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Paperboy (NES) artwork

Paperboy (NES) review


"Of course, there are threats to your little newspaper empire. That cute little dog you see cowering in his home on the front lawn may very well bite you in the butt if you donít toss a paper at just the right moment. And there are rumors that the Grim Reaper himself frequents the neighborhood from time to time. Add runaway lawnmowers, tires, go carts and disillusioned customers of times past and you have the formula for a rather dangerous job."



Some people actually think that the goal of Paperboy is to deliver newspapers to loyal subscribers. Theyíre wrong. Sure, you can do that if you like. In fact, your adventure ends the precise minute you screw up badly enough that no one cares to buy your newspaper subscriptions. But no, thatís not what the game is about. Itís actually all aboutÖ vandalism.

Lining the streetís left side are an assortment of homes, red and white in color. The white ones belong to those people who are clever enough to see that your newspaper subscriptions offer a substantial value. They have nicely trimmed lawns, cute little checkerboard fences and even bushes and flowers. Some also have dog houses for the family pooch.

The difference between these enlightened individuals and your mortal enemies is a simple one: the bad people live in red houses.

As you peddle your bike down the street, youíll find that you have a limited stock of newspapers. Your supposed goal is to heave a paper at just the right angle so that as you peddle past, it lands either precisely in the subscriberís box, or within a reasonable range on the front porch (you get more points for a direct delivery). If the house is white, you should of course make every attempt to satisfy Joe Consumer. But what if the house is red?

Then itís war.

Notice those nice green shrubs? A simple toss of the paper can cut them cleanly in half. What about that neatly-packed pail of cans waiting for pick-up by the recycle truck? Heave a paper hard enough and the aluminum will be scattered across the perfectly-manicured lawn. Thatíll teach people to think twice the next time they turn down your newspaper subscriptions.

Of course, there are threats to your little newspaper empire. That cute little dog you see cowering in his home on the front lawn may very well bite you in the butt if you donít toss a paper at just the right moment. And there are rumors that the Grim Reaper himself frequents the neighborhood from time to time. Add runaway lawnmowers, tires, go carts and disillusioned customers of times past and you have the formula for a rather dangerous job.

For this reason, you have several chances to make it through the week. If you run face-first into the back of a parked car, itís not necessarily the end of the world. If a whirlwind or a skateboard knocks you from the bike, you still have a few more chances.

If youíre really good, youíll make it to the end of your route, and then itís on to the training course. Dingy brown clay forms a dry ocean around ramps and rings. Though you never see jumps in your actual route, a paperboy can never be quite prepared, so these moments make a nice diversion before your return to suburban perfection and more of that destruction thatís oh-so-enjoyable.

With that said, the whole thing can get old. And it can start to feel cheap. You might see a trash can in perfect reach, yet find yourself swerving wildly away at the last moment because a skateboarder is careening wildly toward you. As the week passes and you draw ever nearer to Sunday, the number of obstacles in your path becomes almost insurmountable. Not only that, but if you just throw paper after paper, youíll run out of issues well before you find a replenishing bundle stacked just left of the sidewalk. This can cost you valuable subscribers, so thereís definitely an element of strategy involved with your vandalism.

Just remember that with work and dedication, you can beat the game. You can show everyone how wonderful it is to buy your newspapers. You can even get your mug plastered across those same papers you have just delivered over the course of the past week. The most fun of all, though, comes from claiming that high score. You see it and remember how you fought for it with blood, sweat andÖ broken windows.

Rating: 7/10

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Staff review by Jason Venter (January 24, 2005)

Jason Venter founded HonestGamers in 1998, and since then has written hundreds of reviews as the site's editor-in-chief. He also is a prolific freelancer with game reviews, articles and fiction available around the Internet.

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