Video games and simulations have been in use in the food processing industry for some years as training tools. Over the last decade or so, academics have researched the potential of games to improve occupational and product safety in food production operations.
While there is no doubt that gamification can be an important educational tool, many of us opt to enter these digital worlds purely for fun.
Powder & Bulk Solids produced this list to highlight some exciting food manufacturing-themed video games for engineers and others working in food production that are looking for relaxation or an opportunity to brush up their skills.
Food Factory VR
Released as an early access title on Steam in 2020 by TOMATOVR, Food Factory VR allows players to don virtual reality (VR) googles to take on various food processing-themed challenges. Conveying equipment takes center stage in this game as players earn points for keeping up the pace of production.
To win the arcade-style title Food Processing, players must cut vegetables and fruit into the correct portion sizes as it moves down a conveyor belt. It is a pretty simple, straight forward game that tests your reflexes more than your engineering skills. Nonetheless, this 2011 release is a fun, food manufacturing-themed diversion that nearly everyone will enjoy.
McDonalds Video Game
Experimental video games producer Molleindustria developed the satirical title, “The McDonalds Video Game,” to highlight issues in fast food brand’s supply chain. “Behind every burger there is a complex process you need to master: from pastures to the slaughter, from restaurants to branding,” the game’s description reads. “You’ll discover the dirty secrets that made us one of the biggest compan[ies] in the world.” Players raise cattle, process meat, and put sell burgers in a McDonalds restaurant. While the developer casts McDonalds in a negative light, the game does provide a good overview of how food supply chains work.
The 2015 game Planetbase offers a view of what food processing might look like if humans settled another planet. Stepping into the role of a space settler, players must establish a base in an extraterrestrial world, including food production. During the gameplay, characters grow vegetables hydroponically and produce lab-grown meat to feed the base’s population. Various ingredients can be used to improve nutrition and improve morale.
Conveyors! Robots! Engineering plant floors! A quest for food industry domination! Automachef has it all. In this resource management puzzle, players take on the task of setting up an automated food production line to support a new restaurant chain, as well as managing safety and operational issues in the facility like fires, salmonella, and blackouts. A wide array of equipment is featured in the game, including conveying systems, packaging machines, and baking ovens.
The use of games and simulations will continue to evolve in food manufacturing facilities. We expect to see more training-related titles to emerge over the coming years, as well as additional consumer-facing games that focus on food production.
To see some chemical industry-themed video games, click here.