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STOP, BurgerTime!

Published: October 26th, 2021

Author: Caitlynn Joann


Chef Peter Pepper has been building burgers and fighting off pickles for decades now. BurgerTime was released as “Hamburger” in Japan in 1982. “Hamburger” was changed to BurgerTime to avoid potential trademark issues. This game was developed by Data East, initially for its DECO Cassette System. Data East licensed BurgerTime to Bally Midway in the United States for distribution purposes. The Data East and Midway versions are distinguished by the manufacturer's name on the title screen and by the marquee and cabinet artworks, as the game itself is identical. Later when Data East filed for bankruptcy in 2003, G-Mode purchased its intellectual properties; BurgerTime, BurgerTime Deluxe, Super BurgerTime, and Peter Pepper’s Ice Cream Factory.

Peter Pepper didn’t stop at building burgers. Peter Pepper’s Ice Cream Factory and Super BurgerTime were not widely released, but nevertheless were available and were still being played. Due to Super BurgerTime’s success, it was converted for playing on Apple II, Atari 2600, ColecoVision, Commodore 64, MS-DOS, Intellivision, Mattel Aquarius, MSX, and TI-99/4A. Of course, it was also developed for Nintendo GameBoy and mobile devices.

Let’s talk about friends, or enemies rather. The hotdogs will appear on every level to chase Peter and take a life when contact is made. Pickles also follow you to each level and will relentlessly hunt Peter down. Fried eggs will shimmy up and down ladders, hunting Peter down to also take a life. Don’t be discouraged by the enemies, there are rewards for Peter too! French fries are worth 1500 bonus points if eaten in time. Ice cream is worth 500 points and additional pepper shakes. Coffee is worth 1000 points and appears on preset stages.

Back to Peter’s beginning, how does BurgerTime work? Peter Pepper must walk over hamburger ingredients in hopes they will fall and crush his enemies on their way to building a sandwich. The objective is to complete the presented number of hamburgers while avoiding the evil egg, angry pickle, and deranged hotdog. Chef Peter Pepper is controlled with a 4-way joystick and a button. The game consists of 6 “boards” or levels, each with increasing difficulty. Similar to Donkey Kong, the interface includes a series of platforms and ladders, in which the angry enemies will chase you throughout. Giant-sized burger ingredients are placed throughout in a vertical arrangement. When Peter runs over them they fall to the bottom, creating a sandwich. A burger is completed when all vertically aligned ingredients have been dropped out of the maze and onto a waiting plate. Once all burgers are completed, the level is finished.

If the player is intentional with the ingredients falling, they’ll wait until an enemy is beneath them and they will become crushed. If the ingredient has fallen with an enemy on it, then it will fall two extra levels. Regardless of the reason for perishing, the ingredients respawn shortly after “death.” At the beginning of the game, the player has a limited amount of pepper shots to use against enemies. When pressing the button, Peter shakes a cloud of pepper and the enemies will be stunned for a few seconds. Bonus foods will appear occasionally, ice cream, coffee, french fries; all awarding points with an extra pepper shot when collected. When Peter touches an enemy, a life is lost. Once all lives have been lost, the game is over.

A few tricks for gameplay: you can evade enemies by launching the pepper shaker attack and dodging. You can also use the burger layers to squish your enemies by waiting until an opponent moves directly below you. You could also stand on the edge of a burger layer and wait for an enemy. Run in the opposite direction as if you were to drop it, but stop prior. Using the pepper shaker attack, stun the enemy and then drop the layer. You can kill several enemies with this method. If you are at the top of the stage with an enemy at the bottom, you can time the drops where they are destroyed. By timing this correctly, you can earn more points.

Speaking of earning points, the record high score on BurgerTime is 11,512,500 points by Bryan Wagner of Pennsylvania on September 19th, 2008. This score was reached at the Challenge Arcade in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania. Think you could beat him?



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