Title           Paperboy
Game Type	General Action
Players		1
Compatibility	Kickstart 1.3 required, no major CPU problems
Company		Elite Systems
Submission	Matthew Garrett

Paperboy? Pestilence boy, more like.

For some utterly bizarre reason, it often seems like everyone in the
world has heard of Paperboy. And, often, I've attributed that to one
thing. Some quiz program that used to be on BBC 1 at 5:40. (This was
before Neighbours appeared, obviously.) I can't remember what it was
called, which is a pretty telling statement as to its quality. Once
the contestants had answered a certain number of questions, they had a
bonus round. This consisted of one of two things. Either some
joystick-waggling sports game (Summer Olympics from Epyx, possibly),


For an even more bizarre reason, this game was held to be "Family
entertainment". Obviously, whoever was responsible for this idea had a
great sense of irony.

Because Paperboy isn't "Family entertainment". It was the late 80's
equivalent of GTA. For perpetrating various acts of immorality, you
would gain bonus points.

"But Matthew!" I hear you cry in a tediously overused comic device.
(Anyone who's got a better idea, please feel free to share it with
me.) "Paperboy is a cute game consisting merely of a paperboy
attempting to earn an honest living by delivering papers!"

You're so utterly, truly and horribly wrong it hurts. You've obviously
never played Paperboy before, or you were 7 years old the last time
you did.

True, in Paperboy you control a paperboy. You have papers to deliver.
You score points for delivering the papers. But, my friends, that is
where the similarity ends.

You see, each level in Paperboy consists of two parts. In the first,
you cycle along the street, avoiding obstacles and hurling newspapers
with gusto. At the end of the street, you enter an assault course type
section. You now have targets to aim at, while attempting to reach the
end of the course before the end of the time limit.

The time limit? Odd, you may think. Up to now, no time limit had been

Indeed, there is no time limit for the main section of the level. It
matters not how long you take to complete the delivery of the papers.
You could just crawl along at the lowest speed possible. The time
limit applies only to the assault course section, and is dependent
upon your performance in the previous section.

"Ah!" you cry. (Obviously nobody's written to me yet. Tch.) "So, the
more papers you deliver to their owners, the more time you have?"

Again, you're wrong. What are you, stupid or something? Or what?

To gain extra time for the bonus section, you have to hit various
things with your papers. Such as people. Windows. Gravestones.

Yes, gravestones. For every gravestone you desecrate with your
newspapers, you gain more time for the bonus section.

Family entertainment? Tch.

There's only one possible explanation that I can think of for this.
Paperboy was originally destined to be an adult adventure, exploring
the depths of morality. Through performing various immoral acts, you
would gradually discover the true meaning of happiness and therefore
not have to go out and really kill someone.

"Oh no!" shouted the management at Epyx. "We can't possibly have this!
We're a publisher of family entertainment. Do something with this game
at once."

"Drat." thought the programmers. "We're going to have to rewrite the
whole thing."

"Hang on a mo," said the graphics person. "Why don't we just change
the graphics? Nobody would ever suspect a paperboy as being a
harbringer of evil, would they? The demons could be changed into
lawnmowers, the fallen angels could be replaced with remote control
cars, and Satan himself can be a mad car driver."

And so we have it. What other explanation could there be?

But let's ignore that. Pretend, for a moment, that Paperboy was
released in its original intended form. Probably with some mutilated
Latin name, or something. It's an admirable idea. But, despite this, I
would like to see everyone involved in its production die horribly.

Paperboy, to be frank, is a staggeringly poor game. The collision
detection is so utterly dire that you can move through some objects
without a care in the world, and yet a remote control car clearly
passing more than a metre away from you somehow manages to make you
crash. Clearly some form of advanced defence system for suburban

And it's horribly unrealistic. You gain extra newspapers by picking
them up off the pavement. Meaning that they've already been delivered
to within 10 metres of their destination, and yet a paperboy is sent
to carry them the rest of the way. People wait outside their front
door until you appear, and then run straight at you. Car tyres bounce
around randomly (Obviously evidence of a horrific car crash in a
parallel dimension and a weak spot in the fabric of space-time) and it
is sometimes impossible to avoid a collision.

"Of course it is Matthew", you cry once more. (Someone? Please?)
"Where would the challenge be otherwise?"

Let me explain. Brake as hard as you can while still some distance
from an obstacle. You will slow to a crawl, still a good distance
away. But there's no way you're going to get around it. Try as you
might, the paperboy will crash into the wall at low speed, instead of
stopping, moving his bike and continuing. Or simple turning harder.
The clot.

And I haven't even begun to mention the dire music (Worse than Maxis
at their worst. Believe me.), awful graphics (That's a bike?) and
distinct lack of enjoyment (That's a game?).

Look, I'll come to the point. Paperboy is crap. It is entirely
unworthy of existence. It should never have been created. Never. Ever.

Of course, there's the last-gasp redeeming features. Hnngh. This is a
tough one.

Ah, yes. There's the bit where the amusingly fat American jogs in
front of you unless you knock him over with a newspaper (A newspaper?
Against an immovable object? I think not.). And the collision detection is
great for causing people to collapse into fits of laughter if you're
distinctly lacking in a sense of humour. And... no. I give up. Sorry.

So, Paperboy. The best things about it are a collision detection
routine worse than F 29's and a poorly drawn sprite of a fat person.
That about sums it up, really...

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