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Cibo e identità culturale | Food and Cultural Identity

Comer, jugar: encuentros y sinsabores del videojuego y la comida
ENGLISH TITLE: Eat and play: crossings and troubles between video games and food

ABSTRACT: In the beginning, video games and food shared the same space in bars, restaurants and other establishments. That early marriage would also materialize in games that approach the world of gastronomy from very different points of view, either thinking the body of the eater, food preparation, the effects of the intake or the rituals associated with eating. From a semiotic perspective, this paper divides video game history in three periods, each with a particular conception of food and of the context that surrounds it. The first period is characterized by the absence of the body and some thematic freedom to represent food: eating integrates game mechanics and is installed as a stable language convention. The second period, by eliding the act of eating: in genres such as beat’em up and platform, characters consume food that involve different kinds of benefits, such as energy recovery or the acquisition of special skills. However, it could not really be said that they eat, because eating and digestion are never represented. Finally, the third period is a reinterpretation of the relationship of video game and food under the light of the genre of administration, which favours the perspective of profit maximization: the player must manage a large chain of restaurants always seeking greater efficiency economic. These three periods show large–scale trends with which the video game has processed the link with food. Each one, with its peculiarities and nuances, evidence the discursive richness of the medium and offers a glimpse of new modes of interaction with food and its network of meanings and exchanges.

KEYWORDS: video game; food; gastronomy; semiotics.
pagine: 313-327
DOI: 10.4399/978885488571420
data pubblicazione: Giugno 2015
editore: Aracne