Created By: Prfnoff on February 18, 2012 Last Edited By: Prfnoff on May 16, 2014
Troped

Edible Collectible

Video game food as arbitrary collectibles or point items

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Trope
"Well there's a great message to sent to the kids, eat as many sweets as you can find, wherever you find them. Eat them off the dirty jungle floor and eat them off the branches. Just make sure to shovel as many as you can into your face or you'll earn a pathetically low score and be a failure in the eyes of your peers."
Ray Hardgrit, Super Adventures in Gaming, review of Top Banana

Sometimes the food in video games doesn't give you health or special powers, nor do you need it to keep from going hungry. Sometimes those shiny-looking fruits or appetizing pastries are just there for Scoring Points, or otherwise as arbitrary objects to collect.

This is primarily associated with Arcade Games of the 1980s, where the food items typically took the form of fruit. "Fruits" was even used as a generic term for food that may not technically be fruit.

The game may not even make clear whether you're actually eating the food as you go. The question is not necessarily resolved when objects such as gemstones provide the same kind of bonus as food; some games preposterously imply that you can eat those things as well.

Examples from video games:

Action Game
  • Capcom's 1984 arcade title SonSon includes food as point bonuses. One of the few actual power-ups is the word "POW" which turns all on-screen enemies into more bonus food.

Digging Game
  • Mr. Do! has cherries that can be eaten for points. They are laid out in batches of eight because 500 points are awarded for every eight cherries eaten. You can also eat diamonds, strangely enough, but not apples (which are used to squash enemies instead).

Driving Game
  • In Up'n Down, ice cream cones and cherries are worth 600 points each, though balloons provide the same bonus.

Maze Game
  • In Devil World, Tamagon gets bonus points from eating fried eggs or ice cream cones.
  • Pac-Man is the Trope Maker with its bonus fruits, though after the eighth board the bonuses turn into non-food items, such as the Galaxian ship. Of course, Pac-Man's goal in each stage is to eat all the dots, and the energizers let him chomp on the ghosts for more bonus points.
  • In Skweek, Skweek gets points from ice cream and hamburgers. (What flavors the four different colors of ice cream represent are not specified.)

Miscellaneous Games
  • In Antarctic Adventure, the penguin can eat the fish that jump out of holes for 300 points each. Averted in the sequel Penguin Adventure, where fish are used as currency instead.
  • Girl's Garden has grapes, apples and cherries as bonus point items. (There's also honey, but it's for the bears.)
  • In Pang, the points items are all fruit, cakes or sushi.
  • Sushi Cat features a cat dropped into a pachinko game filled with sushi — which the cat eats, getting fatter as he goes.

Platform Game
  • Bubble Bobble has about three dozen types of food. All bonus items worth 4000 points or less are food, while higher-value items are generally jewelry and other inedible objects. There are also giant bonus items worth tens of thousands of points; once again, the lower-value ones are food and the higher-value ones are jewels.
  • In the Commander Keen series, Keen had a range of 100- to 5000-point bonus items, which would usually be made of things like lollipops, soda, pizza, candy bars, gum, etc.
  • Door Door awards points for collecting confectionery on the same scale for shutting up multiple enemies. The highest point item, however, is a Chun tile.
  • In Ice Climber, four stolen vegetables are dropped in the Bonus Stage top part of each level, and can be recovered for points.
  • In Kirby Super Star, the Gourmet Race is as much about eating lots of food as getting to the finish line quickly. This is in contrast to the rest of the game (and the series in general) where food grants health and occasionally power-ups.
  • Math Rescue does this with items called "Goodies". Goodies are sprites of ice cream, watermelon, crayons and toy boats. On space levels, this changes to ice cream, watermelon, wrenches and smiley faces. Goodies are worth 5 points each and a 500 point bonus is awarded for collecting all of them in a level.
  • In Monty Python's Flying Circus, the plot of the game involves pieces of Mr. Gumby's brain being rationed for 16 tins of Spam each. Besides Spam, Gumby can also collect sausages, eggs and beans.
  • In Nuts & Milk, all the fruits (apples and bananas, plus cherries and strawberries in the original Maze Game) have to be collected on each level. Collecting them also entails Scoring Points, of course.
  • In Ponpoko (the 1982 Arcade Game), the player's goal is to have the tanuki eat all the "fruits" (which may include things like carrots and mushrooms) on each screen.
  • Purple features food (and also money bags) as collectibles for Scoring Points and 100% Completion. The role of healing items is taken by hearts.
  • Qwak has six different types of fruit. Under some conditions, they rain down continuously from the top of the screen (with some Spikeballs Of Doom mixed in). Not only does collecting them score points, they can be redeemed for eggs as an end-of-round bonus.
  • In Snow Bros, the bonus items are various kinds of sushi rolls.

