My first gaming console was the NES. I started playing it when I was four years old. It was technically my sister’s console but I used it much more than she did. I want to take an opportunity to discuss some of the games that I grew up with. Games that I have fond memories of and contributed to my childhood. For this week’s RGM Goes Retro, I’d like to discuss with you one of my all-time favorite games, BurgerTime.
BurgerTime originally started out as an arcade title in 1982 and was created by the now defunct, Data East Corporation. In the game you play as a chef named Peter Pepper. Your objective is to navigate the maze-like structure in order to build burgers one layer at a time. The player is constantly being chased by walking hot dogs, pickles, and an egg. They act similar to the ghosts in Pac-Man, however, unlike Pac-Man, Chef Peter has a pepper shaker that can be used a few times to stun the enemies. Enemies effected by the pepper can also be set up to be squashed or carried along with a burger topping for extra points. The burgers are created by running over the ingredient one layer at a time in the maze. When you run over the ingredient it will fall to the next floor of the level. The game contains 6 different mazes of increasing difficulty that repeat infinitely in a cycle until the player loses. It’s a simple concept as most games were back in the early 80s.
I was not around to play this in the original arcade format. My experience with BurgerTime comes from the NES port. Other than Mario Bros/Duck Hunt combo that came with the NES, my parents bought us three other games to start with. They were Q-Bert, Paperboy, and BurgerTime. I enjoyed all of these games but BurgerTime stood out to me and was the one I always went back to play so that I could beat my previous score. The gameplay is simple and addictive. For anyone that knows me, I am also a bit of a foodie, so a game about making burgers is right up my alley even as a child. What drew me to this game were the characters. I found the idea of a Chef being chased by hot dogs, pickles, and eggs to be rather humorous albeit ironic. The characters reminded me of cartoon characters and I was immediately drawn into the game by the cover art alone.
The game is very fun to play but that is also not the main reason I have such fond memories of BurgerTime. This was one of the few games my Mom would play with me as a child. Even though they are a bit fuzzy, I still have memories of playing this game and taking turns with my Mom to see who could get the furthest. These memories are one of my most cherished experiences as a gamer. About a year ago, I was in New York City at a bar called “Barcade”. This is my favorite bar because it serves craft beer and has a collection of vintage arcade games to play. All the games are $0.25 to play, just like the old days. While I was at Barcade I was looking around to see if they got any new arcade cabinets since the last time I was there. Much to my surprise, off in the corner I saw the original arcade cabinet for BurgerTime. I immediately took my beer and started playing. I played the game for about an hour straight, filled with nostalgia. I finally got to experience the arcade version of BurgerTime after 26 years since the first time I played it on my NES. It’s moments like these that make me take a step back and think how the little things in life are the most important to me.
If you ever get a chance to go to Barcade in NYC, take a look and see who’s playing BurgerTime. There’s a good chance it may be me.