Year End (2016): How Overcooked Took My Formidable Family Completely By Surprise!

Game Of The Year Overcooked Image

Ding! Order Up! Quick, Get This Out Before – Oh Shit! 🔥🔥

Who knew that a game about cooking could be so asinine, but so much fun at the same time? I’ve never seen anything like this before…and I’m not just talking about the game. I’m talking about how Overcooked, single handedly, won my crazy family over in just a short amount of time! I shit you not, this game reinvigorated and/or awakened the gamer within, almost, each member of my family like nobody’s business…and it’s truly one of the best things I’ve witnessed this year. Overcooked is too legit to quit!

At the time of writing I had no idea who the developer was for this game. It’s not like me to not know something like this, but to be honest, I wasn’t all that concerned with who he, she, or they, were. I mean, that’s how much fun I’ve been having with Overcooked. I’ve been too damn busy chopping onions, and mushrooms, and tomatoes, to care. (Not to mention having soup on the burners, dirty dishes pilling up in the sink, elevating platforms, moving counter tops, and God damn rats trying to steal my ingredients – “Serenity now!” – I’ve never been so in-the-weeds!)

The developer is Ghost Town Games, a two-man team based in the UK, and I’m glad I took the time to look them up, not just because of their awesome game, but because I want to share some quotes with you from their about page. Phil Duncan, the developer that writes first on the page, wrote a quote that truly, and humourously, captures the way I feel about video games. He writes, “ […] Games are this gorgeous wonderful thing which I’m so excited to be a part of. They make people laugh, smile, cry, they bring people together, they educate, they explore, they divide, they scare the poop out of you… actual, no-fooling poop! Who wouldn’t want to be a part of something like that?”

Oli De-Vine (the second developer) writes, “[…] Games are THE medium for conveying experiences and we can experience so many more things than we do in our games right now. So let’s do that!”

These quotes are filled with zeal and inspiration. You can tell that Phil and Oli believe in what they’re saying because Overcooked is the incredible product that could only come from two master chefs like these.

Kinda Funny Participated In Extra Life, Well, So Will I

There’s two things that you should know, if you don’t already know by now. One: this blog will always be PlayStation focused. That’s just how it is – I’m a PlayStation gamer! Maybe one day I’ll jump down the Xbox rabbit hole, but right now time (and money) puts a stop to any chance of a (hashtag) Xbox life. Sorry Phil Spencer [the head of Xbox].

Two: I will always, and I mean always, reference the Kinda Funny kids in some way, shape, or form! Sorry, but this is the path my friends. I have been called to do this unofficial dirty work on behalf of Sony PlayStation and the “coolest dudes in video games!” FYI I dragged my wife to San Francisco, to their two-day live event back in May. We were geeking out hard at Kinda Funny Live 2, but I haven’t finished vetting and colour correcting the photos, so please check back for that post in the new year!

Kinda Funny Live 2 FPO Image

Up close and personal with the boys at Kinda Funny Live 2 – The Regency Ballroom, San Francisco, CA

I live and breathe Kinda Funny, just ask my poor wife! I have four Kinda Funny T-shirts, a coffee mug, I just got their cool, logo embossed, key chain; plus I listen to, and watch their YouTube content every damn day! That’s no lie. I have literally watched every single episode (not including the one’s that have spoilers), for every single show that they produce since they launched two years ago. Now my job (God bless it) permits me to do this. I sit at my desk, in front of a computer, putting in my 40 hours per week, designing pretty packaging all day long. Chances are you’ve picked up some of the private label and retail packaging that I’ve worked on. Shout out to you if you’ve eaten thousands of Wonderful Pistachios in the Mid-East (wink wink)! All that pretty Arabic typography is because of yours truly. Don’t ask about all of the trouble I went through to get that @#$%ing font!

As I was saying, Kinda Funny is my life and it was those guys who gave me the idea to take up the charitable Extra Life cause. If you’re not dialled in, Extra Life is a non-profit organization, based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Since 2008 they have been advocating, and spearheading, 24 hour gaming marathons as a unique way to raise money for a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital of your choice. Kinda Funny participated in Extra Life last year also, but for a reason that I can’t remember, I didn’t watch. This year, however, I did, and this is where I saw the two Kinda Funny frontmen, Greg Miller and Colin Moriarty, play Overcooked (live via Twitch) for the first time ever. That’s all it took. After that I was absolutely taken with the game. Little did I know that the fever would spread to my family so fast.

So on Saturday December 3rd, and Sunday December 4th, I held my very own Gaming Worker Extra Life 24 Hour Game-a-thon…and guess what? It was a huge success, in more ways than one! Not only did I surpass my modest goal of $300, my family got hooked on Overcooked (hey…I Busta-Rhymed)! They were all addicted to that shit like weird, and thirsty, pubescent boys, feverishly feening for their mother’s juicy 2% breast milk. 😮

Seriously, it was sad…and amazing to watch, all at the same time. Lol.

