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What the Hell's Kitchen?

When one examines the pantheon of cooking video games, from BurgerTime to Cooking Mama and the almost inevitable sequel Cooking Mama: Cook Off, to Happy Cooking...well, one discovers it's a very small pantheon indeed.

The next thing one discovers is that there is much fun to made. (disclosure: I have not played any of these games...mostly because I have a real kitchen if I want to play with food. Also, no dragons to slay or tame so what kind of game is it?) Anyway, on to the digression: Happy Cooking, which is described thusly:

Lisa, a little girl, is having a hard time trying to cook dinner before her father comes back home. Hopefully, an unexpected angel from the Moon will make her meet a famous chef who will help her.

There are so many things wrong with this. Like: Do they have angels on the moon? Really?

But let's start at the beginning with Lisa, the little girl whose adventure we share. There's a picture of Lisa on the box and I kind of like her look. Attractive, but not overly so (if you know what I mean), kind of spunky looking, she's cradling that mixing bowl like she knows what to do with it (although the grip on the whisk is iffy),

Have you looked at that box cover yet? No? And you are waiting for what? Geez! Go look already, I'll wait.

Little girl? That 'little girl' looks like she is baking your favorite brownies as a means of buttering (battering?) you up for your car keys. (Is it just me or does it skeeve you out when people refer to post-pubescent young women as little girls?)

Next, why is it Lisa's sole responsibility to cook dad's dinner? Shouldn't this be a family affair (not the skeevy kind) where dad and Lisa cook their dinner together? Why is it just the two of them? Is mom on a business trip? Did she die in a horrible accident with a stick blender? Does Lisa have siblings? A brother Timmy perhaps? Is Timmy down the well again? Inquiring minds want to know!

Those questions wash away in my worry for Lisa's predicament: dinner for dad! But, we should not worry because an "unexpected angel from the Moon" is on the way to rescue her. Apparently because the expected angel was tied up in an ethereal traffic jam or is watching "So You Think You Can Fly?" or something.

Lisa must be a lucky little girl indeed to have the only extant moonAngel coming to help her with dinner. moonAngels, after all, ought to have truly amazing powers. So what does Lisa's guardian moonAngel do to help her out?

She/he/it "...will make her meet a famous chef who will help her." Make her? So now I have this vision of a moonAngel, space helmet tucked under a wing, dragging a reluctant Lisa across the kitchen to meet some hotshot chef while Lisa flails and beats the angel with the chocolate covered whisk. (Does brownie batter wash out of feathers?)

Lest I appear to be heaping my abuse selectively, please go look at this video clip of Cooking Mama, fast forward to ~2 min and watch the hand of the guy who is playing. This looks like So. Much. Fun.

None of those light your holiday shopping fire? How about something truly flamey...

For every abuse-taking superstar chef in the making on your holiday gift-giving list, I give you Hell's Kitchen: The video game. (Danger Will Robinson, some pages on Ludia's site have music. The Ohio Players blaring from my speakers was enough to give a mage a flashback!)

Set to launch coincident with the fourth season of Hell's Kitchen (the tv show), Ramsey will, of course, play a prominent role in the game as "...his likeness will taste and comment on the culinary creations of players..." (Meaning, he will pop his head up to yell at you. Perhaps also meaning that if he sees his shadow, it's six more weeks of washing dishes.) Hmm, makes one wonder if he'll yell obscenities; this should be, if nothing else, an interesting collision between 'reality' and the desire to sell to a broad audience.

It might also be the most amusing aspect of the game. Or the beginning of a Twilight Zone you don't want to be in...

"Well, Officer, we were on the couch playing a video game and the guy in the game started swearing at my boyfriend. Jim yelled back at the TV and the next thing I knew, the TV was broken and there was a guy in a chef's jacket with his hand's around Jim's throat."

According to Ludia, some of Ramsay's favorite recipes will be included so that players can print them out and "try to cook in the real world." (You remember the real world don't you?


If you want to cook from some of Ramsay's favorite recipes in your first life, may I suggest buying a cookbook and hitting a market? You can even get a couple of bottles of wine and let your best friend yell drunken abuse at you.

All I want to know is this: who's got the drinking game to go with this puppy?

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