Welcome to food week!

A few weeks ago, Wes put together an amazing week of Japanese PC gaming coverage. This week, we're putting the focus on another topic: the intersection between games and that biologically-necessary treat we call food.

Food is the bedrock beneath our lives and cultures, influencing all of our relationships—to nature, to each other, to work and emotion and health. And so of course it appears often in videogames, which emulate or challenge all of those relationships in one way or another. Food is power, or poison, or life, or something you found in a trash can and picked up because you pick up everything, or real food that you're actually eating, over your keyboard, making a mess.

We'll have at least one food-related story for you each day from today until Friday, beginning with Leif's ode to MMO cooking. We'll add each story here as we go, plus some stories from our archives.

The stories

Why food is the most powerful game design tool — Thoughts on how food, and the need for it, can radically change how a game works. What new games and genres can we invent by changing our relationship to food?

The rise of videogame bread — James examines the evolution of virtual bread, and what the future might hold for bread-based puns.

How the author of the WoW cookbook turned rylak claws and spider kabobs into delicious meals — Wes talks to the author of the WoW cookbook (and upcoming Hearthstone cookbook) about how she makes fantasy dishes real.

PC gaming's nicest (and nastiest) virtual foods — Andy catalogs the tastiest-looking, and more revolting videogame food.

Trying to murder a tavern full of people with Oblivion's poisoned apples — Chris is at it again, this time attempting to trick every NPC he can into eating poison apples, all of them Snow Whites to his evil queen. He runs into a few problems.

The joy of RPG cooking: why games shouldn't abandon the culinary arts — Leif describes his life as an MMO chef, and the personal reasons that inspire him to cook up big meals in virtual worlds.

How survival games get hunger and thirst wrong, and how to fix it — Chris thoughtfully considers how the survival genre approaches food and water—namely that you need it constantly—and makes the case that there's a better way.

Why I love Ark's pickiest creature: a giant snail that only eats cake — Speaking of survival games and food, read Chris' adventures in baking for his giant snail, which refuses to eat anything that is not cake.

I ate my own dead body to stay alive in Early Access survival game The Wild Eight — You know what? I think Chris has been secretly writing 'food week' for the past two years on his own. This one's about exactly what the headline says.

The history of hit points — You are what you eat, and since games often make us bags of hit points, it follows that food often restores them. Here's the story of how HP came to be, whether it means hit points or 'health pineapples.'