BurgerTime!

BurgerTime!

Wait… who's going to want that burger, after the chef stepped all over it?

 

I was recently reminded of BurgerTime by last week's episode of "Bob's Burgers," in which Bob becomes obsessed with a BurgerTime-like arcade game. And just like me, Bob isn't very good at it. In fact, his rival Jimmy Pesto not only gets the high score on Bob's arcade game, he also enters the name "BOB SUX."
 
This classic arcade game was first released in 1982 to wide acclaim and popularity. Any arcade worth its snuff had a BurgerTime machine. In this trippy game, you play a chef who has to assemble a cheeseburger while being pursued by food ingredients. If the food ingredients touch you, you die. And all the while, the relentlessly up-beat 8-bit soundtrack bores into your psyche.

 
BurgerTime combined gameplay elements of two of the hottest games on the market at the time: PacMan and Donkey Kong. Its level design resembles that of Donkey Kong, with brick floors and ladders that have to be climbed. Its gameplay mechanic of being pursued by a flock of intelligent enemies is straight out of PacMan.
 
One thing which distinguishes this game from all the others - which the "Bob's Burgers" folks lifted, as a wink and a nod to the original game - is the terrifying yet cheerful wobble of the pickle and the hot dog as they run after you. It's as revolting as it is hypnotic. 
 
I always found this game fiendishly difficult. It moves at a surprisingly fast pace right from the first level. You don't get a lot of buffer room between you and the next ladder, and your enemies are constantly pursuing you up and down the ladders, which means that you are frequently within an inch or two of your nearest enemy. And the only way to kill them is to drop burger parts on them (or lure them onto a burger part which you then drop). You get five shakes of pepper, but the pepper just momentarily stuns them. You have no defense but to run, and you don't run very fast.
 
The only saving grace is that you only actually have to drop the top buns. At least you don't have to drop each of the other burger pieces individually! 
 
To be honest, even though I love this game and I have played it many times (especially in the last week since "Bob's Burgers" reminded me of it), I have never, in thirty years of playing, made it past the second level. I hardly ever make it past the first level!