Interview with Ian Price the Author of Super Burger Bar

January 06, 2005 

I'm sure no one knows this, but I have been beta testing the game for you and I can personally say it totally kicks major ass.  The sound, the graphics and game play are just great.  I can honestly say you have done the original game much justice.  Also let me say Happy New Year.

 
Q> Mind if we get a little background info on you?

A>  No Problem. An honour, even  :D

Q> First how old are you?

A> Born 14th January 1971 (It's my birthday next week, so I'll be 34).

Q> How long have you been making videos games and working with computers?

A> I first started coding on an Amstrad CPC464 way back in 1984. I got the
computer for Christmas and all that came with it was a magazine that
contained a
      few games listings (printed lines of code). I had no games or any
other software, so I typed out the listings in the magazine and found I
really enjoyed it (even
      the SYNTAX ERRORs!). I adapted little bits of the code to see what
they did and changed them into games of my own.

Q> What country and area are you from?

A> I live in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, England. Home of concrete cows
(really!), many roundabouts and Europe's largest shopping Centre and home of
the
      world's first in-door real snow ski slope (real snow 365 days a
year!). It's also the only place I know of where a bus journey can take 7
times longer than
      driving to get to your desired location.

Q> What made you want to remake Burgertime?

A> When I was at school I had a friend that had a yellow handheld version of
the arcade game BurgerTime. Knowing that I loved games he lent it to me. I'd
never
      heard of the original arcade game before so didn't know what to
expect. However, within the first minute of playing this mini-handheld
marvel, I was hooked!
      I never forgot about that game, and by chance another (C64 owning )
friend had a listing for a BurgerTime clone in a magazine (all in weird
machine symbols
      etc.)- after spending many hours, coding his C64, it failed to work -
but the screenshot in the magazine looked exactly like the game I had played
a year or two
      before. I was disappointed, so decided there and then to attempt to do
a version on my Amstrad. Just after I started my AMstrad version my C64
owning
      friend and I went to Alton Towers theme park in Staffordshire and in
one of the small arcades dotted around the park was an actual BurgerTime
arcade game.
      I seem to recall spending more time playing the arcade games
(especially BT) than actually riding the attractions!

Q> How did you come up with the name Super Burger Bar?

A> I wanted to create a BurgerTime game that looked and played slightly
different to the arcade version, but was concerned by potential problems of
naming it
      BurgerTime (due to copyright issues and the fact that I didn't want it
to be directly compared to the original). From the start I had planned
better graphics, but
      the power-ups came later - originally it was just going to be a clone,
called BurgerBar, not an improved version. I then felt the power-ups
enhanced it
      significantly so added the "Super" tag, so that it appeared enhanced.

      The graphics that you seen in this near finalized game vary
considerably to the Amstrad CPC version and it's subsequent Amiga iteration
(which I sadly no
      longer own - I sold my Amiga, to fund my pc purchase, as well as all
the software I had ever bought and created. I'd pay mega money to get that
lot back
      again :(

      Development started in Div Games Studio on pc, but then moved to
BlitzBasic. This is my first Blitz game (the reason it's taking so long -
the language is totally
      different to what I had used in the past).

Q> When was the first time you played Burgertime and on what system Arcade,
computer, home console?

A> As mentioned above, my friend's little yellow handheld (Thankyou Terry
Newson: I salute you!)

Q> What is your favorite video game of all time?

A> That is a very easy question: Boulderdash on Amstrad CPC. I was in heaven
when the BoulderDash Construction Kit was released (and it was better than
the
      C64 version, as you were able to have Amoeba AND slime on the same
level). I have lost hundreds of man hours to Boulderdash, and the creation
of my own
      tribute, RockRush - available all over the net (I discovered my game
on Czech site (http://plnehry.idnes.cz/arkady/rockrush.html) - this was
certainly high-praise
      that one of my games had traveled to somewhere that I never had!). I
then followed up RockRush with a Christmas themed version called XmasRush.
Both g
      games are listed on the Boulderdash Database
(http://boulder.cl4.org/index.php) :D A little piece of me shall live on
forever (I hope!)

Q> Are there other classic arcade games you have thought about remaking or
might be remaking now?

A> To date I have written about 20 remakes (all in various states of
completion, ranging from 100% down to 30%). I enhance all my remakes with
new graphics,
      sound, levels etc. My completed games include PowerPac (strangely
enough, most of the power-ups from BurgerTime come from this game), Xmas
      Lemmings, Balloonacy, Hangman, JetPak, Centipede, Super Mario Picross
and Snake to name a few. I have also worked on a remake of Super
StreetFighter
      2 Turbo, Bubble Bobble, Rainbow Islands, and Robocop the first (and
best) arcade game. I am always on the lookout for a new game to remake and
always
      have at least one game being worked on. When I'm not working on making
a remake, I'm thinking about it! It's a strange addiction...

      I have also worked on original games that have have received very
positive feedback.

Q> Are there any Easter Eggs hidden in your Super Burger Bar and if so are
you willing to share any info on them with us?

A> Well there is the level editor and a level skip, but other than that, no
there aren't any real hidden features. I always leave level editors in my
games and most do
      have some hidden features, but as SBB is not finished yet (sorry!) I
haven't decided on an Easter Egg just yet. Can you suggest one?

Q> Ok here is a cheap plug for my website.  How did you find out about
www.burgertime.info ?

A> Having played with the MAME version of BurgerTime, I was actually on the
look out for any and all information, screenshots sounds etc. that I could
find that I
      might require for my version. I did a quick Google search, and
BurgerTime.info was second in the list (IIRC). I checked it out and have
honestly been a regular
     visitor (shame that there's not more regular input, but I suppose the
subject matter is kind of limited).

Q> Is there a website people might be able to find out more about the games
you have made or are making now?

A> Most of my games are available at www.div-arena.com or from my own
website (which hasn't been updated for a long, long time)
      http://mysite.freeserve.com/div/index.html

      All my games are free and will continue to remain so. Three of my
games are also in the process of being ported to Dreamcast (RockRush, JetPak
      and Balloonacy). I also have someone working on a remake of JetPak for
a programming degree!

 Q> Now I would like to ask you is there anything you would like to add to
this interview that I didn't touch on that you also wanted to talk about?

A> Nothing springs to mind, but I would like to say a great big "THANKYOU"
to my ever-supportive (and oft ignored) wife who has put up with my
obsession to
      bring old games back to life for the new generation. (Why she puts up
with me I really don't know!) Old games must not be allowed to die. And a
big
      "THANKYOU" to you too, CK. For highlighting a game that I have spent
nearly 20 years trying to make and very nearly completed. And Rockfistus. He
      deserves a large one too! His remakes of the Super Burger Time tunes
are superb and took him so little time to do (despite 7 versions of the main
one). To
      each and every one of these people and countless others that I haven't
mentioned. Especially all the other remakers at www.remakes.org

      Cheers!


I would like to add that the game WILL get finished, but time is limited at
the present time. There's still more I want to add to the game and improve
some bits already in (AI needs work, as does ladder climbing - others
criticised this, requiring pixel perfect timing). If you wish to help in
anyway, then please do!

Ian

 Ok I'm going to rap this up now.  I want to thank you for taking the time
to do this interview and for making such a cool remake of a great classic
video game.