Here at Daily Reaction, we discuss the biggest and most important aspects of the industry every single day, and developers often taking part, with Ted Price asking us a question about the biggest problem in gaming, Jim Boone asking us a question about E3, and indie devs talking to us about self publishing.
Now, Media Molecule has asked us about cheese.
James Spafford, Community Manager for Media Molecule and Tearaway; and Michelle Ducker, Tearaway Producer:
How is your favorite cheese like your favorite game?
Seb: This is a great question, and definitely a topic that isn’t tackled enough in this industry, probably due to the bias and strong advertiser ties prevalent in journalism.
If I was to pick a cheese just to make Media Molecule happy, I’d choose the fine cheese of Babybel (the classic Edam variety). It’s a fantastic cheese that tastes great, and was my main edible cow product during my upbringing.
Now here’s why it’d make them happy – Babybel is Tearaway, completely. It comes in a small package, just like the Vita, and the most enjoyable aspect of the experience is tearing off the wrapping as if it was paper – just like Tearaway. And, afterwards, you have some wax that you can make stuff with (like MM’s PS4 game), or put it in someone’s hair.
But I’m not going to make them happy, I can’t declare Tearaway my favorite game just yet, even though my hands-on preview was really fun. And, more importantly, I can’t declare Babybel my favorite cheese as if you eat too much you start to feel sick.
So that brings me back to the original question, and it’s a tough one. I can’t think of a night I don’t go to sleep thinking about all the different cheeses I’ve eaten and which is the best and, when people hear I’m a games journalist, ‘what’s your favorite cheese’ is always the first thing they ask me.
I do like a challenge, and I’ve always been drawn to a good hard cheese, eating Parmesan whole and un-grated. Do it wrong and you could die, probably. That’s like one of my favorite games, Demon’s Souls, where it’s meant to be tough and chewy.
However, as someone who has eaten a lot of cheeses in my day, and spends every day writing, editing and podcasting about cheeses, things can get a little stale. I absolutely crave different, even if the cheese has its flaws, the fact that it’s rarer.
Take Casa Matías, a creamy Portuguese cheese made with milk from Portuguese Bordaleira ewes that graze on the cardoon flowers that are all over the local area’s hills. Award-winning, and powerfully flavored, you immediately can tell this is made from sheep’s milk and not your run-of-the-mill cheddar. It is my Heavy Rain, refreshingly unusual, but not something that you’d want to only eat.
Red Windsor Cheese joins my shortlist because of its look, and its look alone. It has awesome red veins! It is the most violent of cheeses, my Kratos Cheddars. However, I feel like they’ve been milking for that cheese for too long, especially after the slice I tried at the beginning of the year. They need to go back to the drawing board and come up with something new, or just drop the cheese franchise entirely.
And then there’s the changing cheeses, like Cherwell goats’ cheese, which really begins to evolve in flavor as time goes on, before eventually becoming unusable. That reminds me of most online games, but, in particular, the fantastic Warhawk, which has changed a bunch, but is seeing its audience rot away.
As great as all these cheeses are, they don’t win, because they’re not fun enough. No, the winner is the Cheese Fondue (perhaps using Swiss Gruyère), because it’s fun to play with, just like Uncharted. It’s also best done singleplayer, because other dippers are just icky. Oh, and it’s really, really hot, like Nathan Drake.
Dan: Well, unlike Sebastian, I don’t troll the cheese cart like some cheddar crazed street walker, I have taste and class. This can only mean that one cheese above all else could be my choice, Brie.
It is a simple cheese with complex flavors and various styles, something that can be amazing by one producer and terrible by another, something that I think is a nice parallel to the games industry. Gaming can have similar development, like another brand has a similar flavor, but depending on the batch produced or the ingredients used you will find a difference between them – like Killzone 2 and Haze. Both are simply first-person shooters, very similar on various levels (each are about tyrannical governments, foreign and domestic), but the games are completely different experiences for the user.
Cheeses like Cheddar are first-person shooters, much like the Hazes or Killzones of the world, they are designed for the masses.These use various flavors for dramatic effect: sharp, which is flavorful but can be more ‘love it or hate it’ (Killzone); and mild, which is easy on the pallet and almost anyone can eat (Call of Duty). Much like these cheeses, I can care for a specialized product like Killzone, but will more likely find an easier time playing Call of Duty, simply because it is easier to handle and less stressful.
Unlike Sebastian, I care not for other cheeses, even though I do like them, they cannot hold a candle to my love of Brie. The real issue for me is picking a single title that I could consider my favorite – this is an actual dilemma for me. With Metal Gear Solid, I have beaten it over a dozen times in multiple languages, done speed runs and done more than I have ever done in any other video game. But does all of that make it my favorite? I do not know.
