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Don't you think you get more food value out of 14 bucks worth of burgers than 8 bucks worth of french fries? You'll feel better and more energetic if you eat better foods. You know—you'll recover more health if you eat more expensive food.
An NPC in Onett's burger joint, Earthbound
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It is no secret that video gameplay is not meant to be taken literally. The way food works is no exception. You know how it goes: You either walk over a food in question or select it on the item screen. Whoever consumes it (presumably in one gulp) either gains points or recovers damage, or something or other. Such also applies to other similar-purposed things, like first-aid kits.

For this trope to count:

  1. There needs to be at least a dozen different food items. Fewer is acceptable if it's still well beyond the bare minimum for the genre, as opposed to just enough to cover for a practical gameplay purpose. (For a possible litmus test, how frequently does food appear in general? Are there few enough items that one could name them all in rapid succession at the end of their first playthrough without thinking about it beforehand or having seen a pre-existing list?)
  2. They need to occupy at least three or four different food groups. Whether they're actually categorized or not does not matter. However, if most of them occupy only one type of food (such as fruits, drinks, berries, or candy), with only a few other items covering for other types either individually or w/ only recolors, it cannot qualify.
  3. They are to be consumed by someone via player decisions (not presented as enemies, objects, scenery, or even eaten during cutscenes that the player has not even indirect control over). Usually, this would be the player character(s), but it can also be mons or other characters present throughout the game. For example, customers in a cooking simulator count because it's already obvious that they're going to eat what you cook.
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This should not be confused with Level Ate, which is about food-themed worlds, nor is it enough for the game itself to be food-themed. This is about all kinds of food appearing throughout the game as some kind of goods, at least on the sidelines, be it consumed upon pickup, stored for later consumption, or eaten upon order.

Related to Hyperactive Metabolism, since the purpose of food itself is often to restore health, improves stats, and so on; as well as Edible Collectible, which is when the food mostly just nets the player some points. Related to Food Porn, as a variant in which the sheer variety of food available is beyond what would be expected for the genre, though games that are specifically about food will also more likely fall under this than not. Often combines with Item Crafting to involve a cooking mechanic.

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Not to be confused with Gourmet Gaming, or with food derived from wild animals.

(Note: Please include at least either a handful of examples of food found in a given game, their different classifications, or links to actual lists or charts, so that we don't have to consult a walkthrough, YouTube, etc. for verification.)


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Action 
  • Bomberman 64: The Second Attack!: There are different meats, fruits, vegetables, and sweets to feed Pommy, who will evolve in such a way as to correspond to what he's had.
  • Bubble Bobble: What you can reap depends on how long it takes you to clear a given level and whether you're playing one or two players. Taking longer will get you mostly fruits and vegetables, while making shorter work will net you things like ice cream, popsicles, French fries, donuts, sushi, and bowls of rice.
  • Chip-chan Kick!: Enemies turn into either food or power-ups when defeated. What they can turn into depends on what stage you're on. For example, enemies in the city leave behind candy bars, chocolate cornets, donuts, and croissants among other things, while the zoo features things like pizzas, cheeseburgers, ice cream cones, and sticks of bubblegum. All food items give you points, good for extra lives, and while most people will find them useless, you can only proceed to the next round in each stage when there are no more pickups left to obtain, so you might as well eat whatever's available once you defeat everything onscreen.
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising: Pitt regenerates most of his health from all manner of food, including apples, grapes, melons, hamburgers, ice-cream, donuts, cakes, bars of chocolate, meat, sushi, and the Drink of the Gods.
  • Kirby: Starting with Kirby Super Star, many games feature things like snowcones, oranges, pancakes, baby bottles, pea pods, pudding, corn, and lots more in all its main games, to say nothing of M-tomatoes (which completely max out your life meter) and lollipops (which make you temporarily invincible). One of the six main games in KSS is even called Gourmet Race, which is all about that.
  • Metal Slug: The wide range of food items that can be collected for points includes roast turkeys, live fish, lettuce, eggs, dim sum, carrots, mushrooms, and apples. Collecting too many will make you fat, which means that you move slightly more slowly but your weapons become more powerful.
  • Pac-Man: The Championship Edition's bonus roster was greatly expanded to include not only fruits, but golden fruits, pastries, vegetables, meats, candies, drinks, ice creams, and even plenty of different non-food items. All on display here.
  • Pang: Collecting things like corn, apples, coffee, donuts, and pineapples nets you points, and in the second game's SNES version, you can earn a continue for every ten you collect on just one.
  • Prehistorik Man: The object is to gather food for the tribe. Said food comes in four groups: Dairy, junk, fruits, and big foods.
  • Purple: Food does not give you any gameplay-related benefits, but does count towards 100% Completion. The first two worlds only feature fruits and carrots, but then you come across things like sodas, French fries, and chocolate starting in world 3.
  • Son Son: You can gain points for collecting things like cherries, tomatoes, takoyaki, cake, grapes, and strawberries.
  • Sonic Unleashed: You can buy foodstuffs at various shops, from which Sonic will gain exp while Chip simply comments on what he eats. These include melloyam, egg puffs, peaches, oranges, egg candy, tomatoes, and of course, chili dogs.

