My Arcade BurgerTime Micro Player



The nostalgia factor is strong over here at GamerDad. It is hard to get more nostalgic than an upright coin-operated arcade machine. While the dream of owning your own arcade may be hard to achieve, you can create a little mini-arcade on your desk using the line of arcade Micro Players by Data East. While the current crop of available titles is pretty slim (BurgerTime reviewed here) they make an excellent desk toy that is attractive, working arcade cabinet.

The tiny BurgerTime console is about 6” high and fits (barely) in the palm of your hand. The dimensions (aside from relatively oversize controls) are great and evoke the arcade cabinets of the past. As small as it is, it does need to be set on a table to play, as you aren’t going to be able to use the controls one handed. Sporting a 2.75” display and a reasonably loud speaker, it conjures up bygone days of arcade gaming (although you’ll have to find a way to supply your own background noise from all the other machines in the arcade.)

The game comes with a tiny little joystick and two buttons (they both use are for the “salt” function in BurgerTime), but if the joystick isn’t for you you can unscrew it and use the D-pad underneath. The power button is cleverly “hidden” on the lower front as the coin slot panel. In back, there’s room for the game’s speaker, a battery compartment for 4 AA batteries, a headphone jack, and some volume controls. You can also power it using a mini-USB cable but it claims to need at least 5V of power. I’ve been able to use it without problems when running from the USB port on several different computers.

The BurgerTime game is faithfully recreated. The sounds and actions seem to fit my memory of the game. My only issues are with the physical implementation. By trying to recreate the look of an old arcade game, the form factor does not lend itself well to playing on a standard desktop. I found myself hunched over to get a good look at the screen. It was more comfortable to play when I set it up at around chest height. I had few problems using the joystick. It was a bit frustrating at first as precision moves were difficult. BurgerTime requires one to be exactly even with a level before you can exit a ladder. The small screen made things worse, but if my memory serves the original cabinet game was not easy either. I prefer the joystick simply because I’m a purist, but the D-pad did seem to be a bit “loose” for my taste anyway. Sound quality is fine (with the internal speaker or headphones) but the volume level resets every time the unit is turned off (or even when the reset button is pressed.) The initial BurgerTime splash screen has no music, so one can turn the volume up or down before it makes noise, but it would have been nice to for the console to preserve sound settings between plays. The game has a high score function Finally, arcade games would often have dip switch settings that could be adjusted by the manager to change how a game behaved. The arcade BurgerTime had dip switch settings to give players 3 or 5 lives, 4 or 6 enemies present, as well as what scores earn extra lives. Unfortunately, there are no dip switch options for the Micro Arcade.

Mini Console

Original Console











My Arcade puts out several different Micro Players: Caveman Ninja, BurgerTime, Heavy Barrel, and Bad Dudes. I have only tried out BurgerTime, but that is also the only one of the set that I remember playing “back in the day.” My Arcade also has a Data East Micro Player that has dozens of old titles, but its MSRP is $100 vs the $35 or so for the single-game cabinets.

The Multi-Console model

The positives far outweigh the negatives, making my BurgerTime game one of my most prized desk toys (and I have a lot of them.) Sure, there is a bit of difficulty with the controls, but as is the case with most videogames, I soon adapted. The default volume is acceptable, and if needed, I am able to turn it completely off before it finished warming up when I want to play a silent game. (Although I’m surprised it resets even with a simple press of the reset button.) It isn’t perfect, but the positives easily outweigh the negatives to make it a fun stress reliever for a short little break.

Kid Factor
No mature content issues here in an old-time arcade game. The controls might even work better for little hands. Of course, as an old-time game the difficulty is probably higher than these kids today are used to, with a considerable amount of skill needed just to get to the third level.

2 Responses to “My Arcade BurgerTime Micro Player”

  1. That’s so cool! I loved BurgerTime back in the day. It was one of the few arcades games to pull me away from Pac-Man when I was a kid.

    Speaking of which, I must’ve been a weird kid because I remember cutting out a paper chef hat and pepper shaker and playing pretend BurgerTime when I was little. At least I was using my imagination!

    And also, that button on the arcade is to shake pepper, not salt. The chef’s name is Peter Pepper for a reason!

    Did you know that in Japan, BurgerTime was originally named Hamburger? That’s why he has an H on his hat. Man I could talk about BurgerTime all day.

    I’ve been getting press releases about some Atari mini arcade cabinet replicas (Centipede, Tempest), but they are much bigger and way more expensive.

  2. The little arcade looks very cool on my desk. The specific ones aren’t too bad (about $30) but the one that has dozens of titles is like $100…

    I now remember the pepper shaker, but not much on the screen or cabinet would have reminded me…

    I have only gotten past the 2nd screen one time I think. I want to know if it saves the high score from play to play, but I have yet to get one!

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