Atari Poop – Fast Food
In a previous Atari Poop, I wrote about the game commissioned by the American Dental Association, so it should come as no surprise that the National Restaurant Association would commission a game of their own: Fast Food.
If you know anything about childhood obesity, it’s that it started in the 1980s. It just didn’t exist before then. The popularity of the 2600 was a factor in bringing about this drastic change, but the main culprit was clearly this game. The sheer amount of psychological trickery used ensured that the lives of millions of children would be ruined forever.
First, there’s the game’s manual, explaining the goal of the game.
This page starts with “STUFF YOURSELF!” and ends with “No matter how much you eat, you’ll never gain a pound.” What a terrible and dangerous message to pass on to the young and impressionable. Children as young as 6 or 7, not to mention the older ones, read this and had their minds forever corrupted, for as we all know, children are stupid and will do anything they are told or read, as long as they are bad things. If only it worked in the other direction, then maybe parents could do a little bit of parenting and just tell their kids to eat healthier food, but alas, they are powerless. However, it gets worse. While children as young as 3 and 4 years old certainly played this game, they unfortunately were not protected by the fact that they can’t read, as all it takes is for their eyes to merely glance at the words and they have automatically been sentenced to decades of suffering from its subliminal effects.
The manual’s second page starts off by telling you to “Get fatter!”, which is something the first page essentially told you was not possible no matter how much you ate. The rest is mostly just how to turn on the game and other technical stuff, though you do get “BEGIN TO BINGE” and “GETTING FATTER” in big, bold, all-capsed letters.
Finally, we get this page, which may be the worst of them all. Unless all this food is actually made from processed kelp, there is no way those calorie counts are accurate. Obviously, they represent the points these items are worth in-game, but video games are for kids and kids are stupid, so there’s a good chance that a 6 year old boy will think nothing of eating 140 pizzas since the average sedentary kid (and let’s face it, he plays video games, so there’s no way he’s active and plays sports) his age is supposed to eat 1400 calories per day.
So I think a pretty clear case has been made to declare this game child abuse in video game form, but I haven’t even talked about the game itself yet. Doing so will only strengthen my case. Just have a look at your “character”:
In case you can’t figure it out (and I wouldn’t blame you), you’re that thing on the right, and the “thing” you’re supposed to be is a pair of disembodied lips, more specifically, the disembodied lips that eventually became the Dairy Queen mascot, which was a total rip-off of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. You can “fly” these lips around and try to eat everything in sight as it flies by going from left to right; everything, that is, but the purple pickles (green pickles are okay though). Eat six of those and you’ll burp, which inexplicably forces the snack bar to close. It teaches children to think of themselves as nothing more than mouths that are in constant need of filling.
The whole was a subliminal mindfuck for every child who played it, and it worked so well, it started a trend we can see to this day, from M.C. Kids to Fat Princess. Just how successful was the game and it successors in brain-washing children? Childhood obesity has tripled since this game was released. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if you got fatter while reading this.