All jokes aside, it was truly something special to witness because there are only a couple gamers in the family – me being the most filthy casual of the bunch (except for the fact that I have a not-so-casual gaming blog). Overcooked truly resonated with both the gamers (who didn’t know about it), and the non-gamers, in the family and I think that Ghost Town Games should be very proud. This is a true testament to what games can do: be super engaging and bring an extremely close family even closer together.

A Recipe For Some Good Ol’ Family Mischief

Overcooked gets my Game Of The Year award, hands down, because it’s not every day when you see a game sweep through and take hold of your family like this. The shouting, and screaming; the laughing, and crying; the swearing, and high-fiving; all of it comes into play when you’re messing around in Overcooked. And I’ve worked in restaurants before. All of these hilarious, often times stressful, reactions are not uncommon. One miscalculation, one tiny misstep, is the surefire way of getting oneself in the weeds very fast.

Your family and friends will learn this quickly, as did mine. You may find yourself breaking out the white board to map out and strategize your plan of attack. That’s no exaggeration either. My brother-in-law, Brandon, and his friends did exactly that once they got hooked playing the game. This is no joke. Overcooked dominates your life; nothing else matters! Nothing!

The Overcooked outbreak infected Michelle and me first. We started the Extra Life live stream Saturday morning – It had to be the game to kick-off the 24 hour game-a-thon! We played for two, enjoyable, hours and forced ourselves to move on to the next game. Michelle had to prep and get food ready for our guests, and I wanted to ensure that the live stream showcased a variety of games. Later in the evening – with the majority of our family there – we booted up Overcooked again, just as our final two guests arrived. Michelle’s sister Evy (short for Evelyn) and her boyfriend Eltron – that’s my nickname for him (Elton is his real name) – had finally showed up and wanted to get some game time in before leaving for their next engagement. Without any question, Overcooked was their supreme choice.

Overcooked Promo Image

The only thing remotely better than playing Overcooked, is watching other people you know play Overcooked. It’s the funniest shit you’ll ever see! I could have watched Evy and Eltron play this game all night! From the frantically fun gameplay; to the ill-advised shouting, and self loathing; to, finally, the aha moment of figuring out what you need to do to get three stars, and move on to the next stage; the Overcooked virus was now buried deep within Evy and Eltron. So much so that the couple didn’t want to leave, even though they had another party to get to. This game made an impression and had Evy and Eltron thinking, and eventually talking, about strategies for the game on their way to their next function.

But wait – it gets better! Eltron came back the very next day – on a football Sunday, mind you – to play some…you guessed it. He had plans with a friend later on that day and figured that he could kill some time by playing more Overcooked. It was all well and good with me because he kept me company as I continued my 24 hour gaming live stream. Michelle and I started day two with a different game, played for an hour, but then she had to leave. So I was by myself until Eltron showed up. We Overcooked it up until Michelle came back, with Evy, and then we Overcooked it some more! We Overcooked this bloody game for six hours straight! This was truly history in the making because I have not gamed like this since I was a kid. Even when I gamed back then it was not this intense. My game-a-thon turned my family into hardcore gamers.

Brandon (my brother-in-law) ended up buying Overcooked after seeing the joy it brought to all of us. His cousins, Josh and Kenrick, bought the standard editions for themselves. That’s three more copies sold, all because I decided to play it on my live stream, after watching the Kinda Funny boys play it on theirs. Man, do I love video games!

Let it also be known that Michelle’s other sister Bina (short for Sabrina) and Eltron had a mini gaming session of their own, playing Overcooked weeks after my live stream. I believe that they stayed up until 3 or 4 am chopping, cooking, and washing dishes, jonesing for three stars. Seriously, this is a chain reaction of epic proportions! How does this even happen? Who’s responsible?

Now I’m happy to report that Evy and Eltron have finished the game. When the credits started to roll, they looked at each other, and Evy asked, “What do we do now?” Lol. It reminds me of when I finished my first memorable game. 😊

In Conclusion (This Is How We Do It)!

When I started this blog two years ago, I set out to do a couple of things. One: start finishing my daunting backlog of games, two: write about the journey as I finish them, and three: through this form of storytelling, try to evangelize and showcase the wonders of gaming. What games mean, and what they can do for us (as a medium) is a story that is worth telling. I want this blog to be that tipping point for someone (or someones) out there in the universe who don’t already know about this incredible pastime. Some people may have their own delusions, and preconceived notions about gaming, and they might not know what they’re missing. The Gaming Worker, and now my family, are here to set the haters straight.

Video games are magical, period. Even with my delusions of grandeur, I can say this with complete conviction because I witnessed a true miracle. A miracle that I wasn’t quite prepared for. You see, there was a forth and final objective that I wasn’t even aware of. An objective that needed more than just my blog. It needed the sheer power of a 24 hour gaming live stream to make it manifest into reality. This final objective was to bring my formidable family even closer by using the power of video games, well one video game: Overcooked! Who knew?

Sean Berry Christmas Family Image

From my family to yours: “Vivete. Discite. Ludite.”

Live. Learn. Play.

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