Gaming and Cooking Aren’t That Different


The subsets of gamers and cooks do not intersect too often, but the two activities have more in common than first glance would suggest.

Imagine this scenario: You get a new game and spend the day thinking about it. You are excited to explore the world and figure out how beat this boss or master that combo move. You read strategies online and dissect the game to its basic elements before building it up again. At the end, when you’ve completed the game, there is a definable sense of accomplishment. You have done it.

When you consider it, cooking provides the exact same sensations. You want to prepare a new ingredient, spend the day researching recipes online, hone your knife skills and prepare the meal to its perfection at the end, with a satisfyingly full belly. If you fail, and your guests give you the “Game Over” look, well, then you try again. Rob Zacny explores the similarities between cooking and gaming more fully in issue 240 of The Escapist:

To cook well, you have to be a bit of a gamer – a person who focuses on getting really, really good at something relatively trivial. The kind of person who will spend hundreds of hours of life learning the exact right way to play a Counterstrike map, or who reads strategy guides for games he has already mastered on the off chance he could master it even more. The best cooks exhibit a similar restlessness. They are rarely finished with a dish, instead continuing to revise and refine their work throughout their lives. “Good enough” is a meaningless concept, because it is unforgivable to ignore an opportunity to make something better.

Zacny describes the joy that he’s gotten out of cooking and how it has encouraged him to explore his surroundings in search of butcher shops and specialty food stores, not unlike the protagonist of an RPG exploring a new town. Read more about A Gamer In The Kitchen and let us know of your own experiences combining the two hobbies.

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