Who would have thought that a classic job that was killed by the Internet could make such a great video game?
Before everyone was logging on to their desktops or swiping on their screens for the latest news, paperboys filled the essential task of delivering daily news to most of the people in the developed world. Whether by bike or via car, newspaper delivery was a profession all of its own and, eventually, the subject of a 1985 arcade game from Atari Games.
A smash success upon release, the title would eventually see ports to today’s smartphones but is most fondly remembered for its arcade and NES versions. Atari, long the master of early arcade games, released Paperboy to widespread acclaim for its graphics, sound, and gameplay. Using the Atari System II arcade board, Paperboy was detailed and fast moving, a marked change from the more primitive offerings Atari put out in the past. Also one of the first games to feature a three-level difficult system, Paperboy is a very easy game to understand in concept but tough to master.
Consisting of jaunts down suburban roads, as the titular paperboy you have to deliver a week’s worth of papers without running into objects or failing to deliver the paper. In its mechanics it mirrors titles like Pac Man and Space Invaders in that it combines obstacle avoidance and projectile targeting in one game.
Paperboy Arcade Cabinet
Since the paperboy only needs to deliver the news to homes that have subscribed to the paper, part of the game’s difficulty comes from avoiding things coming your way while also correctly identifying subscriber’s houses and delivering the paper. In early arcade versions this was a bit easier than on some ports of the game as subscriber houses would typically be alight or featured brighter colours than the somewhat