Burger Time celebrates the triumph and willpower of the indomitable American spirit. Also a little fat man runs away from humanoid wieners.

One of the greatest fears that mankind has had to consistently deal with throughout the years is the idea that after we're all dead, rotting, festering carcasses full of those gross bugs from the secret underground tunnel in "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom," aliens from a different galaxy will visit our planet and proclaim our species to have been composed of grade-A 100% dumbo nutjobs. They'll gain access to various Geocities and Angelfire gangstah-pRyDe websites, discover all the Ron Popeil-endorsed products we all bought and never used, and track down DVD copies of "Biodome" or that stupid British sitcom about the two drunk whore women who spend all day screeching like incoherent harpies with a mouthful of marbles. They'll pull out their intergalactic scorecards and scrawl down a "D-" across from the species "humans." We'll get narrowly beaten out for 593,271,399,874th place by the Skrajoblioni Hornet Chefs, a race whose entire culture consists of floating around a giant hovering oven which periodically dispenses useful dating advice. Humanity will become the galactic laughingstock of the universe, therefore making us the universal galactic laughingstock, and you really can't get much worse than that (assuming you don't have a starring role on "That 80's Show"). Scientists have been actively researching ways to make our race look less embarrassing, resulting in ideas such as a bomb that only blows up Pokemon merchandise and a toxic gas which is capable of destroying all recorded standup comedy routines which begin with the phrase "you know how white people drive like this?" However, there has been one cultural phenomenon that has eluded all explanations and coverups by scientists across the globe, one source of pure confusion and terror that mankind will never be able to sufficiently explain to the rest of the universal exploration committee: Burger Time.

The cast of characters in this gripping saga of giant food preparation. Note that all their names are trademarked. This means that you can't name your child "Mr. Egg" or else you'll have to pay Data East $50.

The bizarre arcade game of Burger Time was released in 1982 by Data East, a company that went on to make Chamber Of The Sci-Mutant Priestess and Karnov, two games which should have probably never been released for various reasons. The early 1980's gave birth to hundreds of weird, primitive, obnoxious arcade games with little to no plot whatsoever. Most of these titles were variations on the "everybody everywhere wants to kill you and they probably will" theme which still holds true today. Quarter-popping arcade fans in the early 80's were very concerned with shooting colored people who ran in their general direction, causing racial flare-ups across the globe and ultimately resulting in the production of the film "Breakin'" starring Ice-T and Phineas Newborn III. Although it's taken us 20 years to get where we are today (approximately 20 years later), our culture has advanced past the primitive desire to run around shooting colored people and has evolved to embrace the idea of first-person shooter-addicted teenagers running around shooting all people regardless of color. We have transcended the race boundary and walked into a new era, one full of good feelings and black trenchcoats. However, we cannot put the past behind us, where it currently resides. No, we must put the past in the future or at least in the present time, thereby turning it into the future-past-present and making it really difficult to fill out upcoming tax forms. Burger Time is a part of our heritage and culture, a landmark which can never be erased from time. It is a shining beacon calling to all futuristic and alien societies, an air raid siren screeching out, "hey guys, we're really stupid! Come on over and check out how weird and stupid we were in the 1980's! You'll get a free Alf lapel pin for every visit! Remember: Earth is the place for all your stupid needs!" That air raid siren is currently tearing through the fabric of our society, and I believe it's past time we recognized and fessed up to this before we're all charred, smoking remains of skeletons wearing designer sunglasses.

Burger Time was a game obsessed with the production of America's favorite fast food, the hamburger. As ace chef Peter Pepper, your duty was to produce giant lumps of junk food while being pursued by smaller enemy junk food who wanted to kill you because they were Communists. Any food industry expert can vouch to the accuracy of the hamburger production method featured in Fast Food; by running on top of humongous hamburger buns propped up above neon blue support beams, a chef can quickly serve up dinner that is able to feed 1800 Mexican families for 12 straight days. The "outrageously large food industry" was quite popular in the early 1980's, just like gummi bears and Tommy Lee Jones unfortunately became popular in the 90's. Vegetable and meat production facilities across the world spent all their time genetically engineering products that could be hoisted via industrial crane up to neighboring unfinished office buildings. A series of ladders connected the platforms supporting the 100-foot radius beef patties, 600-pound clumps of lettuce, and hamburger buns that could hide entire states. Once the setup was complete, these firms outsourced their hamburger production and preparation work to an individual named Peter Pepper, a man who had the powers of repeatedly rising from the dead for only 25 cents per life. Peter Pepper had the complex job of walking on top of food products so they would fall straight down and collide with food products below them, eventually forming a complete hamburger which would then be shipped off to somewhere else like Canada or the ocean. I'm not really sure where the burgers were exported to or why anybody would want them, but they had a habit of magically disappearing after being assembled by a tiny white man wearing a tiny white hat. Maybe somebody grounded them all back up and formed new hamburger parts from them in some obscene never-ending cycle of food hell. I think that was the definition of "trickle-down economics" if I remember correctly.

The seedier, darker side of Burger Time. I think it's just because people who owned Commodore 64s were weird. I had an Apple IIC, so I was free of the Burger Time lure (although I did fall for the trap of "Captain Goodnight" and "Spare Change").

