Dateline : 26th November 2011


RetroBear never had a paper round when he was little. It wasn’t the fact he couldn’t wake up early enough, nor was it the fact that he didn’t think he could handle it. No it was more down to the fact that he really couldn’t be bothered……


Don't you just love games that do exactly what they say on the title screen ?

If, like me, you were an avid tea time follower of the game show First Class when you were a child then that would have been probably the first time you saw such NES games as 720 and Hyper Sports. This quiz programme, played by slightly older children than I was at the time, was mostly forgettable except some bright spark at the BBC had the idea of including a video game section. After all, video games were just beginning to catch on again and what better way to get them out and exposed than on national television ?


One other game that was heavily featured was Paperboy, and this seemed rather more fun than the others. By this time the arcade version had been around for a couple of years, so if you knew your arcade games then you’d know all about this game. Just to make sure that it was etched in the memory, the arcade cabinet had handlebars attached to it for a more authentic feel. The object of the game was to ride your bike up the street, firing newspapers at houses. You would have a set number of papers to deliver to the right houses, whilst new subscribers could be gained. Depending on how well you did at the end of the day determined how many more or less houses wanted your paper.


Pick up the bundle of paper, avoid the kid on the go-kart who is going to drive at you and fire your newspaper into the mailbox - not much to do then in this one....


Along the way there were a whole manner of obstacles to avoid – stray remote controlled cars, dogs running off their leash, breakdancers (yes this was the mid 1980’s remember), joggers, people on bikes and when you came to a road crossing, cars. Along the way you could collect bundles of newspapers to replenish your dwindling resources. If you weren’t careful or accurate with your aim, you could break people’s windows, which was not a good idea if you were aiming for their letterbox. Complete your street and you’d be able to attack the assault course at the end, firing your spare newspapers at targets whilst going over speed and water jumps.


Paperboy was converted to just about every system imaginable back in the day and by 1991 the final versions for Game Gear and Mega Drive came out. The Master System version was released in 1990 and I am not playing it for any reason other than it was there. It’s the only version I have, to my knowledge. It’s a very colourful and faithful representation of the arcade original, although as with a lot of Master System games the music is horrendous. One of the problems the game had was just how hard it could be. You had to keep a constant speed up, especially on the bonus assault course at the end. If you went too slow you’d end up crashing or not making the jumps. You also had to time your passage past obstacles because if they moved quicker than you, you had no chance.


Always something going on in this game - you have to keep your eyes peeled, your speed up and your papers delivered otherwise its off to the job centre


It’s a very fun game and definitely worth digging out if you have a copy. There was even a sequel which was only for home computers instead of an arcade follow up release. If you have an XBOX 360, mobile phone or I-Pad then you can also get versions of it for those. It’s a very widely available game. 25 years on from it’s original release, Paperboy can still cut it.


VERDICT : This is a news flash – play Paperboy, it’s jolly good fun.


NOTES : Wow – a penny under £7.00 will net you a complete copy from Amazon, whilst the same deal on eBay will set you back £3.95


UP NEXT : One of my fave C64 games becomes an NES disaster – Commando.