Who didn’t play this game? For its time, Paperboy was a blockbuster title. Originally released in arcades in the Devo-induced haze of 1984, this one was ported to so many other platforms for one simple reason: the game was wicked.
Yeah, the premise sounds boring, let’s face facts. Who would want to pump quarters into a game where you had to deliver newspapers? Half of the kids who were spending said quarters likely earned them delivering newspapers. But like so many titles back then, it had to be played to be appreciated. Kids realized quickly that hucking newspapers at all sorts of destructible objects, pissy neighbours, and ghosts was well worth their hard-earned cash.
Although laying waste to the (inexplicably) gothic, satanic-looking homes of the unsubscribers was a laugh, it was somehow more satisfying when you did a good job. If you had to hop a curb to avoid some whack motorist and managed to launch a paper into a target mailbox dead on, you felt like a king.
The game was unpredictable, and there were consequences to your mistakes, since subscribers could easily become former customers if you hit the guy mowing his lawn instead of hitting his porch. It was a fresh idea at the time.
And when you managed to survive to the end of the level you were rewarded with what every 12-year-old kid wants to hit on his 10-speed: an obstacle course.
Talk about vicarious.
— Paul Warford