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Would you follow a Recipe from your Nintendo DS?



Cooking One of the fundamental activities we partake in, on a daily basis

And yet, despite this unavoidability, the art of cooking has remained almost unchanged for the last hundred years We simply grab a cookbook, and follow the steps But, in 2008, Nintendo sought to change that, to start a culinary revolution How? Why with a little thing called Cooking Guide: Can’t decide what to eat Or as he puts it: “Can’t decide what to eat? Cooking Guide! Let’s make something tasty!” Hi there, welcome to Thomas Game Docs! So as I mentioned today we’re talking about 2008’s DS game Cooking Guide: Can’t decide what to eat

It’s a pretty weird game, if you can even call it one! But before I show you round, I need to give a quick bit of context, so hang in there! You see, Cooking Guide: Can’t Decide What to Eat is actually the third game in a series of DS cooking games This entry is the first one released outside of Japan, but it was actually preceded by two titles never seen by us non-Japanese folk And some of them are pretty bizarre! We start off with the fairly simple looking “Shaberu! DS Oryouri Navi”, which translates to “It talks! DS Cooking Navigator” From the start, this game grabs your attention with its unique way of speaking Maybe unique isn’t so accurate, actually

Fans of the game Tomodachi Life, may recognise the sound of that voice It sounds almost identical to the synthesised voice from Tomodachi Collection for the DS I think it goes without saying that this voice engine is practically identical behind the scenes Oh but, the developers of Shaberu! don’t let this voice engine go to waste You see, the unique selling point of this game is that it reads the recipe out loud to you! Check it out! Not only that, but you can tell it to read you the next step, just by talking to it! In the japanese version, you say OK to move the game on

“Ok” “Ok” And here we encover one of the fundamental issues that I’ve had with not just this game, but the series as a whole I can never get it to understand me! But we’ll touch on that later As you can see, there’s a huge huge number of recipes here Plus, a calendar, to keep track of what you’re cooking and when So who’d this game even come about? Well, it was the work of two companies, Nintendo of course plus smaller developer indieszero

It's impossible to know which company the original idea came from, let alone which individual developer But, the two companies partnered with a third force: Tsuji Cooking Academy This culinary school, based in Osaka, helped oversee all 200 recipes to check that they weren’t, well, bad Now, any other developer would think “200 recipes? State of the art voice recognition *cough cough* Endearing chef mascot? Let’s stop there!” But not Nintendo

Well, kind of Nintendo? This is where a little complicated From what I can tell, Nintendo actually licensed the Shaberu! brand to another publisher, Koei, and they partnered with another developer, Paon, to release, let me take a breath, “It talks! DS Cooking Navigator: The Ins-and-Outs of the Imperial Hotel ~The Best Chef de Cuisines Teaching Everyday Cooking~” Oohf, that’s a title and a half! Now, the gist of this game is the same as the first one, but this time round there’s a bit of a twist It’s all based around the Tokyo Imperial Hotel I’m not kidding! When you start the game, you’re asked which one of these 7 restaurants you want to learn from, all of which being based inside the Imperial Hotel

Then, once you pick, you’re given lessons by the actual head chef of the real life restaurant! From the Imperial Hotel’s own restaurant which serves french food, you’ll be taught by Kenichiro Tanaka From the Japanese style restaurant Nadaman, you can be taught by Takayuki Ohshima Again with Japanese cuisine, comes Isecho, whose head chef is Toshiaki Takahashi Another Janaese Cuisine serving restaurant is Kitcho, whose head chef is Yuji Ito If you’re in the mood for some sushi, then restaurant Sushigen will be right up your alleyway, head chef being Naoyuki Kosei

Serving delicious Chinese food is Bekin, head chef Hidehiko Sakuma And lastly, there’s restaurant San Applause, putting a twist on traditional Japanese dishes, head chef’d by Hiro Maruyama Phew, that’s a whole lotta choices there! Oh and one last thing before I move onto the game we’ve all been waiting for – this game has 201 dishes 1 more than the first game I don’t know if that’s slightly petty, or absolutely hilarious

Regardless, the following year, Nintendo returned to the helm of the cooking guide series, again joined by both indieszero and Tsuji Cooking Academy But they had a conundrum The series had started simple, then gone considerably bigger So where on earth could they take it from there? Well, that was the clue! “Where on earth” Why specify? And so, they promptly released this, known in Japan as “Sekai no Gohan: Shaberu! DS Oryori Navi”

thank you Or as it was called in Europe, Cooking Guide: Can’t Decide What to Eat? From the moment we first boot up the game, some pretty major changes are apparent First off, that screechy voice is gone, replaced by this warm and comforting one instead

I feel like it’s the vocal equivalent of a nice hot bath, you know Maybe that’s just me But, all voices aside, let’s check out what this game has to offer, shall we There are a few different modes here, but let’s just dive right in with Cooking Guide! And from here, we’re offered a near plethora of sorting options Let’s try View All

