Retro Coin Op Synopsis
Peter Pepper had a pickle problem. How prickly was the pickle problem? Pretty prickly. And you can quote Chef Peter Pepper on that (five times fast, if you dare).
BurgerTime was one of the most unusual games in early 80’s arcades, a sort of fast food nightmare. You controlled Peter Pepper, head chef at a fast food joint (one of the few fast food joints with a head chef, apparently), who had to deal with a very curious dilemma: What if the food doesn’t want to be eaten?
Chasing Chef Peter around a maze of platforms and ladders were three fast food enemies—Mr. Egg, Mr. Hot Dog and Mr. Pickle—who would stop at nothing to spoil the burger man’s lunch. The gigantic foodstuffs would wipe out one of Peter’s three lives on contact, forcing the man in the white uniform either to run away or to fight back with his pepper shaker (yes, his pepper shaker). A nice fistful of pepper to the face would temporarily stun Egg, Dog, or Pickle, but Peter only had a limited supply, so they had to be used wisely.
The only real way to eliminate the man-eating munchies was to squash them between ingredients of Chef Peter’s enormous burgers, which was really the point of the game anyway. By walking across each ingredient (bun, lettuce, cheese, patty and other bun), Peter knocked them down a level, trying to form complete burgers beneath the playing field. If one of the edible enemies happened to be below a layer as it fell, it became a permanent part of the burger, earning Peter a nice bonus (and violating several Health Code regulations at the same time). Even more points could be won by timing it right so that Egg, et al, were actually on top of the ingredient as it fell, riding the bun or filler food down a few levels.
Extra points and extra pepper could also be earned by snagging the junk food that would occasionally appear somewhere on the maze—ice cream, french fries, ketchup and a cup of coffee. Other than that, it was up to you to guide Peter safely past his foes to form complete burgers and move on to the next level.
Licensed from designer Data East to arcade giant Bally/Midway, BurgerTime was an arcade smash, a clever concept with fun and challenging gameplay. Data East released its own version in 1983, but the Midway machines had already cornered the market on restaurant-themed action. Plans were formed for a sequel, PizzaTime, but the 1984 arcade market crash put an end to those franchise dreams.
Data East tried for a comeback in 1990 with Super BurgerTime, but Peter and company made little splash. Younger kids preferred games with roundhouse kicks over games with walking fried eggs, and older players contented themselves with fond memories of the original, logging countless hours on the various home versions.
Arcade Machine Release History1982 - BurgerTime
1990 - Super BurgerTime