To create a successful video game, one must provide both a unique premise and a certain level of frenzied excitement. Combine the two successfully and people will part ways with every quarter in their pocket. One such game was the quirky and fast-paced BurgerTime, which pitted the player against a variety of fast food objects and edible enemies while they raced against time to build the perfect burger.

Developed by Data East, and released under the Bally brand in 1982, BurgerTime placed players smack dab in the center of a fast food nightmare as chef Peter Pepper. Each time Peter walks across one of the many burger ingredients on the screen, such as bun, lettuce, tomato, cheese slice or burger patty, they fall one step lower on the multi-leveled playing area. Should an ingredient fall on top of another ingredient in the process, it causes the ingredient to fall a level as well. Construct all of these ingredients into a complete burger and Pete’s a happy guy.

But life is rarely that simple. Peter also had to contend with a number of enemies as he quickly climbed up and down the ladders trying to frantically assemble his culinary delights. The trio of formidable foes included Mr. Egg, Mr. Hotdog and Mr. Pickle. Should they come into contact with Peter, he would meet with an unfortunate demise. Luckily, Peter packed a powerful weapon – why, a pepper shaker, of course! One well-timed shake in the face of an offender would slow them down considerably. Unfortunately, Peter’s pepper supply wasn’t too plentiful so he has to acting sparingly with the spice.

Luckily, there were plenty of other onscreen objects that could not only earn Peter some bonus points, but also replenish his pepper supply, in the form of little fast food icons such as french fries, ice cream, ketchup and cups of coffee. Peter simply needed to run over these while trying to fulfill the demand for tasty burgers. And every once in a while, if the timing was just right, Mr. Egg, Mr. Hotdog or Mr. Pickle would find themselves atop one of Peter’s burgers, putting them out of commission and racking up the bonus points considerably.

Not surprisingly, BurgerTime was a megahit in the arcades and made its way to numerous home gaming platforms as well. Data East had planned to introduce a follow-up called Pizza Time, but the arcade industry experienced a serious lull in 1984 and those plans never materialized. They did eventually release a sequel in 1990 called Super Burger Time, but it failed to earn the same response as its predecessor, thanks to a deluge of fighting games that cornered the market around that time.

Luckily, fans of the original BurgerTime were able to enjoy this quirky game on their home television screens for years to come – piloting Peter through peril while he proudly produced plentiful portions of his prized patties. Now, that’s a mouthful.

If you were a fan of this classic arcade game back in the day, we welcome your memories in our comments section as we tip our hats to this culinary-influenced coin-op game.

4 Responses to “BurgerTime”

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  1. jennifer harris says:

    this is a fun game to play! they don’t give you enough salt and pepper to throw at the chefs.

  2. Rod Whitenack says:

    Ah, Burger Time, inspiring generations of fast food cooks since 1982. Actually, I really enjoyed Burger Time. The machine I played was in an upstairs mini-golf in a mall across the way from the best ice cream store of all time, Farrell’s. In fact, you should do a Retroland post on Farrell’s Ice Cream.

  3. Anthony Scott says:

    This is one my favorite games to play on the emulator on my computer!

  4. Mr. Baker says:

    I never could get past the 3rd level! I need to hunt this down on the internet so I can finish it.

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