Tuesday, January 22, 2013

"Burger Time", 1982.

Here's some iconic game ad artwork, illustrating a high-concept game of the old school.
Burger Time

A feast of an arcade game to go! For your Intellivision, Atari 2600, Apple II, or the IBM Personal Computer.

On casual scrutiny, the ad bears some similarity to Bump 'n' Jump's -- both games by Data East licensed to the Mattel Intellivision. The odd logos on top underline the connection. So much condiment-squirting!

"Graphics vary by system." What gets me is that I can't imagine that on any system the graphics looked as bad as the drawn screenshot presented!

I know of this game well, but never clocked much time against it, as I felt it lacked a certain purity, epitomized by the limited pepper use. Either this is a game about strategically sandwiching your enemies beneath burger-trimming platforms, or it is an action game wherein you zap evil sausages and eggs. In a sense it wanted to be both, but the split in focus irritated my immature brain, not wanting to have to play both games simultaneously. The restricted quantities of pepper telegraph Data East's lack of faith in the action game here, like they wanted to try multiplexing genres but couldn't commit to the second.

Of course, I always resented games with respawning bad guys anyhow. Lode Runner and Pac-Man were suspect, while Asteroids and Space Invaders could be counted on. This was part of why the persistent enemy bodies in Golden Axe were so reassuring: these opponents were down and you could keep your eye on their defeated bodies to make sure that they stayed down!

This may well tell you more about my psychology than about the game.


  1. At one time, I suggested "Getting Really Good at Burger Time" as a term for depression.

    There have been times in my life when just playing that game over and over was all I wanted to do, and all I did do.

    1. In a sense, I've been there, though not with Burger Time. Our Civ 2 habits, for instance, have taken us to similarly sunken lows. I like to think that if you're going to put your life on hold, it should be for a good game. But then of course I've also had all-night sprees of playing Warlords 2, (and then of course was the time that anyone spent playing any amount of Police Quest) so go figure.

    2. Burgertime is good because of its slow lead-in time and predictable patterns. A good game for putting your brain on hold.

      Although, I admit, not on the Level of Civ II

    3. The challenge, really, is to use the map editor tools to design a Burger Time-themed game of Civ 2.

  2. When it's Burger Time, it's not sausage and eggs time! That makes sense philosophically. But the egg and hot dog villains are apparently guys wearing suits, whereas the pickle is, like, a living goddamn pickle.

    1. More like British Breakfast Time. Sausage and Eggs and Beans and Fried Peppers and Drippings. I do get a kick out of the Mickey Mouse gloves and shoes; when they take them off, are there human hands beneath or just hot-dog red fingers?

      Come to think of it, Burger Time Man is indistinguishable from Sausage Guy from the waist down.