Cooking Mama – Please Try Hard

I think I need to get better at autoethnographic analysis. What better way to start with Cooking Mama: Cook, a very unique Japanese game for Nintendo Wii.

A little background information if you don’t know what Cooking Mama is (I cant image): Cooking Mama is a cooking simulator game. That’s right, you go through all the effort of cooking without actually getting any food. Fun, right? Well, it is incredibly charming.

The first thing I’ve noticed is how cute this game is. I’m sure there are probably animes that look like this. There are a few choices of dishes I can make with more available to unlock. So this game has progression! I’ve decided to make Mochi because it is Japanese, even though I don’t know what Mochi is. I’ve been instructed to “add water” but the instructions are hard to understand because they’re poorly translated from Japanese to English. Oh no, I accidentally started. Oh god, I’m waggling the Wii controller around and I don’t know what to pour this jug of water. Oh I ran out of time. This goes on four more times. I figured out how to grate cheese though! Although I don’t even know if it was cheese. Despite efforts, I’m still presented with a delicious picture of some Mochi, even though I dont even know what it is. And then it’s over. I did all that Wii waggling and I don’t even have any food. I am hungry.

To begin my autoethnographic studies, I’m going to be answering some of the relevant questions straight from Sheridan’s Autoethnography: Research as a participant

How do I feel about what happened?: Kind of confused. Also hungry. Cooking Mama seems like a lot of physical effort to not actually get any food. At least I don’t have to clean up. Each instruction is quite vague and you get no chance to practice like other mini-game compilations such as Mario Party.

What did I learn from this experience: I don’t think I learned how to cook. Maybe that cooking an entire meal takes about 15 seconds?

What would I like to change and why?: In all serious I think this game actually has some potential. It’s incredibly cute and charming art style is really endearing and will make you laugh even for no reason. All that there needs to be is better instructions on how to play each mini-game. By the time you’ve figured it out, the game is already over and your there staring at the 0 point score you just received.

This game is also made a lot more fun playing in multiplayer and its inclusion is the only reason I would ever play it. You can waggle your Wii remote around mindlessly with a friend and its actually really fun. Both of you will be screaming at each other “what am I supposed to do? Where is the crab meat? Oh, it’s over…”

Reference:

Sheridan, R , “Autoethnography: Research as Participant”, accessed 11th Sept 2014, found:http://ricksheridan.netmar.com/auto/

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2 comments

  1. Hi Brendan,

    I was immediately interested in your post as I saw that you were making Mochi! Then I realised that you were doing it digitally and there would be no physical consumption and I was a little saddened. I suppose that is almost a contradictory observation made about the digital world. We put in similar amounts of effort to experience something, yet we don’t get the ‘real’ or ‘whole’ package.

    I like the sound of the game, as I love making food and have played similar in the past. Will you analysing other games or just Cooking Mama? What will you be looking at in regards to how it impacts or has impacted our/ other cultures?

    Games have certainly been said to have a great impact on the player depending of course, on what type of game being played, how regularly it is played and the content. As there is such an array of different games available, it is hard to make a statement that establishes whether gaming does impact people. I would like to know if this is your study, as I would be interested to find the results!

    I look forward to reading more!

    Like

  2. I don’t know that Cooking Mama is a Wii game as well. I used to play this game quiet a few years back on my Nintendo DS. From my experience, it is a lot of fun and i did not find it hard at all. Maybe its harder to play on Wii, every Wii game is hard in my opinion. I’m not sure which language i play it on but i think it is easy to play. I just look up Cooking Mama and i found that it is also available for iOS. I might download and play it again, if it free.

    Like

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