Monday, May 19, 2008

Now this is a game I could get into

(photo from New York Magazine)

I just read in New York Magazine about the new Wii Competitive Eating Game called "Major League Eating: The Game," now downloadable as a WiiWare title in North America. And when I searched for an image for this post, I saw that A Cup of Jo's Joanna Goddard had written the article!

A few summers ago, while working for Antiques Roadshow, we were in Houston in an extra-terrestrial themed restaurant that served burgers and fries and such. There were these huge flat screen televisions in the dining room, which would have been really annoying except that the channel was set to ESPN and the Alka-Seltzer US Open of Competitive Eating was showing.

It was weird to watch so many people gorging themselves on food (spaghetti, chicken wings, hard-boiled eggs), especially since we were about to eat, but we were all mesmerized. We learned about the big players like Takeru Kobayashi (a small Japanese fellow who has won the Coney Island hot dog eating contest every year from 2001-2006 until he was dethroned by Joey Chestnut in 2007), Sonya Thomas (nicknamed "The Black Widow" and only 98 pounds!), Rich LeFevre ("The Locust") and his wife Carlene LeFevre, etc.

I was hooked. These people were amazing. How could they eat so much in so little time? Also, how is it possible that Kobayashi makes $300,000 a year from doing this?

Then came Wii. The first time I played Wii, I felt like a giddy kid whipping my arm into the air to get a power serve in tennis. So imagine my happiness that Major League Eating was coming to Wii. This is going to be awesome.

Below, an excerpt from New York Magazine on how to play the game:
“Our goal was to make a game that used the Wii controller in a new way,” says Bill Swartz, whose company makes the game. The basics of play are oddly intuitive: You use the wireless Wii controller, which has a motion sensor inside, to simulate eating food for a set time period. There are “cram” foods, like hamburgers and burritos, for which you move the remote to and from your mouth; “toss” foods, like sushi and meatballs, which you “eat” by flicking your wrist upward; and “typewriter” foods, like watermelon and corn on the cob, which require you to move the remote across your mouth. And you need to do it without a “reversal of fortune”: vomiting....The game has a “jiggle” function when their virtual stomachs fill up. Players must also press a “chew” button, and you can antagonize queasy opponents with burps and jalapeƱo flames.

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