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Paperboy (NES) artwork

Paperboy (NES) review

"Who would have ever thought that such a simple, childhood job could become so dangerous? Indiana Jones never had to evade tornadoes that were following him! James Bond never had to deliver papers to the Grim Reaper! I cannot imagine what this paperboy would give to rescue a princess from a fire-breathing dragon instead of doing... this! "

Who would have ever thought that such a simple, childhood job could become so dangerous? Indiana Jones never had to evade tornadoes that were following him! James Bond never had to deliver papers to the Grim Reaper! I cannot imagine what this paperboy would give to rescue a princess from a fire-breathing dragon instead of doing... this!

Wait, what is the point of this game, anyway? Oh yeah, you must deliver newspapers! Well, you must admit, Tengen and Mindscape (The developer and publisher) deserve credit for taking an ordinary chore and making an innovative and original game of it. What you have to do is avoid the hazards of the town as you attempt to gain a good paperboy status by successfully delivering newspapers for one week's time. Should you complete one week, Monday through Sunday, while maintaining a good customer satisfaction, you will have completed the game.

Paperboy uses a crude isometric-3d style of gameplay. The road tilts towards the upper-right end of the screen at an approximate 45 degree angle. The yards and houses are on the left side of the road, also at a 45 degree angle, of course. Your paperboy is set in this area, riding his bicycle as the screen continually scrolls up the road automatically.

The paperboy starts out with three extra ''lives'' and ten newspapers. You must deliver these newspapers to the subscribers' houses, by throwing a paper onto the porch or into the mailbox of any house that isn't colored red. In the meantime, you can gain extra points by using the newspapers to break the windows or somehow damage any item or any home owned by people who aren't subscribed to your newspaper. Along the way, you'll find packs of newspapers that you can grab to restore your newspaper count back to ten.

There will be many obstacles that will try to block your path. These obstacles will either have to be dodged, or will have to be hit with a newspaper to get them to stop chasing you. Some of the more natural hazards includes fences, dogs, remote controlled cars, and crazy skateboarders. The stranger obstacles consist of tornadoes and even the Grim Reaper! Crashing into one of these obstacles causes a loss of one of your ''lives,'' and, of course, a loss of all lives constitutes a game over.

At the end of each day, which consists of two streets of ten houses each, you get to try your hand at a small training course to practice and show off your bicycling and newspaper-flinging skills. Once this course ends, you'll be shown a report of the day. Any subscribers' houses that you damaged or failed to deliver to, will unsubscribe. But if you successfully delivered to all of the subscribers' homes without damaging them, a new subscriber will be added to the list. If you lose all of your subscribers, you consequently lose your job, which means the end of the game.

The controls to Paperboy are a little screwy. If you are very close to an obstacle, you sometimes can't tell whether or not you're going to crash into it. It sometimes looks as if you're going to crash into the obstacle, even though you don't, and it sometimes looks like you're not going to crash into an obstacle, even though you do. Aiming papers takes a little getting used to, but that's not much of a problem. One of the strangest control quirks is that the game is so sensitive to the START button, that you usually must keep the button held down in order to pause the game, as if that's really going to do any good.

The graphics of the game are rather bland. The grass is green, The road is black. Wow! The bicycle wheels look like they've been in one too many accidents. Many of the things are undetailed, the houses being the most detailed of them all. Very few colors are used, only utilizing half of what the system is capable of. Also, some objects which should be outlined aren't outlined, and some objects that shouldn't be outlined are unnecessarily outlined. You'll also notice that the three people in the bleachers at the end of the training course have no faces; one of them, due to the similarities between the color of his head and the color of the bleachers, looks as if he has no head. This town is scarier than I thought!

Only one song plays throughout the whole entire game. It's not much, but you must admit that the tune is rather catchy. It could probably use some extra volume, though. You must also give the company credit on their sound effects. They utilized digital effects to imitate the sound of breaking glass and crashing bicycles, and they do this wonderfully. My only complaint is that the effects will, many times, cut off the song for a second, but this isn't much to whine about.

But it is quite amazing how such a mundane chore can be turned into a fun experience. Seriously, the game is very fun to play, as you break windows and dodge the specter of death. A little practice will get you good at flinging your newspapers, and once you've gotten the hang of the game, it should be much easier to play, offering for a nice, average challenge. The initial thrill of Paperboy is pretty high, and so is the replay value, because the crazy antics are enough to keep you hooked.

Paperboy is one of those great games that takes something normal and twists it to fit into the wacky world of video games. Many people consider Paperboy to be a classic, with good reason to. It's a game that doesn't deserve to be missed out on. If you have yet to even played Paperboy, take advantage of the opportunity and find, or at least somehow try out, this game.


Story/Concept: 8/10
Gameplay: 8/10
Controls: 6/10
Graphics: 4/10
Music/Sound: 7/10
Challenge: Average
Thrill: 9/10
Replay: 7/10

Overall: 8/10


Why would the Grim Reaper care so much about obstructing the paperboy? I guess he wants his paper, and he wants it NOW!

But why would death want to read the newspaper, anyway? Maybe to see the obituaries...

royalranger's avatar
Community review by royalranger (Date unavailable)

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