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👀 Literal comfort food
#319 | A mobile game that feeds the heart
Besides the obvious, one of my favourite Japanese things is a little show called Midnight Diner about a unique hole-in-a-wall open from 12 am to 7 am and with a menu comprising four items. The proprietor, 'Master,' however can make any dish the customer requests as long as he has the ingredients for it.
Besides the gorgeous food shots, the show's heart is the customer's backstory that slowly unravels through the episode. Each is a little different, bittersweet, and relatable as real human stories tend to be.
I didn't think the experience of watching the show could be recreated until I came across today's Thing, an app called Hungry Hearts Diner.
The game follows an old lady, "Granny", who runs a small family diner on her own after her husband is taken ill. The objective is simple -- make food, serve customers, and keep yourself running to slowly reveal the larger story.
Unique clients visit craving a particular dish and slowly tell Granny about their lives. By advancing in level, this dish can be unlocked, and their story can reach its conclusion.
As an idle game, it doesn't demand much (I, of course, still finished it in over one weekend). What I loved are the poignant stories that come out of each visitor and granny herself and the way food is used as the connection throughout.
Say goodbye to chicken soup; it's ramen for the soul now. And after you're done with this one, there are two sequels that you can head over to.