First it turned your Facebook friends into agribusiness zombies. Now it's going to make armchair Bastianiches out of iPhone-addicted foodies. This week, the San Francisco-based, browser-based computer game company Zynga launches a restaurant simulation called ChefVille. The point of the game seems simple enough: Come up with a restaurant concept, design a kitchen, build recipes, craft ambiance, source ingredients and meet success in the form of a windfall of pretend money -- though a bonus does come, so we hear, in the form of actual recipes.
Already roasting lightly over the flames for some purported idea-borrowing, Zynga has waded into the fake-restaurant business before with 2009's Cafe World, which entered the fray a few months after Playfish's Restaurant City. When they access it this week on Facebook and Zynga's site, gamers will find out if ChefVille handles the food scene with wit and insight. We're just hoping for some realism.
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For example, every few games, someone in the pretend restaurant kitchen should sustain a crippling burn or self-inflicted cleaver whack, resulting in screaming and squirts of blood that disturb pretend diners. A pretend restaurant serving pretend ramen, regardless of how watery, tepid or generally fake-ass that pretend ramen happens to be, should rake in major loot, so long as the player promotes the ramen heavily and serves pretend $13 cocktails, too. Furthermore, some pretend sexual harassment in the kitchen should lead to a budget-crushing lawsuit. And a Yelper should get food poisoning and blame the pretend restaurant as sales, in turn, plummet. The executive chef's screaming, the turnover rate in the kitchen and the weed-smoking habits of the kitchen team should congeal into some sort of algorithm far beyond this blogger's mathematical acumen to calculate the efficiency of food delivery and quality control.