However, all was not how it seemed in the outrageously large food industry. There were certain evil entities who did not take kindly to the idea of a small fat man stepping on lettuce. This idea flew in the face of their religious and moral upbringing, turning them into bitter rivals with Mr. Pepper. They wanted nothing more but to push Peter to perish purposefully and painfully by the complex and deadly method of "coming into contact with him." The most popular way to kill people in the early 80's was to formally become their enemy and then touch them, causing their body to instantly decompose or at least emit a series of huge letters that spelled out "GAME OVER." The anti-large food interest groups hired the services of "Mr. Hot Dog," "Mr. Pickle," and "Mr. Egg" who were (respectively) sentient hot dogs, pickles, and eggs. They had the ability to ascend ladders and move in a relatively straight line, but that was about it. Mr. Hot Dog was the lackey of the group, always wandering aimlessly and without direction unless he was being commanded by the brains of the outfit, Mr. Egg. Mr. Egg had the organizational ability to effectively mastermind an offensive assault against Mr. Pepper and his single-minded pursuit of giant hamburger production. Whenever Mr. Egg busted onto the scene and began running up giant floating white ladders, Peter knew that he was going to face some serious trouble, the kind of trouble that can only come with a walking egg that chases you around abandoned buildings that house floating wads of meat and bread. To help him fend off the fiendish advances of the marauding hot dogs, pickles, and eggs, Peter is randomly teleported containers of pepper from the main offices that causes the attacking food products to momentarily freeze in place. I'm not sure why Mr. Pepper's contract employers didn't just send him an UZI and let him end the madness, but I'm guessing that it has something to do with his last name. You know, because he's not named "Peter UZI-Head" or "Peter Fucking Axe or Anything, Absolutely Anything More Powerful Than a Stupid Pepper Shaker." Regardless, Peter had to work with the materials given to him, showcasing the resourcefulness and ingenuity of the American spirit that made this American country so great (the country of America). You'll never see dirtbag countries like Malaysia or Antarctica bursting with American pride and American spirit, and this is what makes America the wonderful paradise it kind of currently is right now. And if you don't like it you can go back to Malaysia or Canada you goddamn Mr. Egg supporter.

If Peter ever ran out of pepper shakers, he could always depend on the reliable method of stomping on giant food and making them fall below, squashing the sentient man-food monsters that chased him for no readily available reason. This added extra flavoring to the gigantic hamburgers, food which was previously only seasoned by the taste of Mr. Pepper's crusty shoes. As a result, Peter was awarded something called "bonus points," which in the food preparation industry means "stock options" or maybe something else. I'm not sure what they are known as, I can only assume they weren't just some arbitrary set of numbers collected for no ultimate purpose except to achieve a top 10 score ranking just so you may enter the letters "FUK" into the highscore database. Peter Pepper made hundreds of thousands of millions of tens of fifties of thousands of hamburgers during his tenure as "Top Head Chief President CEO Chairman Mayor of Burger Stomping," and catapulted many three-letter names into immortal fame. He had the power to make or break careers while simultaneously preparing elaborate meals for people whose heads could be measured in cubic miles.

While Burger Time may have started up the electronic giant fast food industry in 1982, the business still continues to this very day and the foreseeable future. Although Mr. Hot Dog, Mr. Pickle, and Mr. Egg would like to say otherwise, Peter Pepper has made a name for himself in both the "humongous food" industry and the "fleeing from walking humanoid entrees" pastime. His legacy will be immortalized for future generations to look back and reflect upon, a shiny reflective thingy that people look at and ask themselves, "hey, what exactly is that shiny reflective thingy that I'm looking at?" and then they lean in for a closer view and something like springy snakes or explosive beans shoot out and just surprise the hell out of them. Long after our society has killed ourselves off by detonating an atomic bomb which sprays out a modified AIDS virus that is coated with Anthrax and Jack in the Box special sauce, Burger Time will still be around. Burger Time, I salute you for being one of the select few products which will completely boggle the minds of alien colonies and produce such a skewed and confusing representation of society that our intergalactic overlords will have to assume the human race was simply a bunch of living things bent on making food, eating food, running from food, and dying from food. Which we aren't; we also watch a lot of television too.

Stephen King's "Oh No, Not Another Stephen King Movie"

We've got a piping-hot, fresh, in-your-face review of Stephen King's Sleepwalkers, a movie which is painfully horrible even by Stephen King standards. You have to keep in mind that this is the guy who created "Maximum Overdrive." That should put things into perspective for you, and if it doesn't, well, there's always this review.

Stephen King crashes and burns, engulfed a flaming kiddie pool of leftover Cold War jet fuel, in this horror thriller starring evil mutant cat-people and some others who may or may not be evil mutant cat-people. Zany, vomit-inducing antics ensue, including a lot of dumb rednecks getting killed and a lot of dumb redneck cars getting blown up after being shot with a single bullet. A single cat-person bullet. Of evil.

Wow! Evil mutant cat-people AND invisible cars in the same movie? Could it be true? Ah yes, only from the fertile mind of Stephen King does such wondrous creations spawn!

– Rich "Lowtax" Kyanka (@lowtax)

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