    Action RPG 
  • Battle Chef Brigade: You can make plenty of fantastical meals based on which ingredients you pick up and cook using a Match-Three Game. Each recipe can be further combined with sides, and each character has their own unique cooking style and set of dishes. Mina bakes dished bakes on her family's restaurant's Chinese inspired cuisine, Thrash cooks Mexican-inspired orc cuisine, Ziggy makes elevated fast food, etc.
  • Contact: The planet you're tasked to explore has all kinds of meats, fruits, vegetables, and other foods that you can obtain and often cook up to recover HP and gain temporary stat boosts. Some of them include canned stew, BBQ meat, juice, Swanky Soup, milk, raisin bread, strawberries, and grapes.
  • Dark Chronicle: Along with Dark Cloud's four HP-recovery itemsnote  and Tasty Water, this game adds roasted chestnuts, crunchy bread, plum onigiri, and flan pudding to its main menu, and you can also cook fish that you catch. Many food items can be "invented" with pictures Max takes of the right things, with different ingredients with which to assemble them, themselves being a subset of many different raw materials you come across. Heart-throb cherries, while primarily serving to stop enemies since Dark Cloud, can also be consumed to cure your own stoppage. Witch Parfaits, Ruby's favorite food from before, also return as Monica's, with Potato Pie as Max's equivalent item and Fruits of Eden also reprising their role.
  • Dark Cloud: What few recovery foods this game features would not qualify alone, but it's clear that the developers had food on mind when all six playable characters each have a Trademark Favorite Food to increase their defensive power with, supplemented by gourds and Fruits of Eden that anyone can eat to increase other stats.
  • Dragon's Crown: You can obtain various meats, seafoods, vegetables, etc. from three different dungeons! This is a recurring theme in Vanillaware's games.
  • The Elder Scrolls: Throughout the series as a whole are bread, butter, cheese, ale, carrots, stew, and various kinds of meat. In Morrowind and Oblivion, food (of all kinds) is a type of alchemical ingredient, which can be eaten raw or used to make potions; they have various effects, mostly restoring stamina. In Skyrim, food is different from alchemical ingredients and can have a plethora of effects, from Health Food to "poor man's" potions with various other effects, depending on the item in question. There is also several mods available that adds in additional recipes for the player to cook, and to make any attempt of cooking adding a bit to Alchemy experience.
  • Fallout: A lot of the different food items you can obtain are meats derived directly from monsters, such as deathclaw meat, stingling filets, crispy squirrell bits, grilled queen nukalurks, roasted bloodworms, and mirelurk cakes. Other things, mostly simple pre-packaged foods from before the Great War, include packaged apples, Cram, bubblegum, lemonade, noodles, Cheezy Poofs, Nuka-Cola of various flavors, and different alcoholic beverages. These are good for restoring HP and in some cases boosting stats, but are also often radioactive or have other drawbacks. New Vegas and Fallout 4 also include modes involving a hunger mechanic.
  • Final Fantasy XV: This is the first game in its franchise to feature a wide array of beautifully rendered foods you can cook and enjoy, and there's even a sidequest which doubles as a massive Product Placement for Nissin Cup Noodles.
  • Fortune Summoners: Mostly different kinds of sweets, but also includes things like steamed buns, chicken, salmon, milk, and bread.
  • Muramasa: The Demon Blade: You can get your hands on various kinds of fruits, alcoholic drinks, vegetables, and raw meat, as well as bags of rice. Those first two recover Life Flame and Spirit, while the rest serve as ingredients for more complex things like hot-pots, houtou, etc.
  • Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom: Once you recruit Floyd to Evermore, you can then run the restaurant there and let him cook food by giving him ingredients found all over the world. There are over 50 different recipes to cook up, ranging from breads to pastas and desserts, some of which can be found by gaining cookbooks through quests. The foods themselves can provide temporary stat boosts to whoever eats it.
  • Odin Sphere: Have fun cooking up all kinds of salads, soups, omelets, snacks, desserts and so on!
  • Recettear: Food is one of various categories of things you can find and either consume for yourself or sell at the item shop that this game revolves around, and includes oranges, cutlet bowls, candy, walnut bread, shortcake, kid's lunches, and melons.
  • System Shock 2: There is a plethora of food items you can find on the Von Braun to eat. Whether they be a pack of chips, a can of soda, a bottle of orange juice or a bottle of liquor, however, consuming them restores only 1 negligible hitpoint. Alcoholic drinks also inflict a nasty Mana Meter penalty.
  • Tales Series: Enjoy the pleasure of combining all kinds of food, such as chicken, cabbage, beef, and eggs, into full-out dishes such as hamburgers and rice balls.
  • Tokyo Xanadu: There is a wide variety of dishes to cook, to say nothing of all the different ingredients required for each recipe. Each type of dish can be cooked into a regular dish, a special dish, some sort of non-food item, or something terrible that can either restore an inferior amount of HP than normal or kill you, depending on the skill level of whoever cooks it.
  • The World Ends with You: All kinds of food have different effects on each character in terms of stat boosts and sync rate effects. They also come in different sizes, measured in Bytes, and their effects on each character will depend on how well they enjoy them. Full list here.

