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