Critical Food Game Studies, a talk by Agata Waszkiewicz

Agata Waszkiewicz, Ph.D. (they/them) is a game scholar whose interests include metafictional and experimental video games, the representation of non-normative identities in digital games, and the intersections between food and game studies. Their book Delicious Pixels was published in 2022 as part of Video Games and the Humanities series by De Gruyter. They currently hold the position of a Secretary of DiGRA Central Eastern Europe chapter.

Food is never just food, it “matters. It has weight and it weights us down.” (Belasco, 2008, p. 2). Critical food studies recognizes that food is more than the sum of calories and its nutritional value and it cannot be divorced from its larger social context. It influences the way humans construct and perform culture, social relations, and individual identities. Food is an intersectional issue and the practices and hierarchies of its preparation and consumption are inherently gendered, racialized, and relate strongly to social class. In the talk, I show that the same is true about its representation in video games. With food and cooking mechanics currently being often present in a variety of genres from cooking games, through dating simulators, to action and adventure games, it predominantly perpetuates gender and racial perceptions of who, how, where, and makes and consumes food.