Paperboy (Extra! Extra! Read all about it!)

Unknown.jpegThe arcade game is almost a lost art of sorts. Unless it’s from the indie scene; we never get games where the main point is to well; score points. Sure there might be an end of the game; like in Marble Madness and today’s topic; Paperboy, but the real goal is to make the high score list. Upon further inspection; I can barely think of any arcade games of this style with an actual goal besides “get points”. Then we have Paperboy, which is my favorite arcade game ever. Enough nonsense; let’s get on to the game!


The title screen of the arcade version.



The handlebar “controller”






Paperboy was developed and published by Atari Games in 1985.The game was then ported to like; everything. Computers, consoles, handhelds, phones, your dishwasher; this thing was a hit. The game is noted for its’ unusual controls. You see, instead of a joystick and buttons; Atari decided to stick handlebars on the cabinet in their place; it really catches the eye. Pushing on the handlebars makes you accelerate while pulling on them make you brake, and turning is, well; turning the handlebars. Simply, yet effective.I’ve played Paperboy in the arcade, and it takes some getting used to, but once you learn; you can never go back.



Gameplay of Easy Street

So how does the life of a paperboy work? Well, you are the title paperboy delivering papers to houses on three different streets; Easy Street, Middle Road and Hard Way. You first choose your street (aka your difficulty level), then you are told your goal. You are shown all of the houses on the street; some are colorful which are the ones you need to deliver your papers to. On the other hand gray houses with nasty welcome mats are the ones you don’t deliver to; instead you throw papers at their windows to score you more points (Remember kids; vandalism’s okay when it’s toward people who you don’t like!). You’re trying to land your papers on the colorful people’s porch, but if you’re feeling ballsy; you can aim for the mailbox to get more points, however if you break their windows or just flat-out miss their house; those people will unsubscribe and their house will become a grey house the next day . If enough people unsubscribe; it’s game over. This makes it a fun risk-reward system of “Do you want to make it for the mailbox and risk missing, or play it safe and just aim for the porch”. Now it’s not as simple as throwing papers and pushing up and the handlebars; there’s a variety of obstacles trying to make our hero crash. These range from kids on big wheelers, break dancers, the Grim Reaper, stumbling drunk guys and all other sorts of wacky things. As you can see; this game has a great sense of humor and theme in general. You can throw your papers at some of the obstacles to make them stop moving, but take caution in not throwing your papers willy-nilly, since you can have only ten at one time. Fret not, you will find paper pickups that will completely refill your papers. Remember the “end” that I was talking about? Well, the real “end” of the game is when you complete the full week; Monday to Sunday (complete seven levels). This is no piece of cake however; even on Easy Street, the farthest I’ve made it was Friday. Sure everyday there’s bound to be less houses to deliver to (You’re bound to miss a few houses then and again after all.), but more obstacles appear; making less room for error. This is a very challenging game, but rewarding when you finally make it to the end of Sunday.


You’ll be hearing a lot of what the paperboy has to say when you crash. One of my favorite features of the game.

Paperboy is a very bright, colorful game. Nothing much more to say ’bout the look, but the music is a joy to listen to. There’s not a name for the Main Theme of Paperboy, so I’ve been calling it the Main Theme. This track is severally underrated; unlike the NES version, which I find it to be the inferior version. It’s a theme which; doesn’t get annoying (even though it’s the only theme in the game besides the training course music) and is still a happy, fun theme to listen to. Overall, Paperboy rocks! It looks to be a challenging, fun game that really delivers (heh). I wish that we could of gotten a proper sequel to the game, one that isn’t Paperboy 2 which is just kind of mediocre and not worth your time or one that isn’t Paperboy 64 which is a top to bottom train wreck. Seriously; that game is utter trash. Never EVER buy it.


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