Lately everyone’s been cooking. And if they haven’t been, they’re looking for something new to consume. With restaurants barely open and with restricted movement under lockdown, we’re now learning that, yeah you know what, we can cook and bake for ourselves. Surprise!
The abundance of ube pandesals, and the appearance of a chocolate chip cookie after every post on your feed is all the evidence you need. Times feel uncertain and portentous, so people are feeding their sourdough starters as if to buy themselves some sanity. Under the numbing grayness of lockdown the game developers of Chikon Club shook out their stupor by creating a game about one of their favorite muses: food.
“Growing up, I’d crave for cooking simulation games, but there were only a handful of them. The ones that are already in the market feature foreign dishes and never Filipino food,” mentions Trina Pagtakhan, one of Chikon Club’s two game developers. Her spirited task of creating pixel art of Filipino dishes eventually morphing into developing playable food-themed video games.
One of the first manifestations of a food-themed video game was started by Trina and Gwen Foster in mid-2019. Before that, they created the Philippine ethnoastronomy game Naga in March for Rising SEA 2020, a collaboration between game creators in Southeast Asia.
The idea was to create a karinderya game until the scope became too big. After Naga, they decided to create another short game to chase away the ECQ lull, which eventually became Putahe ng Ina Mo: Sinigang Edition, a zero-waste (kasi virtual) sinigang game. The two game developers worked with sound designer Gia and assistant programmer Andrew to create a game that would go on to flood your Twitter timelines.
In-game, the components of the beloved sour dish are pre-cut and prepped so well that if you get the recipe right the first time, you can tell Rachel Ray and her 30-minute meals to suck it. Only joking(?). You can stumble around with a virtual audience watching your faux-live cast (because of course you’re putting this up online). It’s relaxing and frustrating (just like living!), and in any case it’s guaranteed to make you laugh with the cheeky background music and commentary ℅ your 92 viewers. Drag (and drop) meat into the pot, put too much patis, and recall every sinigang dish you made because you swear you cannot recall how many onions can possibly be chucked in there.
We’re excited to see more from Chikon Club and the virtual food they’ll serve on our tables.
Images via Chikon Club
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