    Beat 'Em Up 
  • Cadillacs and Dinosaurs: Stuff you'll find by breaking various objects include gum, barbecued ribs, lobsters, hot dogs, cake, and parfaits. Sometimes, fat guys also drop food when you hit them, and there are also a few sirloins that the bad guys are seen feasting on around a campfire at the beginning of level 5.
  • Captain Commando: As a distant sequel to Final Fight, this game continues the tradition with cherries, lemons, ice cream, coffee, chocolate, sandwiches, tempura, and barbecued ribs.
  • Final Fight: Various food items (as well as weapons and loot) in the main trilogy can be revealed by busting things like crates, oil drums, barrels, etc. Sushi, chocolate, chicken, beer, spinach, burgers, curry, and more, just waiting for someone to break a water cooler!
  • Night Slashers: Features cake, curry, gyoza, hot dogs, lychees, roast beef, and soup to heal yourself with.
  • The Punisher (Capcom): To heal yourself, you'll come across flan pudding, cheese, pizza (both slices and whole pies), hot dogs, roast chickens, and barbecued ribs.
  • River City Ransom: To quote The Angry Video Game Nerd in his second annual charity review:
    You come across these malls where you buy food to level up. So you'll eat, and eat, and eat. Pancakes, donuts, sushi, Chinese food, French fries, chili, pound cake, cookies, candy, cole slaw, and Cornish hen? A Cornish fucking hen, what the hell!?
  • The Simpsons: Weaponized foods (drinks) aside, you can restore your life with apples, oranges, corn, burgers, donuts, roast chickens, hot dogs, and pies. Some items are obtainable from fruit trees or NPCs, while others are simply strewn about.
  • Violent Storm: You can find lobsters, green tea, cherries, apples, ice cream, pizzas, and plenty more inside crates, barrels, etc. There are also certain things that would fit into the scenery naturally, such as oranges that fall from palm trees or a pizza that someone happens to be carrying.

