Pressure Cooker (2600) Review

I’ve always imagined that working in a restaurant would be a stressful job. Even in fast food joints, when you venture to peek into the kitchen area, it’s easy to see that the employees are working hard, despite the fact that everything is pretty well automated. Pressure Cooker lets you glimpse into these peoples’ sad, underpaid lives, to live out your darkest fantasies of employment in the food industry. It’s not easy, and afterward, you’ll likely have a newfound respect for the retarded rapist who blows snot-rockets in your Double Bacon Cheeseburger.

This is probably a good game to buy with the instructions included. It’s a bit on the complex side, as far as 2600 games go, and it took me quite a bit of time to figure everything out. Hamburger paddies roll down the screen on a conveyor belt on the left, and condiment dispensers hurl various fixin’s at you from the right. You have to consult the little graph at the bottom of the screen to see what the customers are ordering, and assemble the burgers as specified. The part that really threw me for a loop was figuring out that you can hurl back the condiments if they aren’t needed, by holding down the button and moving the joystick to the right. And of course, it’s always a challenge to catch the food properly; no one likes getting hit in the face by a tomato.

Once you know what you’re doing, Pressure Cooker becomes pretty addictive. It isn’t exactly a difficult game, but mistakes tend to build upon each other, and things can get nerve-wracking when the conveyor belt starts to get too full. Initially it’s best to concentrate on one burger at a time, but as you get into higher levels the game increasingly requires you to multitask on multiple burgers at once. It’s pretty tough keeping track of which orders still need which ingredients, but with practice you’ll learn to recognize the visual clues and start getting into the zone.

This is a perfect example of a game that shouldn’t be fun. I don’t have any first hand experience, but I imagine it’s pretty similar to working in a fast food kitchen; read the order -> assemble the orders -> put the finished product where it needs to go. I imagine anyone who does have this unglamorous job would absolutely abhor the game. But for reasons I can neither explain nor understand myself, it still manages to be extremely fun. Easily one of my favorite 2600 games.

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~ by Krooze L-Roy on January 3, 2009.

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