A while ago, I picked up the game BurgerTime Party on the Nintendo Switch. This game is the latest installment in the long running BurgerTime series which started as an arcade game. It’s a very simple single screen game. The only goal is to get the high score. The game itself is a little strange if you sit down and look at what you’re being asked to do. You play as a chef named Peter Pepper, and you are being chased by hotdogs, eggs, pickles, and in this game beans. As you’re running around you walk across parts of a burger.
The goal is to cause the burgers, and in BurgerTime Party the foot-long hotdogs, to fall and stack together in the trays at the bottom of the screen. The only thing you have to protect yourself is a limited number of pepper shakers which you can use to stun the enemies. It’s a very fun game, and this version is much easier than the original arcade game.
The version of BurgerTime I have the most memories of is the NES port. It’s a decent version of the game. While the arcade version looks better, I have the Arcade1up cabinet, the NES port is just as good. A friend of mine had the game, and it was one of the few games that we always played. It wasn’t the game we played a lot, especially when the Sega Genesis came out, but I remember trying to figure out the game. We didn’t have the luxury of having an arcade nearby. So, playing these arcade ports was a bit easier as we didn’t have to keep pumping quarters into a cabinet.
I remember trying different things, wasting my pepper when I had no idea how to get more, and just stumbling around the map trying to figure out what was going on. We didn’t have anyone to ask about how to play it. The internet didn’t exist yet so we couldn’t go online to ask what we needed to do. All we could do was try to get a higher score than the other person. I think we also thought there was a way to beat the game. None of us had played the arcade game, and we didn’t really understand that there was no way to beat a game like BurgerTime. A “kill screen” was a not a thing we knew about.
At least for me, the only time I ever played arcade games was when we would go to the mall, or when I would go with my father to set his bait piles for hunting season. There would be these little diners in towns I can’t remember the names of, and there would be random arcade games. I remember one of them having a Galaga cabinet. This was in the early 90s. I’m guessing that cabinet had been there since the early 80s, and they just never bothered to replace it. Growing up, these little trips and the console ports of games like BurgerTime were the only ways I got to play an arcade game.
Now we get back to BurgerTime Party. This version has a bunch of features on it, including a four-player mode which sounds amazing! I haven’t had the chance to try it out yet given what has been going on for the past couple of years. Specifically, I wanted to try the four-player couch co-op. It’s just more fun to talk trash to someone when they’re right next to you. There are four ways to play the game. Multiplayer, which is the main game, Solo, which is a puzzle game, Battle, which is another multiplayer mode, and the Challenge mode.
This version of the game is probably my favorite one. The graphics are very cartoonish, the enemies are very animated, there is a global scoreboard in challenge mode, and the game is just fun. There is a simplicity to BurgerTime that I really like, especially as I get older, and I don’t have a few hours to spend on a game. I like being able to just pick up and play a game for however long I feel like it. BurgerTime has always worked well on a portable console whether it was on the Game Boy, or now that it is on the Switch.
The controls feel pretty good. All you need for BurgerTime is a joystick/directional pad and a button. Peter Pepper can’t jump so he doesn’t need a button for that. As weird as the game is, I still really like the game. The Switch version is really good for someone who has never tried the game before and just wants to have something easy to play. Turning it into a party game was a great idea.
I have a fair number of memories of playing the NES port growing up. When I started collecting games in the late 90s this was one of the games I looked for. Most of my friends would get frustrated with it because of how strange it is. When I saw the Arcade1up cabinet I went out of my way to get it. I didn’t really care about the other games on it, I just wanted to play BurgerTime. With BurgerTime Party, I feel like I can relive some of those memories, and I can sit back with the game for a while whenever and where ever I want.