    Board Game 
  • Bible Buffet: Aside from finishing first, the main objective is to eat as much food as possible. The board is comprised of different sections each with their own food theme, such as Veggie Land, Salad Land, Frozen Land, Snack Land, and Liquid (beverage) Land. Each of their actual stages feature different food pickups and enemies corresponding to their theme, and most enemies also become edible when you stun them.
  • Kiratto Kaiketsu: 64 Tanteidan: There are five regular food items that restore HP and KP, along with one that levels up a random stat. That's not the example here, though. The real example is a subset of what you can find to give to others, including burgers, steaks, fish, riceballs, bagels, soda, candy, fruit, and taiyaki. (Fat guys like food the most out of anyone.)

    Fighting 
  • Final Fight Revenge: In line with its series' roots, this game features burgers, fries, meat, sushi, hot dogs, curry, and expresso, that can each be picked up for a small recovery.
  • Super Smash Bros.: Melee introduces "food" as one of the items. This is a variety of different food and drinks you can eat to regain a small bit of health. A few of them are burgers, ice cream, apples, pizza, tea, chocolate, orange juice, and cake.

    Metroidvania 
  • Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night: Miriam gains a permanent stat boost every time she eats a new food item, which can be made via Item Crafting. In the trailer alone that explains this mechanic, recipes include sunny-side up eggs and bangers-and-mash, among other things.
  • Castlevania: Starting from Symphony of the Night, many games include dozens of different food items to find on top of the standard Pot Roast, ranging from fresh fruit all the way up to modern dishes that shouldn't even exist in the depicted time period, each one with a well-drawn sprite and a brief description. SotN alone offers things like cheesecake, pudding, strawberries, spaghetti, hamburgers, apples, miso soup, and pineapples.

    MMORPG 

    Mons RPG 
  • Digimon World: This first game in its series emphasizes raising Digimon like pets, not least of all by keeping them well fed. Throughout the game, you'll find a whole host of different meats, mushrooms, fruits, vegetables, and fish, with which to feed your Digimon in order to satiate their hunger and fatigue, increase lifespans and various stats, and restore HP and MP. Some of these can make them sick, though.
  • Monster Rancher: Most games in this franchise are about raising the eponymous Monsters on a farm for various purposes such as battling. This in turn includes negotiating what kinds of food to raise them on, depending on what you'd like to bolster and are willing to retard. The first game alone features things like potatoes, apple cake, mangoes, meat, peaches, plant eggs, and taffy.
  • Monster Tale: You are in charge of raising a monster named Chomp, and can feed him candy, cookies, ice cream, cherries, corn, squash, turkey, pizza, burgers, and rice, in order to help him grow and evolve.
  • Neopets: This game is just ZANY with this trope, even though a lot of its offerings are rather gross. Here's a "taste" of what it has to offer!
  • Pokémon: Berries aside, this trope more or less evolved overtime onto this series, with its various drinks and delicacies introduced in each generation, all good for restoring HP and status, although most of these can only be obtained at a specific part of each game. The first games only featured Rare Candies and a vending machine somewhere where you could buy water, soda, or lemonade, but the next pair added berry juice, milk, and Rage Candy Barsnote  to the mix, and from there came things like Lava Cookies, Old Gateaus, Sweet Hearts, Casteliacones, Shalour Sables, Lumoise Galettes, and Malasadas as time went on.
  • Pokémon Black and White: A maid on Route 5, known as the Gourmet Maniac, will buy any manner of food or ingredients from you for higher than they'd normally sell for, including stuff your Pokemon don't normally eat such as Sticks (scallions for Farfetch'd), mushrooms, honey, Leftovers, Lucky Eggs, and Shoal Salt.
  • Pokémon Sun and Moon: Hao'uli City is home to a restaurant called the Battle Buffet, complete with nine different dishes to choose from. Full description here.
  • Yo-Kai Watch: You can feed the Yo-Kai all sorts of foods to befriend them or to recover health and raise their Soul Meter, and they've all got their own preferences and dislikes; Pizza, Hamburgers, Oden, Curry, Candy, Hot Dogs, Ramen...