Shoot 'em Up
  • Tyrian is a Vertical Scrolling Shooter with spacecraft, yet the point/money pickups include coins and gems as well as fruit and mugs of ale. Lampshaded and Hand Waved in one of the data cubes: ship captains came to regard food stores recovered from destroyed enemy vessels as war trophies.

References in other media:

  • Lampshaded in the video game movie Wreck-It Ralph; in the opening scenes, Ralph is shown smuggling cherries out of Pac-Man.
Community Feedback Replies: 17
  • February 19, 2012
    Diask
  • July 20, 2012
    Prfnoff
  • June 28, 2013
    Duncan
    • Sushi Cat is a video game with a cat being dropped into a Pinball/Pachinko type game filled with sushi. Which he eats, getting fatter as he goes.
  • June 29, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    • Tyrian is a Vertical Scrolling Shooter with spacecraft, yet the point/money pickups include coins and gems as well as fruit and mugs of ale. Lampshaded and Hand Waved in one of the data cubes: the fruit represents how captains would revel in stealing the fresh food from defeated enemy ships.
  • June 30, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    Not sure if Prfnoff is still watching this, but I wrote up a new draft with organized examples and a laconic description. Suppose I'm taking this one over unless I hear otherwise.
  • July 2, 2013
    Trueman001
    ^^^ Sushi Cat is definitely pachinko, not pinball as such.

    • Lampshaded in the video game movie Wreck It Ralph; in the opening scenes, Ralph is shown smuggling cherries out of Pac-Man.
  • July 3, 2013
    Trueman001
    • In Pang, the points items are all fruit, cakes or sushi.

    Incidentally, Sushi Cat 2 can be played for free at the Pogo site.

  • July 3, 2013
    KronosFromLU
    Who could forget the most famous example? Pac-man, where all you do is eat strawberries, cherries, and weird pills.
  • July 3, 2013
    Duncan
    ^^^ Yes, Sushi Cat is Pachinko, but there's no Wiki Word for Pachinko on the site, and it's listed on the Pinball page.
  • July 3, 2013
    Prfnoff
    @UltramarineAlizarin: I revived it when I started thinking of examples of it again. However, I may be away from the wiki in the next few days.

    @Duncan: Pachinko ought to have a page of its own, I think.
  • July 3, 2013
    Trueman001
    ^^^ Pac-Man is already listed.
  • July 9, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    Capcom's 1984 arcade title SonSon includes food as point bonuses. One of the few actual power-ups is the word "POW" which turns all on-screen enemies into more bonus food.
  • November 10, 2013
    kjnoren
    Couldn't this just as simply be Star Bonus? There is no meaning behind the trope, and there are plenty of examples of games where food is necessary.
  • November 10, 2013
    Prfnoff
    @kjnoren: First, it's about food, not stars. Second, not every trope has to have a deep meaning. Third, "(all) food in video games is only good for Scoring Points" was not the definition of the trope, just a misleading laconic description added by someone else.
  • November 10, 2013
    kjnoren
    Little related meaning I can easily live with, but I'm afraid that the trope could develop into lists of other score sources (stars being the most popular) or aversions (where food in-game play a similar role to real food).

    A (video) game trope about something that should be collected but doesn't serve any in-game meaning but the finishing score would be better I think. Then it could be soft split into different representations of the scoring macguffins (be they stars, food, coins, or something else).
  • February 14, 2014
    DennisDunjinman
    • Math Rescue does this with items called "Goodies". Goodies are sprites of ice cream, watermelon, crayons and toy boats. On space levels, this changes to ice cream, watermelon, wrenches and smiley faces. Goodies are worth 5 points each and a 500 point bonus is awarded for collecting all of them in a level.
  • May 16, 2014
    Prfnoff
    Changed the name for better assonance, and also because the trope isn't like Spelling Bonus.
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