You play as Peter Pepper, burger chef, and construct burgers out of giant buns, hamburger patties, lettuce, tomato and cheese slices. Walking over a burger part drops it to a lower level, until the parts finally pile up on a plate.
Peter is chased by food enemies; besides using his legs, he can fire his pepper shaker at them to briefly stop them in their tracks (pepper supply is limited, but you can replenish it by grabbing prizes like ice cream cones and ketchup bottles). If an enemy is atop an ingredient when it falls, it will fall farther; enemies can also be squashed between falling burger parts.
Mattel produced most of the early home ports; their Intellivision port did so well it became a pack-in for the Intellivision II. An Intellivision-exclusive sequel, Diner, was developed at Realtime Associates (using levels from the unfinished game Masters of the Universe II), and released in 1987. In this game, Peter Pepper has to kick balls of food so that they roll off platforms and down ramps to land on a plate, while avoiding or crushing the enemies.
Data East released two obscure follow-ups for arcades. Peter Pepper's Ice Cream Factory, released in 1984, took away Peter's pepper shaker but let him crush enemies with scoops of ice cream before throwing them onto cones; it was rarely seen until it appeared with the original game on the Compilation Re-release Data East Arcade Classics. Super Burger Time, released in 1990, remixed the formula by introducing a much younger protagonist, even bigger levels, burgers of different sizes, new enemies that could now be combined with the burgers, and Boss Battles.
In 2008, Namco released BurgerTime Delight for mobile phones. Monkey Paw Games remade the game in 2011 as BurgerTime World Tour, but it was removed from digital storefronts in April of 2014 when their license agreement expired.
Burger Time contans examples of:
- Acrofatic: Pete can move pretty fast for a fat guy, although he slims down in the home versions.
- Actionized Sequel: Ice Cream Factory is notably more faster paced and gives Peter Pepper the ability to jump and do flips off the edge of the screen.
- Anthropomorphic Food:
- Mr. Hot dog, Mr. Pickle, and Mr. Egg are in hot pursuit in the original.
- Ice Cream Factory ads Mr. Milk, Mr. Donut (who returns in the Game Boy Burger Time as a giant), and Mr. Strawberry.
- The sequel retained Mr. Hot Dog and added Cheap Cherry, Bad Banana, and Mugsy the Mug o' Root Beer.
- Chubby Chef: Pete works with food and was initially fat, though he is often slimmed down in ports.
- Edible Ammunition: Pepper.
- Endless Game: As with most Golden Age arcade games, Burger Time just keeps looping through the same stages, and the enemies eventually get ridiculously fast. Also played straight with Ice Cream Factory, but averted with certain sequels/remakes.
- Inkblot Cartoon Style: BurgerTime Party! uses an art style reminiscent of Inkblot albeit with modern color, with Rubber Hose Limbs, Pie Eyes, round head and body of Peter Pepper, and White Gloves of the enemies, most likely to capitalize on the popularity of Cuphead.
- Level Ate: You're walking over giant hamburger parts or handling large scoops of ice cream as large as Peter Pepper himself.
- Nintendo Hard: The original duo of arcade games accelerated in difficulty pretty quickly, with Ice Cream Factory requiring immense skill, mastery of its confusing control scheme, and reflexes just to pass the first level.
- No Plot? No Problem!:
- There doesn't seem to be any motivation for Peter at all here other than building hamburgers and ice cream as quickly as possible.
- Averted (again) by some sequels which give the chef an ultimate goal, such as stomping a competing store that are sending its minis to sabotage Peter Pepper.
- Pepper Sneeze: When a mook is hit with pepper, it's temporarily stunned, presumably due to a sneezing fit.
- Power-Up Food: Grabbing collectable food that appears (mysteriously) replenishes Peter's Pepper count by 1 or stuns enemies in the original game and Ice Cream Factory respectively.
- Respawning Enemies: Enemies respawn around the edges of the screen a few seconds after getting squashed, or from their final landing point after being dropped.