Unlike a cheese, where the taste rarely evolves, gaming is designed to always keep pushing forward with new and improved experiences. This, I think, is the real magic to the question from Media Molecule: while based off of a quirky sense of humor, it does have a sense of depth to it. Food is very much a sense of perception and favorable attributes we personally find attractive, and these same aspects can be found in our gaming habits as well.
I choose Brie as my go-to favorite style of cheese, simply because I like something non abrasive but also complex and diverse. So, how exactly am I supposed to find a single title that can handle all of these attributes without it ever feeling dated or saturated by our market? Mostly, I don’t think I can, and that is why I always have a rotating list of games that have been my ‘favorite’ at one point or another.
Although, if I was pressed to choose a title right now that could fit all of these attributes, I think I would have to give my award to The Secret of Monkey Island. It falls within a mostly forgotten genre, its graphics fall well within that 2D charm we never perceive as dated (much like Super Mario) and its whimsical humor delights me still to this very day. I have played it on multiple devices and have loved it every time and, while yes, there are sequels, they still do not have the charm and classic ‘flavor’ that the original does – and that is why it is my Brie.
Seb: I want my flavors to surprise me, we need more innovation in the Cheese-sphere. Luckily, with the advent of the internet, you’re beginning to see online cheeses where small farms can reach a far larger audience with barely any restrictions.
This could fundamentally change the landscape of cheesing, with a renaissance in the industry. And that’s the thing, I am on the search for the next big cheese, and I don’t think it’ll be from an established cheese-type.
A small group of creative individuals can come up with something that completely changes everything, and that’s what’s so exciting. I can’t wait to see the future of cheese.
Dan: Obviously, all of the cheese tricks Sebastian has pulled has gotten him some mites on the brain, so carrying this torch to a saner place, lets get back to gaming…and cheese.
At this point I am sure some of you are curious to know why you should care about cheese, let alone our favorite types, but that was what we were tasked with doing and we will not disappoint. The reality is that this topic falls down to our culture and how we are inclined to fill up our free time with things that we consider hobbies. Unlike collecting stamps, gaming has evolved into much more than simple tastes or collecting for a significant number of people, it has become a part of our lives. We are no longer looking to simply spend our free time, we are looking to invest it in experiences of quality.
Some people like Sebastian are looking for a wide breadth of flavors and really cannot settle down on a single type, but finds the mouth-wateringly flavored Brie unfavorable. This is the same issue we have within the games industry, millions of people absolutely love Call of Duty, while many of us who have opened our eyes to various genres and wonder why some people cannot see what we see. This is the same issue people have with food, many people will not eat vegetables or Sushi, but a number of us absolutely love the them and wonder why others don’t. It is a matter of taste that seems to be more acceptable with diets, and unacceptable for gaming.
Seb: Look, here’s the thing, Cheese will never be perfect. Every generation of cheesemaker brings something new to the table, a new twist, new ideas and the benefits of improved technology.
We are all striving for that unattainable goal – the ultimate cheese. The cheese that cannot be bettered, that you cannot put down, the cheese to spend the rest of your life with.
But, while that seems like something wonderful, I don’t actually want the perfect cheese to be made. After that, life will be hollow, our cheese experience will have peaked. There will be no more reason to search for cheese.
I don’t mind eating bad cheeses, because I know there could be something fantastic on the next platter. The joy of cheese is in the Journey.
Dan: Well, there’s that.
Anyways, I think, as with anything in life, understanding the realities of perception we can get a better understanding of how other people think and feel about some topics by relating to things that we can fully comprehend. Food is a universal topic, we all eat something and have opinions on it, but we do not have food camps where we try to troll the broccoli crowd, that would just seem like a complete waste of time.
Sadly, this understanding is lost on a great deal of gamers, as a sub-group feels that it is their job to piss off people by overtly seeking them out and downplaying the things they care about. Seb has bashed my love of Brie in the past, but while these comments were completely false and obviously fueled by jealous rage, they did not bother me as it doesn’t bother me when people say the Xbox is amazing and the PlayStation is trash – I simply do not care.
Games are designed to bring pleasure and excitement to our lives without the need to put ourselves at risk, the same can be said for exotic foods. So whether you are debating about your favorite game or your favorite cheese, we need to realize that each of us have differing experiences and are looking for different ‘flavors’ out of life.
Which cheese is your favorite, and how is it like your favorite game? Melt our minds in the comments below, get things toasty by emailing [email protected] and sandwich yourself between Seb and Dan on Twitter.