We all know gamers love Doritos and Mt. Dew. There's ample proof: Master Chief's face on a can of Mt. Dew Gamer Fuel. The Doritos Game Awards sponsorship. The best first tweet of all time.
*slams a Dew* hell yeahJune 10, 2008
It's Food Week on PC Gamer, and we're looking at all the interesting ways games and grub intersect.
Pepsi, which owns both, is an international company. You can get Doritos & Dew all over the world. But as I thought about Food Week, our celebration of food and PC gaming, I thought: surely the fine citizens of the world have their own versions of Doritos & Dew. Locally brewed sodas that give you an absurd injection of sugar and caffeine for a sedentary activity; other snacks you can eat by the bagful and make a mess of your keyboard, which is totally ideal.
What are the Doritos & Dew of Japan? Switzerland? The exotic northland of Canada? I reached out to members of the PC Gamer Club, some developers, and more to put together this picture of the international gaming snack scene.
Game developer David McCarthy of Cygames asked around the office and came back with some tips: "According to my colleagues calbee lightly salted potato chips and cola is the gamer's go to choice."
"Real geeks are also known for eating garigarikun ice pops—they do all sorts of weird flavors, e.g. corn soup flavor (they often do tie-ups too e.g. with super sentai). Also black thunder chocolate bars are associated with gamers."
"And cup ramen, obviously."
Here's the good word from true Scotsman Joe Donnelly: It’s all about Irn Bru here. What is Irn Bru? Nobody knows. It’s orange in colour—it’s endearingly called ‘ginger’ on account of this—but it’s not orange juice. It’s brewed in Glasgow and is widely considered Scotland’s national drink behind whisky/pretty much anything else with alcohol in it. And it goes well with Irn Bru bars which, despite being totally useless while gaming with pals as you chew and chew and chew into your headset mic, are also delicious.
As for other gaming snacks? Well, that’s easy. Whisky. Any alcohol, really.
PC Gamer Club member Chriz86 drops some Swiss snacking knowledge: Ragusa and the famous Toblerone are the big chocolate picks, while Rivella is the go-to drink.
"Rivella is a bit strange. It is a cold drink based on milk serum and people either love or hate it." That may explain why it's been around in Switzerland since the 1950s but hasn't gained much ground in other parts of the world (it has, however, found success in some countries, including The Netherlands).
According to a thing I read on the internet, the drink's name comes from "the name of a Swiss town in the canton of Ticino, Riva San Vitale, and the Italian word for revelation, rivelazione."
Canada and the US are neighbors, so naturally a lot of our snacks are interchangeable. Canadians have been known to consume Mt. Dew and Doritos. But what local delicacies do they have to offer? Well, for one, there's an obsession with ketchup-flavored things, like chips, that Steven Messner will now explain:
"I wish I knew where our obsession with ketchup-flavored chips started, but all I know is that the only thing redder than our maple-leafed flag is our fingers. Another go-to Canadian chip flavor is all-dressed, which is actually just barbecue, sour cream and onion, ketchup, and salt and vinegar flavors all rolled into one. As for libations, it probably won't surprise you that more often than not I have a trust beer beside me when I'm gaming. But none of that mass market crap."
Cool fact about kruidnoten: these spiced cookies (which get their flavor from cinnamon, ginger, and other spices) are mainly only available around the December 5th celebration of Sinterklaas. Unless you make your own, of course, but that'd be a little like making Gingerbread men in July. Point is, that rarity makes them a popular snack.
Also, they totally count as gamer grub, since I asked My Name is Nobody if he's ever snacked and played. "I did actually! I'll buy a 1kg bag and eat it slowly when I'm gaming."
As for drinks? The teens like energy drinks, and Golden Power is one popular local choice.
"Twistees is a cheesy snack. Kinda like cheetos," Medtron says. Twistees have been a local favorite for decades, and are now exported from Malta to Europe and the Middle East. Now, let's wash 'em down with…
Kinnie is a "bitter orange soft drink" also produced in Malta, with a secret recipe akin to Coca Cola. This page from Air Malta (opens in new tab), strangely enough, does a pretty good job of explaining its history and popularity.
PC Gamer contributor Xalavier Nelson lived in Italy until recently, and checked with some locals about the snack scene: "Gamer Snakz aren't really a thing, there. The food culture is extremely fussy, and home-made stuff trumps everything, so people will straight up eat a gourmet meal at their desks."
Giada Zavarise chimes in: "I don't think we have many popular snacks in Italy, like, in general, because our food culture is extremely fussy. Basically if you're eating snacks it's because you are a student, because you probably never lived alone before and don't know how to cook shit."
At risk of putting words in the mouth of a nation: I believe that's Italy saying "Screw you, Doritos."
Twitter tipster Michael Cohen had this to say about Bamba:
"Consistency of Cheetos, but peanut butter flavored! Goes great with a chilled glass bottle of Coke."
As a peanut butter fiend, I think Bambas would make me extraordinarily fat very quickly. I also love this tidbit from Wikipedia citing a study that, true or not, speaks to the popularity of Bamba: "A 2008 study concluded that, due to the extensive consumption of Bamba by infants in Israel, peanut allergy is rare. A control group of Jewish children in the UK had ten times higher rates of allergy; the difference is not accounted for by differences in atopy, social class, genetic background, or peanut allergenicity."
Jody chiming in: "We've got Mountain Dew here but the recipe is different and it's not as popular. What is popular is flavored milk—other countries might have a couple of varieties but here there's a huge amount of them, everything from lime to French Vanilla, and we drink tons of iced coffee too."
"It's winter here right now though, which means I do everything, including gaming, with a nice hot cup of tea beside me. And with tea you have biscuits (cookies, for Americans). You probably know about TimTams but they are the tip of an Australian crumb iceberg that includes Iced Vovos, Kingstons, Ginger Nuts, and something called Orange Creams that are always the last ones left in the packet."
"It doesn't match our international Tough Guy image as much as choking down Vegemite and biting the head off a snake, but just quietly we love a biscuit and some chocolate milk."
Several people on Twitter chimed in to recommend Fandangos, a Brazilian corn chip. They come in ham and cheese flavors and are apparently popular, though Maroth on Twitter says "Some people joke that it looks like styrofoam and that it smells like dirty foot."
While Coke rules the soda market in Brazil, the popular local runner-up is Guaraná Antarctica, made from the guaraná fruit. It's been around for nearly 100 years, and is exported to a ton of countries. It's described as having "a mild apple-like taste and a distinctive berry after-flavor."
Pancit canton is a popular stir-fried noodle dish, influenced by Cantonese noodles but made into a Filipino standby. I love me some noodles, though they don't instantly come to mind as a gaming snack. But there's a strong connection here: it's often served in cyber cafes, so you can get a bowl brought to you while you play. Now that's convenient.
And that's a wrap on our brief tour of the world's junk food! If you want some more, check out the many responses in this Twitter thread (opens in new tab), or share some snack tips of your own in the comments.
Thumbnail image via gigazine.net (opens in new tab).