The Game: As Chef Peter Pepper, you climb around a multi-level factory whose sole function is to make some really big burgers. We’re talking about some BIG burgers here. But your ingredients aren’t exactly cooperating with you… (M Network [Mattel, under license from Data East], 1982)
Memories: In an ambitious bid to exploit their Burgertime license on systems other than the Intellivision, Mattel did their best to bring Chef Peter Pepper and that pack of pesky pickles to the 2600, and while the end result fell a little bit short, it also racked up its share of good selling points. And perhaps by virtue of its name alone, Burgertime was one of the best selling M Network titles.
The biggest problem with Burgertime for this machine was that it was painfully slow. This Peter Pepper would never have made it as a fast food chef, especially when climbing ladders. On the one hand, this did add a wee bit to the game’s built-in tension, but it was also a challenge to any player’s patience.
There were some major innovations as well: Burgertime is among the earliest, and perhaps the earliest I can remember, game to feature constant background music on the 2600. The game requires so little sound otherwise – the exceptions being bonus items, your chef biting the big one, and the pepper shaker – that interruptions are minimal. Using the difficulty switch for the left controller can also pause the game; the Atari 5200 may have been the first console to offer a dedicated pause function for every game, but on the 2600 it was a rare treat that was implemented in only a very few cases.