Barmy Burgers, ZX Spectrum

Barmy Burgers is an early ZX Spectrum BurgerTime clone, programmed by Gary Capewell and published by Blaby Computer Games in 1983.

The game gets off to a terrible start with a howling grammatical mistake on the loading screen*. “Barmy Burger’s” [sic] it says… Anyone with even a cursory grasp of English will know why this is wrong. The piercing sound effects on the title screen also indicate that this is going to be a bumpy ride…

*= This basic grammatical error is repeated on every screen at the bottom of the game, so is not a one-off. It seems that Mr. Capewell doesn’t know how to spell “burgers” and is oblivious to the fact that he’s advertising on every screen of his game that he doesn’t know how to use apostrophes either… It really did make me shake my head in disbelief. And I don’t think I’m being “elitist” here – this is basic, primary school English grammar, and it matters. Someone at publisher Blaby should have picked up on it and requested a fix, but that obviously didn’t happen.

The game starts by itself, with no user input, so unless you’re ready to go you’ll quickly lose a life (maybe even all three of your lives) before you know what the controls are. The graphics and movement are jerky (and move in character squares, rather than smoothly by pixel), and lining yourself up to ladders is a hit-and-miss affair. Enemies move quickly and their AI is highly questionable. You can spray pepper at them to stun them temporarily, just like in BurgerTime, but – unlike in BurgerTime – the entire game stops to play sound effects! There’s no high score table and every screen is the same – there are no variations. This game literally has no redeeming features whatsoever…

Overall, Barmy Burgers is an extremely poor BurgerTime rip-off that is indicative of a good proportion of early ZX Spectrum software (ie. much of it was home-coded and published by amateurs who didn’t know what they were doing), and should be left well alone by anyone curious to play it. The only reason anyone might load Barmy Burgers now is to either laugh at it, or to research BurgerTime clones (the latter of which is what I’m doing). Otherwise there is no reason to waste your time on this embryonic video game garbage.

More: Barmy Burgers on World of Spectrum

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