Paperboy. Mindscape (1988) Nintendo

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paperboy

Paperboy is part of gaming history, so it has to be good right?

(Apologies in advance for what I am going to write.)

Paperboy isn’t a very good game. I didn’t specially like it in the late 80’s early 90’s but I do remember it fondly. However, playing it again brought back a lot of unpleasant memories. Maybe the arcade was good, or another version. But the PAL NES version of Paperboy is fucking ass.

Aim of the game

This is pretty simple, you ride your bike down one straight road, and deliver papers to the correct houses on your route.

Non-NES screenshot.

Non-NES screenshot.

On your route you will have several obstacles to avoid. Trees, fences, dogs, the child from The Oman/The Shining, Death himself, cars, Stephen King’s IT, a hurricane, psycho red haired woman, renegade lawnmowers, possessed wheels, skateboarders, and amongst other thingsTl of these combine to create a clusterfuck of next to impossible to avoid obstacles. They are often placed next to the post box on delivery houses, so failure is guaranteed for all but the truly skilled.

If you miss a house on your route, they will unsubscribe (a little unfair), if you smash their window, they’ll unsubscribe (pretty fair).

Do a perfect delivery and you’ll pick up subscribers (doesn’t happen often).

NES Version?

Well, there is only one street. No medium street or hard street. As a result, they have given you easy street, with extra obstacles. So it is a pretty basic version of the arcade, or other home console versions.

The game itself?

Paperboy on the NES is pretty hard, and the main issue is with your hit box. If you don’t go through the middle of the paper pick ups, you’ll miss them. But at the same time, if you’re not 5-10 pixels away from an obstacle, you’ll get hit buy it.

See how much I am in it? I missed this pick up!!!

See how much I am in it? I missed this pick up!!!

Passing objects is horrible, unless I really have to, I will pass every object on the right. Passing on the left has serious hitbox issues. This is worst on the fences, but other obstacles can be an issue.

Image borrowed from http://8bitsht.wordpress.com/

Image borrowed from http://8bitsht.wordpress.com/

I… ABSOLUTLY… HATE… THIS… F’ING… DOG!

He is a homing missile of hate. Pass him on the right, and you can bean him in the face with a paper

By Tuesday, I tend to get hurricane and dog combo, meaning right of screen is death by hurricane, left side is death by dog.

Next, when you get knocked off your bike and respawn, you appear 5-20 meters further down the road. If you’re ANYWHERE near a delivery house, you’ll respawn after it. If it is a normal house, you’ll appear 5 meters or so away. This is deeply unfair, and very frustrating, as you not only lose a life, but you miss a house, and therefore lose a subscription.

My other major concern is the aiming of the paper. There is something slightly off with the aim, I know speed and your angle will make a difference in the direction the paper will go, but throwing from the same spot, at the same speed, will result in different outcomes, even on early levels.

This is the Sprite sheet. It is shit.

This is the Sprite sheet. It is shit.

There is fun to be had

I stopped having fun pretty quickly playing Paperboy. But I did start to find my own fun. Going out of my way to bean the dog in the face is one of them. Riding up to non-subscribers, and potting their window, and screaming “PAPERS HERE” (and waking up the neighbours in real life) is also quite fun.

The obstacle course is ok, but on this NES version, the route doesn’t change like in others ports. This means the point multiplier doesn’t ramp up in the same way for those high-score hunters amongst you. But regardless of this, the obstacle course is the highlight of the level. You get 45 seconds to complete it (takes 20-30 regardles), and you practice your aiming, and riding skills. It is fun, but a little broken on this version.

Overall

3 issues I mention make this almost unplayable for me (Hit detection/lack of streets/respawn location), the other issues, are bug bears, and I can cope with them. But those 3 make this game unpleasant to play. I honestly couldn’t recommend you play this game.

Pros: Beaning the dog in the face, PAPERS HERE

Cons: No voiceover, or extra sounds. the dog… It’s shit

40%

I would say go play Paperboy 2, and read EURYLADE REVIEW of Paperboy 2.

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