The Burgertime Maze Editor

May 16, 2012

Burgertime for the Mattel intellivision is considered one of the best arcade ports of the game, for any system. Great gameplay, great graphics, all around great arcade action. Arnauld Chevallier and David Harley have collaberated on designing and making this Burgertime maze editor some time ago. Here is the link to Arnauld's site: Webknox. You can download the ZIP file that archive 7 new levels. The screenshot shown here and in the link are a newly designed level.

Here are the programming note from Arnauld himself:  In order to get familiar with the way the Intellivision is working, I first decided to do some reverse engineering on an existing ROM. I chose the BurgerTime one.

It was very interesting to see all the tricks used in order to have the full game fit into 8 Kb, graphics, musics and sounds included. Optimization was a real necessity at the time. With today's languages and compilers, the simpliest 'Hello World!' program generates a filthy code of hundreds of Kb but nobody seems to really care ... Oh well, never mind ;-)

I had the opportunity to exchange some mails with Ray Kaestner -- the programmer of the ROM -- and below is his opinion about this topic:
"Yes, lots of times I feel very guilty in this new world writing big and inefficient code when I think back to what we could do in 4k or less of code (my first project at Mattel was a handheld game that fit in 2k and we were also working on games that had only 1/2 k instructions and 32 nibbles of RAM). But that's the way things have gone, and the hardware keeps getting faster and cheaper, so that's not as much of an issue as the good old days."

For some obvious copyright issues, I can't publish my reverse engineered code. However, below is a small program allowing to patch the original ROM with new mazes

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