Paperboy – Mindscape (1988)

Who thought your childhood paper route could have been this fun? Paperboy was just the game to bring some fun to the monotony of delivering papers to all of the people on your street. In my case it gave me a much more exciting experience than real life did, since I lived in an area where there were no paper routes, too far out of the city you could say. In any event, this game helped me to pass many an hour during my childhood.

The premise of this game was pretty straightforward. You had to deliver your newspapers to everyone that had a subscription on your street. You start of on Monday and need to work your way to Sunday. Now this sounds pretty simple. Simple until you find out that you have dogs chasing you, old ladies chasing you with butcher knives, radio controlled cars trying to get you to crash on them and many more things to disrupt you and cause you to crash so that you can’t deliver the newspapers to your customers.

Now you get three lives or chances to make it through the week and if you crash three times, you get fired. Actually you see a newspaper front page that say’s the paperboy retires, so I guess even then they were trying to put a positive spin on things. Instead of getting fired like in the real world, you get to respectfully retire, now isn’t that just nice of them. I know I sound pretty down on this game, but there are some things that just need to be picked at I think. At the beginning of each day you are shown a map of the street you deliver to. It shows you where the customer’s with subscriptions live so that you can see where to deliver the papers. These are represented with little white houses that look like they are from monopoly. Next it shows you the Non-subscription people in the neighborhood; these are shown as little red houses. From there it moves on to the day’s work and it is now time for you to hit the streets. You will be able to easily see who you have to deliver to because your customers have houses that are a variety of different colors and the non customers have red houses. Your character will automatically move forward up the street; however you can control if he moves faster by pressing up on the controller and you can do a limited brake by pressing down on the controller. The only other buttons left are the A and B button and they both do the same thing, toss papers to the houses. You have to be careful when you throw them because you can break windows or just plain miss the house. If you are good you can throw the paper right into the little mailbox and get more points, but if you don’t want to risk it you can usually just hit right by the door somewhere and you will here a little sound to let you know you hit the right spot. If you fail to deliver the paper to one of your customers, they will cancel their subscription, so you need to be accurate. If you have no customers do deliver to, you will be forced into that early retirement again. Also if you have a perfect run on the street and are able to successfully deliver to all of your customers, you will get one customer per day that will actually re-subscribe. At the end of each day you also get to run through a fun little training course, which if you complete it, will give you a nice bunch of bonus points.

There are just a couple of other things about this game I should mention. First off you do not have unlimited papers. You need to pick them up out of people’s yards and driveways as you go. That can sometimes be tricky because you need to navigate successfully around fences, trees and even tombstones. Yeah I know, this sounds like one crazy, ghetto place to live. They bury their dead in their yards, tornado’s chase you and even the grim reaper steps out to try to collect you, I think I would just say screw the paper route and move away from there as soon as I could! The other fun part of this game is that you get points from trashing the non-subscriber’s houses and property. You can earn points from busting out their windows, knocking over trees and tombstones, breaking yard decorations and more. With all of the stress of this paper route, it is nice to be able to let out a little aggression and get points for doing it.

That is pretty much all this game is about, pretty straightforward concept and really there isn’t all that much to say about it. It is fun to play for a while and see if you can make it through the week, but after a while it gets a little boring since there is really no level variation from day to day, with the exception of a few different ways you can crash your bicycle. I won’t tell you what the ending is, but I will say that it is a bit anti-climactic. If you want a game to just pop in and enjoy for an hour or so, I would highly recommend Paperboy. If you are looking for a game with a little more meat to it I would say that you probably will want to look elsewhere, but even so, you may want to at least give this one a play and make up your own mind. Well, got to go. It’s time to start my route for the day! If you do the same, just watch out for the dogs and tornado’s and have a good time.

Reviewed by Jason

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