It’s the mid-1980s, and you’ve gone out for dinner with your family to the local Pizza Hut. As your dad orders a pitcher of Budweiser and chats about his day at work with your mom, you and your brother creep away from the table to explore the cozily carpeted, warmly low-lit restaurant. In a dark alcove near a payphone and the restrooms, you see a table-like machine emanating an enchanting glow.
It’s a coin-operated arcade game—Burgertime.
Your brother inserts a quarter and becomes lost in a fantasy world of giant cheeseburgers and enemy pickles. You take turns playing, delighting in the fact that soon you’ll be eating a delicious deep dish pepperoni pizza and drinking soda with that crunchy barrel-shaped ice. You’ll fondly remembering these brief moments for the rest of your life.
True story. The first time I ever played Burgertime was in a Raleigh, North Carolina, Pizza Hut that has long since closed down. Considering the venue, it felt like the perfect game to stoke our appetites before a large pizza meal.
While reminiscing recently about this experience, I started to think about other food-related video, computer, and electronic games from the good old days. I thought it would be fun to look back and explore some of them. But be careful if you’re on an empty stomach: This retro adventure will very likely make you hungry.