What Should Gamers Eat?

When I’m addicted to a game, and I mean seriously addicted, I’m talking not even sure whether it’s day or night, I go into what I call a gamer fugue. Basically it’s that period where you sit in your favorite chair or on your bed and say to yourself, “Just ten more minutes” for a good three or four days. There’s nothing wrong with these fugues of course, except I have the nasty habit of forgetting I need to eat or sleep in order to live. The last time I was seriously afflicted was when I got Final Fantasy Tactics Advance so very long ago. But addictions come and go as new amazing games are launched every day (kind of, at least).

Every gamer, whether they’re in their zone or in a fugue has to eat. Period. I’ve been waiting for Nintendo to come out with its intravenous nunchuck attachment that just feeds mashed food directly into the body, but it hasn’t yet gotten past its testing phases.

The times I venture over to notorious gamer friends’ houses, there’s always an interesting combination of foods on the table next to the gaming chair.

Cheetos and Doritos have become iconic in gamer culture. Everyone laughs when someone parodies the famous, “WHERE ARE THE CHEETOS?” line, but who are we kidding? It’s not a parody anymore. Cheetos and doritos fall under the snack food category, which basically means that they’re filling and require no preparation before eating except ripping the bag open.

I feel required to mention Mountain Dew. I rarely drink the stuff unless I need some sort of quick sugar kick to keep me awake. If I’m on the last page of a paper and there are no red bulls, I go to the hall vending machine and buy a mountain dew. Otherwise, to me, it tastes like limey-sugar water. For a time I loved the Code Red, but it’s become increasingly hard to find in these parts. Everyone is hooked on the Baja Blast or whatever it is, and I can’t stand that stuff. Mountain Dew always plays to the fact that a lot of gamers drink it. But I am not a huge fan.

Taco Bell. I am addicted to their restaurant chain. They’re normally open the latest, so when that midnight hunger kicks in between games of Rock Band, Taco Bell is where it’s at. Not exactly the most healthy choice, but every once in a while isn’t going to kill you (hopefully, or I’m screwed). Just…try not to sleep directly after eating their food. If you’ve done it, you know why I would warn people about it.

Pizza is always an option when you don’t have time to go out, or the weather is bad. My suggestion, though, is instead of ordering the pizza out, what we did was one of my friends got one of those home pizza ovens. Now all we do is bring a couple of Digiorno or whatever pizzas to where ever we’re going and set up there. It’s a hell of a lot cheaper, and you don’t get all the hassle and grease that comes with a regular pizza chain.

Candy, candy, candy omnomnom. I am a candy addict, I admit it. I got made fun of on ventrilo during raids because I always had some sort of candy in my mouth while trying to explain a raid encounter in World of Warcraft. Skittles, Starbursts, Hershey’s Miniatures, I love’em all. I try to limit my supply, now, though I do still splurge. The way I cope with not having something sweet in front of me during my game time is by chewing sugarless gum. I’m turning into my grandparents, but whatever. The only downside is how quickly I go through packs of gum nowadays.

A health nut would look at the list I’ve just comprised and probably pop their monocle right into their tea. Can you really blame them? It’s one thing to get together to game one night every week and enjoy all the snacks listed above, but I’m sure people reading know at least one person who eats like that daily. If you are like that, I’m not judging your lifestyle here, just trying to offer some suggestions to help.

The thing all those foods have in common is that they’re easy to grab and hold in one hand while using the other hand to hold a controller. There aren’t any spoons or glasses involved. Though the slime that tends to get all over said controller while eating greasy food is quite disgusting.

Consider replacing your easy to grab finger foods with vegetables. Oh yeah, I hear you groaning out there. Remember the days when you were a kid and would come home to sliced apples and oranges? Me neither. But still. Some baby carrots, celery, apples, they’re all finger foods and exceptionally easy to hold while playing, without any of the grease. Even if you don’t quite want to replace the pizza section of the food pyramid quite yet, try replacing the Doritos and Cheetos with fruits and veggies.

There’s no reason for them to be bland. Stick some peanut butter on your apples and celery, and a little bit of ranch or dressing on the carrots. The key is moderation. If you slather the entire baby carrot in a coating of ranch thicker than your thumb, you might as well still be eating the cheetos.

As for drinks, organic fruit juice is not going to spontaneously make the guys out there grow a vagina just from drinking it. Replace your mountain dew with some orange juice. It still comes in bottles and is just as easy to drink. Just make sure you check the amount of actual juice. It might taste like Florida orange juice, but did you read the label that said it’s only 1% juice? Yikes. You can get that much nutritional value from a lifesaver.

If fruit juice isn’t your thing, try water or flavored water. A lot of brands are actually fizzy water, so it’s like drinking a soft drink anyway. Just slightly less unhealthy.

Getting together and splurging out on junk food once in a while isn’t a big deal, really. I do it too. But the next time you’re going into your gamer fugue, try sitting down with a bottle of water and a plate of apples instead of the alternative, which would leave that nasty coat of orange gunk on your fingers anyway.