As much as social media sucks sometimes, it can lead to the discovery of a few gems here and there, especially when it comes to the wide world of online Easter eggs. My friend Pete recently retweeted Philip Bump, national correspondent for The Washington Post, who had stumbled upon a tasty morsel of vital information:
“til that wendy’s’ 404 page is a burger time minigame,” the tweet reads, with a link to Wendy’s 404 error page. This is the one that websites display if you try going to a nonexistent webpage on a domain. Much to my delight, this 404 offers wayward web travelers a Wendy’s-themed version of the classic arcade game BurgerTime.
If you’ve never played BurgerTime, it’s a fun little 1982 arcade game in which you traverse platforms to avoid bad guys. The goal is to walk over fast food ingredients, which tumble downward to assemble a full meal once you complete the level. In the case of Wendy’s 404 page, you play as a miniature version of Wendy herself, running away from angry hot dogs. Which is a bit weird, since Wendy’s hasn’t served hot dogs since 1989.
Since the game is on a fast food giant’s website, of course it’s doubling as an advertisement. But you can still think it’s fun, and I do. The minigame showcases Wendy’s 4 for $4 value meals, each of which includes a small sandwich (either a Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger or a Crispy Chicken Sandwich), four chicken nuggets, fries, and a drink, for four bucks. I can attest to the fact that they’re a pretty decent deal if you’re low on cash. But even Wendy’s haters can play this dumb little game with abandon.
As always, I’m late to the party; people have known about this little arcade Easter egg for a while now. A 2018 post from 8-Bit Central indicates that the game has been around for at least four years. But it’s likely new to some of you, as it was for Philip Bump, and now me.
Like all great stuff on the internet, at first I thought it was silly, but then I realized I was having a lot of fun playing it (you know my enthusiasm for food-based video games). It’s a little somethin’ to get you through your day, like Wordle or Spelling Bee. Wouldn’t you like to run away from some grumpy sausages while you sip your morning coffee?