This is a special post for game lovers!
I have a Microsoft Surface and found these amazing food games available written by Afzainizam Zahari.
So far, he had made 5 games for the Surface and other platforms: Japan Food Adventure, Kopi Tiam, Mooncake Shop, My Donut Days and Happy Burger Days.
Checking out Izam’s website, he had written 6 other food related games on other platforms.
They were all time-management games.
The graphics were nice and cute; the games — fun, challenging and educational!
These games actually gave rough idea of how a dish was prepared, and I found this aspects also very educational.
I had the opportunity to ask a few questions to Izam about his games, his inspirations and our common interest — food!
Izam grew up in Singapore where a great mix of people and culture existed.
According to Izam, food was a big part of life in Singapore, and it seemed to be something that everyone was familiar with; the familiarity would make an easy draw for people to sit down and play these games.
Even though Izam graduated with a biology degree, he was fascinated by electronic games since he was young and started writing games during university.
At the time, the mobile game market was controlled by large telecom corporation and in order to publish games on their network, it required a huge sum of money for upfront investment, and Izam’s game writing adventure went on hiatus for a while.
With Apple iPhone, publishing required very little money, and he started creating and publishing his first game in 2009.
Izam chose the food topic of his games based on food that he liked or food that had special significance in his life.
He drew his game inspirations from many places: films, music, people and personal experiences; for example, the creation of Mooncake shop was a cascade of inspirations.
He first saw the mooncake box displayed in the shop, and it reminded him of a Hong Kong movie by Wong Ka Wai which he had seen that was set in the 1960s.
One thing led to another, Izam made Mooncake shop game in a nostalgic setting with graphics and music to go along with that theme.
My own personal favorite among his games were the Japanese Food Adventure and kopi Tiam.
The graphics in Japanese Food Adventure completely reminded me of my favorite anime from my childhood, Dr. Slump – Arale Chan.
Players got to serve sushi, made curry rice with fried shrimp, serving soba to grumpy Somo wrestler — it was so much fun albeit a little stressful at time as time management game tended to do.
Izam lived in Sapporo, Japan, for a while, and felt right to write the Japanese Food Adventure as an homage to time spent living and working there.
It was one of Izam’a biggest project, and he personally drew out all the characters and food items for the game.
It took a long time to complete the project but it was a special project for him and it worth every minute spent.
Izam did not want to make his games as the simple “serve-food-in-restaurant” time management game, and he wanted players to be able to “cook” the food accurately and yet with simple steps.
For my favorite game, Kopi Tiam, which also happened to be Izam’s favorite of all his games — he researched through watching You Tube videos and pouring through recipes to learn the steps to prepare the dishes.
He had learnt a lot about cooking through his research but still did not think it was a good idea for him to cook them!
The game was complicated and had many more levels than his other games.
It was separated into Malay village, Little India, China Town and extra game levels on breakfast and special foods.
Izam enjoyed the breakfast level tremendously and to prepare soft-boiled eggs, youtiao, porridge and kaya toasts in the game.
I just loved that there was so many different kinds of food to prepare!
I was only half way through my progress in Malay Village, and I was serving satay, mee rebus and mee soto, 2 types of nasi lemak along with drinks such as cendol and bandung.
I believe there was 6 more food to learn along the journey to the end of the Malay Village level.
He is currently working on a spin-off from the Mooncake Shop game, where the bunny, Yutu, from the previous game would be the star.
Izam’s favorite foods were rebus, satay, Kway Tiao, soba, chicken rice and maggi goreng to name a few, but honestly far too many to list!