Paperboy – Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)
Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)
Developer: Atari Games
Publisher: Atari / Mindscape
Release Date: April, 1985
Nerd Rating: 6 out of 10
Rated by: bbpower
Back in the early 90s and prior decades, delivering papers was a common youth job. In fact, in this writer’s hometown, it was actually hard to get a paper route. The job was so common that Atari decided the experience was worth a video game. Thus this popular title became known as Paperboy!
Paperboy provided the joy of what every troublemaker would love to do on a paper route; vandalize anything and everything in sight with papers, while delivering papers along the delivery route. Got your attention? Good, because this is a game like nothing of its time.
The object of this trouble-making game is to deliver papers on your route over an entire week without missing a mail box. Keep an eye out for houses with a mailbox. You miss a box, then you lose that subscriber, if you get all of the boxes filled, then you gain a new subscriber. Front porch counts as well, but it does not give you as many points. You can go faster, or slam on the brakes to help aim your throwing. A ding will confirm a counted delivery, so there is no mystery on whether a delivery counted. The controls are easy; B button pitches a paper left, A pitches right. The controls take you left and right. The only negative is that there is no going backwards! So, lock on and be accurate. This game sounds pretty straight forward and boring, right? Well, the game has more involved than this simple task.
On your route, you will come across many obstacles hindering your “perfect route” progress. There are wild dogs, cars, manholes, drainage gutters, run-away strollers, jerk neighbors, and even the Grim Reaper to get in your way of delivering the hot news to the public. Not to mention gargoyle statues that shoot at you, run away lawn mowers ready to chop you to pieces, and random tornadoes ready to suck you into oblivion. Also, you need to avoid fences and walls in order to get papers delivered. Sounds like a rough neighborhood.
While you are delivering hot news, you can earn points for vandalizing houses of non-subscribers, but also creating chaos throughout the neighborhood. There are chances spread about the driveways and lawns to create a ruckus. Whether it’s a guy working under his jacked up car, old fogies swinging on their front porch, or a random tire rolling out of a driveway, you must be ready to chuck a paper their direction. Hit them and watch the fun, miss and you miss the points and possibly mauled by it. There are hundreds of targets on every route. Shatter windows and flower pots, knock over garbage, ruin flower beds, hit people; it’s all good, baby! Keep your eyes peeled to get bonus points, but watch out, because you can run out of papers! There are bundled papers spread out across the block to refill your destruction. Look for ramps to give you a boost over fences and to avoid dying. Floor it across streets to save yourself from becoming a hood ornament.
There are some areas where you will SWEAR you did not run into something, or “There is no way that hit me!” Well, my fellow gamers, this was a game made in 1985. The graphics show as much and outlines of obstructions are not completely clear so it’s best to give yourself plenty of room to get around fences and such. This will save your frustration, as it’s one of the few negatives to the game.
At the end of every paper route, you get to have fun in an obstacle course. Your papers become infinite and you can throw at will at targets to get bonus points to work your way toward a free life. If you run into an obstacle, or water pit, you do not lose a life in this area, but you miss out on points and the level bonus. At the end of each day, the game will take you through a summary of what houses you missed (if any), or what new customer you gained for your flawless efforts, or old customer you got back.
The Sunday edition of the paper is much heavier than the other six days, so the papers will fly slower. Be ready to aim and finish strong on the hardest day of the week!
If you get though all seven days without dying, or losing all your subscribers, you win and get an outstanding award for paper delivery! If you lose all your lives, or all your subscribers, you are publicly fired on the next edition of the newspaper, or you “call it quits!” How embarrassing…
This game is not hard to beat, but it is challenging to get perfect routes. When you have mastered the “Easy Street” move up to the more challenging “Middle Road ” and “Hard Way” for 2x and 3x the points. The game gets more fun as streets become harder. Earning extra lives is tough and there is more ways than not to die. I think there needs to be more paper reloads to have more fun, but it makes the game harder this way to get perfect routes.
Paperboy found a way into my heart at a young age. I played this at my cousin’s house, who was a paper boy. We would joke about him causing problems like you can in this game, and then he would actually do it here and there. I rate this game a Nerd Rating of 6 out of 10. For a good, fun, older NES game you cannot go wrong. Also, it’s worth noting that this game was good enough to have several sequels on different consoles! This is a good bargain game for any collection. It may not keep you playing for hours on end, but I do pop this game in from time to time to reminiscence on good times… and to vandalize shit.
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