Inside the Arcade: “BurgerTime” (1982)
Pickle Rick wasn’t the only bad guy in town
There’s a handful of arcade games from my youth that are hard to explain. They sound so ridiculous that you might think they’re made up. But believe you me, BurgerTime was real. BurgerTime happened.
Once you dropped a quarter in the slot and hit start, you became a Chef. Was it your job to cook? Not really. Moving around a structure that looked nothing like a restaurant your task was to reunite the ingredients of giant hamburgers.
The burgers were ten times your size so I’m not sure who was eating them. But that didn’t matter. These burgers were in disarray and something had to be done!
If you could walk across the entirety of a layer (a bun, a piece of lettuce) you could drop it down. Repeat that enough times and your burger was once again whole. That was it, that was the goal of the game.
But you weren’t free to carelessly roam around the board. Modified versions of Inky, Blinky and Pinky were on your tail (this game borrowed a lot from Pac-Man). These BurgerTime bad guys manifested themselves as a Hot Dog, an Egg and a Pickle. And if they caught up to you, you died.
What was strange about this game was you couldn’t jump over these bad guys. You couldn’t kick them or punch them. You had three choices. You could out maneuver them, drop a layer of burger on their head or throw pepper in their face. That’s right. Your primary defensive weapon was a pepper shaker, the most dangerous item in any kitchen.
A shake to the face would disable these guys and you could walk through them to continue your work. But you didn’t have a limitless supply of pepper. So once you were out of pepper, the end was near.
I didn’t play BurgerTime often. But I rarely visited an arcade that had this machine and not play it at least once. I mean how could you walk by this machine and not give it a go? Just look at it.
It was insane. It was silly. It was BurgerTime.