    Role-Playing Game 
  • Adventure Bar Story: The object involves delving into dungeons to acquire "mats" (ingredients) to prepare food with. Eating said food gives temporary stat boosts and experience points (in fact, this is the only way to earn experience), but the main character also has a restaurant, so you need to choose between selling your food for money or eating it for experience points.
  • Disgaea: Each main game gives you access to more and more different foodstuffs as you progress through them. These range from normal things like gum, soda, and sardines, to "witch-like" things such as bat soup, rooster blood, frog sweat, caterpillar eggs, fried newts, and snake kidneys. (The latter should be expected of the different races of demons.)
  • Divinity: Original Sin: Cooking is a type of Item Crafting in both games, providing food and drinks that heal and sometimes provide stat boosts. It's notable for having multi-step recipes: Instead of flour+water+cheese making cheese bread, flour+water makes dough, dough+cheese makes cheese dough, and cheese dough on a furnace makes cheese bread.
  • Earthbound: The sky's the limit! From burgers, fries, cookies, and Skip Sandwiches in your hometown, to more elegant foods such as iced tea in Summers! Of course, the amounts of HP a lot of them recover are less than enemies deal where and when they're available, and thus go unbought by most players. There's even an NPC in Onett's burger joint that advises you not to bother with cheaper foods available.
  • Food Fantasy: Various kinds of food comprise a Cast of Personifications, but what actually qualifies it for this trope is the large number of recipes that can be cooked and served in the restaurant sim side of the game or fed to your food souls to empower them.
  • Grandia: This first game in the franchise features several different fruitslist: , meatslist: , and sweetslist: .
  • Grandia Xtreme: While the Grandia series makes some use of food in general, it's usually not enough to qualify for this trope. To clarify...  This game actually runs with this trope, giving you mushrooms, caterpillar soup, bananas, honey syrup, iced strawberries, and more!
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: The 7th Stand User: Being an RPG Maker fangame adaptation of Stardust Crusaders, this game has you travelling with Jotaro and his friends to several countries all over Asia in a journey towards Egypt, and you can sample various items from the local cuisine along the way to heal while Level Grinding. Destinations include Hong Kong, Singapore, and India, each with several food stalls offering a wide variety of choices such as mapo tofu, twice-cooked pork, laksa, satay, pepper crab, mutton curry, and samosa.
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky: All manner of recipes can be collected throughout the land. Some of the finished products can be eaten both during and outside of battle, others can only be eaten outside, and there are even a handful you can feed to enemies to inflict damage and status effects. Various cookies, pastas, soups, and drinks are just scratching the surface of the different recipes.
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel: Continuing from Trails in the Sky, there are several dozen recipes that can be found throughout the game, each with four different variations with their own unique effects. Different characters are better suited for cooking different recipes than others and each game has different amounts of recipes that players need to fill up for some really good late game quartz and sometimes master quartz. Full list for game 1 on Neoseeker.
  • Miitopia: You can feast on all kinds of meats, toast, beverages, sweets, and so on, in order to gain stat boosts. There are also has HP Bananas and MP Candies, which restore HP and MP, respectively.
  • MOTHER 3: Initially, given the setting, your diet consists of things like nuts, mushrooms, beef jerky, and cheese. Not long into the game, though, come bags of pork chips, lootable from defeated Pigmask soldiers, marking the beginning of the end of the simple life that defines Tazmily Village up until then with the first processed foods since the end of the old world.
  • Paper Mario: The original trilogy starts each game with basic items like berries, apples, lemons, cake mix, coconuts, and of course, mushrooms. Each game has a cook who can combine items together to make more complex things like spaghetti, soup, and cakes (or even non-food items such as Dizzy Dials and Sleepy Sheep).
  • Persona 2: Along with a handful of regular items to restore HP et al with, there are a variety of restaurants you can visit to buy things like ice cream, sushi, burgers, coffee, and ramen, all of which increase stats.
  • Pillars of Eternity: Both games have dishes which, when consumed, provide a stat bonus for a certain in game amount of time. Each one has its own detailed artwork, as well as a description outlining the culture it comes from to provide worldbuilding.
  • Sailor Moon: Another Story: Things like crepes, berries, pork chops, cake, onigiri, juices, and bentou act as recovery items.
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Persona: While Persona 2 has plenty of restaurants to buy stat items at, food itself becomes abundant as recovery items from Persona 3 onward (except for in Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth), although most food items can only be eaten outside of battle. Here are the main lists for:
  • Superhero League of Hoboken: Stat-boosting food items are divided into beef, fish, and vegetables, but like the rest of the game's inventory, every food item is unique, meaning you'll pick up fish tempura, fish knish, fish scallopini, vegetable fondue, a vegetable burger, and so on.
  • Undertale: This being a Spiritual Adaptation to Earthbound, there is a plethora of different foods you can eat, all of which have Punny Names and descriptions. Without spoiling anything, see for yourself!

