like the real-life hazards of gorging on fast food, you've got to avoid the purple pickle. If you down six of these dills-gone-bad, you burp and the game will be over.

Tapper aka Root Beer Tapper

Flyer © Midway Games
  • Publisher/Developer: Bally Midway
  • Year: 1983
  • Platform: Video Arcade Cabinet

As you juggle a series of bar tables with thirsty customers lining up, fill mugs with brew and slide it down to the barflies before the boozehounds reach the end of the bar. After they gulp it down they slide the empties back for you to catch. Break any mugs or serve up brew too soon and you lose a turn.

In the first release the bartender was serving beer, made obvious by the large "Budweiser" sign in the background. The game quickly caught on, but its promotion of the devil's brew was considered inappropriate for kid-friendly video arcades, so the next year Tapper was retitled as Root Beer Tapper, with the Budweiser sign changed to a retro Root Beer sign.

Chase the Chuckwagon

Screenshot © Spectravision
  • Publisher/Developer: Purina/ Spectravision
  • Year: 1983
  • Platform: Atari 2600

One of the few games that require you to actually buy food so you can get it; namely mailing in proof-of-purchases from Purina's Chuckwagon dog food.

Based on the Chuckwagon dog food TV ads, it's feeding time for fido when the Chuckwagon appears at the top of the screen, but much to the pooches dismay, he's stuck in the middle of a maze. Manipulate your pup through the maze before the chuckwagon disappears and you'll have a fully fed hound in hog heaven.

Adventure

Screenshot © Atari
  • Publisher: Atari
  • Year: 1979
  • Platform: Atari 2600

This time you are the food as a hungry dragon hunts you down though a series of rooms as you search for a golden chalice. In what is considered to be the very first multi-roomed adventure video game, inspired by the groundbreaking text-based computer game Colossal Cave Adventure, as you search for keys to the various castles you must dodge a ravenous reptile or fight him off with your sword. If the dragon puts the bite on you, your character can be seen in his belly as he runs around from screen to screen.

Rampage

Screenshot © Midway Games
  • Publisher: Bally Midway
  • Year: 1986
  • Platform: Video Arcade Cabinet

The perfect diet for any giant monster "rampaging" though a city is people of course. In the classic Midway giant monster mash-up you and two other players can control three giant monsters set on destroying major cities and eating lots of innocent folk.

When you start to feel a little drained the only thing to do is get your power up though nourishment, namely eating people trapped in the buildings your destroying, or soldiers who are trying to fight you off. Other, less brutal foods include fruit and chicken. There are also poisonous tidbits such as toilets and cigarettes.

Kool-Aid Man

Print Ad © Mattel
  • Publisher: Mattel
  • Year: 1983
  • Platform: Atari 2600 / Intellivision

Oh yeah! Nothing like fun in the sun during the endless days of summer until those evil Thirsties come to town and dehydrate all the kids and drain their pool by sucking down all the water. It's Kool-Aid man to the rescue, smashing up walls and blasting away the Thirsties with refreshing, sugary Kool-Aid…of course sugar does dehydrate you, but why ruin a good advertising campaign with reality?

What's even more unreal is that this game wasn't just a giveaway for Kool-Aid points, but was actually available for sale at the local video game shops. Mattel teamed up with Kraft Foods to make one of the biggest advergames disguised as a retail video game ever.

Food Fight

Arcade Flyer © Atari
  • Publisher/Developer: Atari
  • Year: 1983
  • Platform: Video Arcade Cabinet

A game where ice-cream is the goal and nutritional food are weapons has you playing Charley Chuck on a mission to reach his ice-cream cone before it melts. The only thing blocking Charley from his frozen dairy treat are a group of angry chefs out to stop you from your "just deserts".

As you dodge the crazed cooks, you can pick up and throw discarded food items like pies, watermelons, bananas and tomatoes. Getting hit by food will stop the culinary cuisiniers, but be warned, these food artisans can also toss the edible ammo. Get hit by food, touched by a chef or your ice-cream melts, you lose a life and a meal.

Frogs and Flies aka Frog Bog

Arcade Flyer © Mattel
  • Publisher: Mattel
  • Year: 1982
  • Platform: Atari 2600, Commodore 64, Intellivision

While gobbling up files might not seem too appetizing for us humans, for our swamp green friends, chewing down in the buzzing insects is a treat that can't be beat, so much so that it's the entire goal of the game. Controlling a frog you hop back and forth across two lily pads, shooting out your tongue as you attempt to eat as many flies as possible before time runs out.

The Atari 2600 and Commodore 64 version of the game were simply titled Frogs and Flies, but the version released for the Intellivision was given a graphics and name upgrade, calling it Frog Bog. Today Frog Bog has gained a cult status and even made a cameo in the 2006 movie Grandma's Boy.

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