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Fast Food for the Atari 2600 - Please Don't Eat The Purple Pickles

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You are all-mouth as you rush from burger to pizza to ice cream to soda as you binge eat your way though as many calories as possible, but be careful not to gulp down too many of those purple pickles, or your gonna end the game with more indigestion than points.

Basic Facts

  • Title: Fast Food
  • Publisher/Developer: Telesys
  • Programer: Don Ruffcorn
  • Platform: Atari 2600
  • Genre: Side-scrolling action game, eating game
  • Release Date: 1982

In the early '80s programmer Don Ruffcorn left his position at Fairchild Camera and Instrument Corporation, where he worked with Jerry Lawson on games for the Fairchild Channel F, to became a programmer at the emerging video game developer and publisher Telesys. From 1982 though 1983 Ruffcorn created three games for the Atari 2600 console: Fast Food, Cosmic Creeps, and Demolition Herby, the most famous of which was...and contuses to be...Fast Food.

In 1983, Telesys fell victim to the crash of the video game market, along with many other small video game businesses. After Telesys closed their doors, little is know about what became of Don Ruffcorn. He was never credited with another video game, and may have dropped out of the industry entirely.

The Game

Meet Mighty Mouth, a big pair of lips that is about to chow down at his favorite gub hub, the greatest, and fastest snack bar you could ever hope to gorge yourself at. While the decor is nothing but blank black walls, the food just flies out of the kitchen, right towards Mighty and his Mouth. All he has to do keep his chomping lips open wide and gobble in as many of the goodies as possible without eating the purple pickle, a bad bit of cucumber who will upset his stomach if he eats too many of them...which is odd since Mighty Mouth doesn't have a stomach.

The Gameplay

Players control a giant set of chomping lips. Not of the Pac-Man variety, but the kind that you see in the opening credits of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, or on the shelf in a novelty store.

The basics of the game are to move your mouth to try and gulp down junk food items as they fly by at various speeds. Some items move slowly, while others dash by. The problem is, do does the purple pickle.

The Calorie Counter

Items in the world vary among all sorts of unhealthy snack treats, and scores are calculated by just how many calories you consume. As calories serves as points, inside the game manual is a handy points reference guide, referred to as a calorie counter, and based on the numbers it makes you wish these delicious snacks in the real world were the same low-cal points as they are in the game.

The purple pickle has zero calories, which is not a good thing where you're trying to gain as much weight as possible.

Your Getting Fatter

Each level has you consuming as much as you can, and is split up with a message stating "Your Getting Fatter". It then pauses, allowing you some chew time, and resumes as soon as you press the fire button on your joystick.

The farther you go in the game, the faster and more frequent the purple pickles become. If you end up eating four of them, you let out a big burp and the game of being a gorging gobbling glutton is over.

Final Thoughts

Fast Food is an extremely fun and addictive game. As the food items and purple pickles are purely randomized, there is no strategy as to how you play, you just have to move fast, grab the goodies and avoid the purple pickle.

The graphics are a bit on the low end, causing it to be a bit difficult identifying the food items. For years I thought that that a giant nacho and a t-shirt were two of the things you consumed, but it ended up that the nacho is suppose to be a pizza slice and the t-shirt shaped item is a soda...I think.

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