    Simulation 
  • Cook, Serve, Delicious: The first game has 30 menu items, and the sequel originally had 180 adding 19 in an update, with most recipes having multiple variants, each with their own unique and detailed artwork.
  • Cooking Mama: Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Its wiki has each game's recipe list all on one page.
  • Dwarf Fortress: Fruits, roots, meat, milk and cheese, and other kinds of food can be consumed either raw or cooked. Like all crafted goods, they have a quality ranking, which in this cases affected the happiness gained (or lost) by whoever eats them.
  • Harvest Moon: Cooking is a fundamental aspect in many of these games, allowing you to whip up various meals, soups, salads, desserts, and what-have-you.
  • Order Up!: It's a cooking simulator, so a wide variety of food to serve your customers is a given. The game has you work at several different restaurants, and among other things, the gameplay involves unlocking different recipes as you go along.
  • The Sims: Food affects various game mechanics such as hunger and fitness. There are enough different foods to be classified as cooked meals, instant meals, snacks, raw ingredients, and so on, as well as by the actual meal they can be prepared for.
  • Stardew Valley: Basically, all your crops are edible. Food available ranges from types of fruit, vegetables, mushrooms, flowers, fish and animal products. There are also a variety of processed goods, like beverages, mayonnaise, cheese, as well as a range of cooked goods.
  • Tomodachi Life: As the spiritual predecessor to Miitopia, this game features a wide, WIDE variety of different foods in four different categories:
    • Entrees, such as pork cutlets, pasta pesto, and roast beef.
    • Side dishes, such as tacos, meat-and-potato stew, eggplants, baked potatoes, and avocados.
    • Snacks and sweets, such as cookies, oranges, cinnamon rolls, lollipops, candy corns, candy apples, brownies, cotton candy, and pastries.
    • Beverages, such as eggnog, root beer floats, lemonade, cappuccinos, apple cider, and orange juice.

    Wide-Open Sandbox 
  • Elona: With its farming sims elements, this game includes a vast amount of food. There are over thirty different kinds of food available, from fruits to vegetables to fish to nuts, and that's before using the Cooking skill to turn them into finished meals. With the Cooking skill, there are at least seven different kinds of meals you can make for each food type. Eating well-prepared meals will eventually lead to attribute gains. The kind of attribute gain you can expect depends on what you've been eating; for example, fruit can raise Magic and Charisma, while fish improves Dexterity and Learning.
  • Final Fight Streetwise: There are sevenlist:  different food items (and a few medical items) that can restore health, and the story mode has five morelist  that boost Kyle's Instinct (for counterattacks and higher attack power).
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: CJ can buy food at different restaurants and street vendors to replenish his health bar. These range from fast food joints to diners to fine dining, and each restaurant has its own menu to choose from.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: As its title implies, this game is about learning how to live in the wilderness, which includes making use of whatever you can hunt or forage for to eat or cook with. All kinds of fruits, nuts, fish, and meats can be frozen, roasted, or combined into full-fledged dishes.
  • Minecraft: Along with having a hunger bar to determine when you should eat and when you can't, there is a wide plethora of food with which to keep it full, such as apples, carrots, steaks, cakes, pies, etc.
  • Starbound: Plenty of different produce, meats, and other foods, some of which can be combined into other, more complex meals. Since it takes place in space, there are plenty of weird food items, including fruits shaped like eyes or made of metal.
  • Yakuza: These games have a selection of restaurants and bars serving a variety of food and drinks including ramen, sushi, pasta, takoyaki, burgers, coffee and alcoholic drinks, plus convenience stores stocked with inventory items like onigiri and sandwiches. As you sit down to eat, your character will comment on the food, and there's even an in-game checklist keeping track of what you've eaten and completion points gotten from eating everything at a restaurant.

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