And oh gosh, we are bombarded by hundreds upon hundreds of recipes I think this might not be the most efficient way of sorting these things If we back up for a sec, we can see there’s sort by ingredients, by requirements and by keywords But I think the star of the show, the main event, is By Country This whole game is themed around the globe after all

And so, we’re taken to this big ol map, containing each and every country of the world I don't think they have all the country’s cuisines, but the scale is nevertheless awe inspiring But which country should we start with, for our first ever Cooking Guide dish This isn’t a decision to be taken lightly, you know! But I think I have the perfect country in mind Yeah, ok, maybe I'm a little biased, but let’s see what recipes the UK has on offer

Vegetable Lasagne, Welsh Rarebit, Bangers and Mash, Chicken Tikka Masala, mm, I think we ought to go with Bangers and Mash It is a classic, after all Alright, so first we’re taken to this list of ingredients, which… Yeah, they all seem ok! Next we click steps, and SPOILER ALERT! No peeking! Let’s go straight onto cook! Ok, so I’m not gonna be actually cooking the recipe, because as of writing this script it’s 11:40 on a Monday evening I have no idea when I’ll be recording this Uh, it’s … on tuesday

Cool Either way, let’s just follow along with our lovely chef guide Does he have a name? I don’t think so Poor guy So as with the previous games, we can make use of some snazzy voice commands to browse through the recipe without getting mashed potato on our DS

But again, it never seems to work that well for me Let’s give it a shot, though! Continue Continue! There we go! We can also say “more details” to get him to give us a little more info More info! Plus, we can say “repeat” to get him to read the step again Repeat! Alright! And lastly, we can say “go back” to get him to, uh, go back

Go back! Ok, so that’s the basics of the DS navigation stuff Once we go through all the steps, which I’m gonna fast forward because there’s 28 steps here, we get congratulated by the great chef himself Thank you thank you! I’d like to thank my friends, my family “Nice work!” And at the end, we get this delightful stamp! There’s so many colour options! I think I’ll go with green – a green stamp for a green boy Alright, so that’s the basics of Cooking Guide: Can’t Decide What to Eat? But it doesn’t stop there

Because Nintendo of Europe decided to localise the game for a plethora of European languages! In Spanish, the game was called Cocina conmigo: ¿Qué preparamos hoy? – that translates to Cook with me: What will we prepare today? In French it was called Leçons de cuisine : Qu'allons-nous manger aujourd'hui ? – which translates to Cooking Lessons: What are we going to eat today? In Italian, it was called La guida in cucina: Che si mangia oggi? And that translates to The guide in the kitchen: What are you eating today? And lastly, in German, it was called Kochkurs: Was Wollen Wir Heute Kochen, which translates to Cooking Course: What will we cook today? Sidenote: This is the only version of the game that I can consistently get to understand me Wunderbar! Alright, so that’s the basics of Cooking Guide: Can’t Decide What to Eat? But there’s a little more Because only a few months later, Nintendo released the game in America, titled Personal Trainer: Cooking It was the first game in the so called Personal Trainer series followed by Personal Trainer: Math and Personal Trainer: Walking It’s a weird little series actually, and I’d like to talk about some of the other games in the future

But focusing on Personal Trainer: Cooking, Nintendo of America actually released the game alongside this very very very green DS I have some pretty strong opinions about this DS, but there’s a time and a place After this game was released across the globe, much the recipes featured in it, the Cooking series continued to live on, at least for a little bit Our old friends at Koei released another of their own cooking games, titled Simple! Fun! Pastry Navigator DS It’s not got the Shaberu! branding on it like their imperial hotel game did, but at its core, this is the same as all the other cooking games

Our silky voiced chef is completely gone, replaced by this i don’t know Mole maybe? But other than that, the game is basically the same

I do like the whole gingerbread aesthetic it’s got going on, though Top marks That’s not the weirdest game in the series though In 2010, NIntendo partnered with the PBS TV show, America’s Test Kitchen, to release the game America’s Test Kitchen, Let’s Get Cooking Oh, and to help with writing the recipes, they partnered with magazine Cook's Illustrated

Truly a bizarre partnership, I’m sure you agree, and the game is also pretty weird It kinda takes the concept of Cooking Guide: Can’t decide what to eat, and tries it’s best to glue it onto this concept of like a family cooking competition, which I guess is loosely based around America’s Test Kitchen It’s all a little weird, but you know, it’s up to them, I suppose And that’s the Cooking Guide series What did you think? Would you consider following a recipe from your DS? Let me know in the comments below! Oh, but before you go, there’s a cool little surprise you get in Cooking Guide if you cook 19 different dishes

Did I laboriously click through 19 painstaking recipes just for this moment? You bet I did So, what’s the surprise, then? Well, it’s the end credits BUT, in the Japanese version, it’s actually this beautiful, heart-rendering ballad And so, I figured that would be a nice way to close off the video And while that’s playing, I’m gonna chop an onion

See you next week!

Source: Youtube

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