European / 1st alternate North American arcade flyer
Apple II, Atari 2600, BBC Micro, ColecoVision, Intellivision, MS-DOS, Mattel Aquarius, MSX, NES, TI-99/4A
|Mode(s)||1-2 players alternating|
|Display||Raster, 19" monitor|
BurgerTime (バーガータイム, Bāgātaimu) is a 1982 arcade game created by Data East initially for its DECO Cassette System. The player is chef Peter Pepper, who must walk over hamburger ingredients located across a maze of platforms while avoiding pursuing characters.
In the United States, Data East USA licensed BurgerTime for distribution by Bally Midway as a standard dedicated arcade game. Data East also released its own version of BurgerTime in the United States through its DECO Cassette System. 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.
The game's original Japanese title Hamburger (ハンバーガー) was changed outside of Japan to BurgerTime, reportedly to avoid potential trademark issues. In addition to all releases in the Western world, "BurgerTime" was also the name used on the Japanese ports and sequels.
The object of the game is to complete a number of hamburgers while avoiding enemy foods. The player controls the protagonist, chef Peter Pepper, with a four-position joystick and a button.
Each board consists of a maze of planks and ladders in which giant burger ingredients (buns, patties, lettuce/tomato, etc.) are laid out. When Peter walks the full length of an ingredient, it falls to the level below, knocking down any ingredient that happens to be there. A burger is completed when all of its vertically aligned ingredients have been dropped out of the maze and onto a waiting plate, and the player must complete all burgers to finish the board.
Three types of enemy food items wander the maze: Mr. Hot Dog, Mr. Pickle, and Mr. Egg. The player can score extra points by either crushing them under a falling ingredient, or by dropping an ingredient while they are standing on it. In the latter case, the ingredient falls two extra levels for every enemy caught on it. Crushed or dropped enemies return to the maze after a short time.
At the start of the game, the player is given a limited number of pepper shots to use against enemies. Pressing the button causes Peter to shake a cloud of pepper in the direction he is facing; any enemy touching the cloud will be stunned for a few seconds, and Peter can safely move through them. Bonus food items such as coffee and ice cream appear on occasion, awarding bonus points and one extra pepper shot when collected.
There are six boards of increasing difficulty, with more burgers/ingredients, more enemies, and/or layouts that make it easier for Peter to become cornered by enemies. After the player completes the sixth board, the cycle repeats.
The player loses one life whenever Peter touches a non-stunned enemy. When all lives are lost, the game is over.
Mattel Electronics obtained the rights to BurgerTime from Data East and released the Intellivision version in 1983. That year they also released versions for the Atari 2600, IBM PC, Apple II, and Aquarius. In 1984 Mattel produced the ColecoVision version, distributed by Coleco. Data East produced a version for the TI-99/4A in 1983, Famicom in 1985, MSX in 1986, and NES in 1987.
BurgerTime received a Certificate of Merit in the category of "1984 Videogame of the Year (Less than 16K ROM)" at the 5th annual Arkie Awards.:40 The Deseret News called BurgerTime "one of the real surprises of 1983 for the Intellivision", and gave the ColecoVision version three and one half stars.
An arcade spin-off, Peter Pepper's Ice Cream Factory (1984) and an arcade sequel, Super BurgerTime (スーパーバーガータイム) (1990), were not widely released. Super BurgerTime stars Peter Pepper Jr. and allows two players to play at once. It is fairly true to the original, but with many added features and greatly improved graphics.
A console-only sequel, Diner, was created after the 1984 purchase of Intellivision from Mattel by INTV Corp. It was programmed by Ray Kaestner, the programmer of the Intellivision version of BurgerTime. In Diner, Peter Pepper must kick balls of food so that they roll off platforms and down ramps to land on a large plate at the bottom of the screen, while avoiding or crushing enemy food items that are trying to stop him.
Namco released BurgerTime Delight for mobile devices in 2007. It includes "new graphics, characters and power-ups". There are six "arcade levels" and eight enhanced mode levels with perils of falling ice and rising fire from the grill. Besides the pepper of the classic game, there is now a salt shaker, that when collected stuns all enemies on the screen.
The arcade version BurgerTime has been included in various collections, including Arcade's Greatest Hits: Midway Collection 2 for the PlayStation and Data East Arcade Classics for the Wii. In late 2019/early 2020, it was released with fellow Data East titles Karate Champ, Caveman Ninja and Bad Dudes in an arcade cabinet for home use by manufacturer Arcade1Up at the cost of 399$. Although the cabinet comes with four games in one, its artwork features only the graphics of Burgertime.
The NES version was available on the Wii Virtual Console. Its Game Boy counterpart BurgerTime Deluxe was released for the 3DS Virtual Console in 2011.  The NES version is also included in the 2017 compilation Data East All-Star Collection for the Nintendo Entertainment System.
Clones for home systems include: Mr. Wimpy, Burger Chase, Burger Time (Interceptor Micros), BurgerSpace, Chip Factory, Burger Boy!, Basic Burger, Barmy Burgers, Burger Builder, and Lunchtime.
In popular culture
On September 5, 2005, Bryan L. Wagner of Turbotville, Pennsylvania achieved a record score of 8,601,300 and improved to exactly 9,000,000 on June 2, 2006. According to Twin Galaxies, he improved it further to 11,512,500 points on September 19, 2008 at the Challenge Arcade in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania. The MAME world record was verified by Twin Galaxies on December 2, 2016 as 7,837,750 by Roger Edwin Blair III of Mountain City, Tennessee.
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