Paperboy


by Steve Lamb, Tony Mack, Rory C. Green, JAF
Elite Systems Ltd
1986
Crash Issue 33, October 1986   (1986-09-25)   page(s) 18

In ELITE's conversion of the arcade game Paperboy it's up to you, as an all American skoolkid, to deliver the early morning newspapers fighting against fantastic odds. Negotiating your BMX bike around what seems to be a rather unsavoury neighbourhood, hazards have to be avoided - but lots of points are waiting to be won for accurate lobbing of newspapers.

Certain households on your round don't order the Daily Sun, the paper which you are so diligently trying to deliver. This is sad, but you can get your own back on these non-subscribers. Pedalling through the diagonally scrolling landscape, points can be collected bybunging a newsprint missile through a window on a house with a dark door - the occupants don't take the Sun. Well-aimed newspapers can result in broken window panes, chopped up tomb stones and ruffled dustbin lids, too. If you're feeling particularly vindictive then grannies can be zapped out of their bath-chairs as they take the morning air, boys can be knocked off their mopeds and flowers flattened.

Households that order the newspaper get special treatment - their newspapers must be accurately thrown so that they land in the mail box. Two hundred and fifty points are scored for each paper safely delivered. The papers in your delivery bag are displayed on a panel to the right of the screen, and extra ammo can be collected by cycling over the boxes of newsprint dotted around the pavements.

But there's more to being a paperboy than just chucking papers around the town. Careful cycling is called for to negotiate a variety of obstacles including dustbins, fire hydrants and garden ornaments. And then there's the people... old folk seem to walk into your path deliberately; workmen can't hear you because of their ear-plugs, and have to be avoided. Skateboarders can be fairly lethal as they scoot around at breakneck speed, and runaway tyres and exploding bombs also crop up from time to time. Contact with the nasties results in a crash and the loss of one of your five lives - as in the original, a scrolling message reminds you what a silly boy you have been...

Each day of the week, the paper round has to be attempted before paperboy can go out to play on the BMX track at the end of town. Bonus points can be collected for hitting targets dotted around the BMX course with a well-aimed newspaper.

At the end of the day's work the paper shop prepares a report on progress. For every paper wrongly delivered, a house cancels its orderand if too many of the houses cancel it's the sack! However, on subsequent rounds if all the papers are correctly delivered you win back one customer, but the game gets that little bit harder on subsequent days. It really is mean on these streets...

COMMENTS
Control keys: Q accelerate, A brake, O left, P right, N throw paper
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor, Interface 2
Keyboard play: fast and responsive
Use of colour: monochromatic, for the most part, so as to avoid clashes
Graphics: nice characters, with fair scrolling
Sound: tunes, with the usual spot effects
Skill levels: one
Screens: scrolling township


'Paperboy is one of the arcade games that just didn't appeal to me. ELITE, as usual, have done an excellent job of converting from the original - the game is quite pretty, and the action is generally fast and furious. The graphics are carefully detailed, scrolling smartly in 3D, and the characters are well animated. The colour is unfortunately in boring old blue 'n' black-o-vision with a little bit of magenta thrown to add a touch of colour clash. The sound is good, with lots of spot effects and a couple of tunettes. I didn't find this game as addictive or as playable as it should have been, but it certainly is worth a look if you enjoyed playing it in the arcades.'

'This game is well wicked. The graphics are a bit of a wimp-out on the part of ELITE, but the game has a strange amount of addictivity to it. Though losing a lot in comparison to the original arcade version, Paperboy offers a good deal in the way of long term entertainment. Things like the racetrack and the old grannies make the game all the more fun to play, and the level of frustration is just right. When a drunkard comes wobbling down the road and knocks you off your bike, the urge to try again is still there. Though not as good as the Ghosts and Goblins and Bombjack conversions, Paperboy is still a pretty good game, and worth the asking price.'

'Although the game doesn't contain lots of different things to do, Paperboy like most of the ELITE games, is fiendishly addictive - and once you've started there's no stopping. The graphics are extremely well drawn, and despite them all being very small, most of them are recognisable. I felt more use could have been made of the Spectrum colours. Control was quite hard to get used to at first, but after realising that you can't brake and turn at the same time, things became quite fluent. The presentation is quite bare, apart from the high-score table and the very well drawn front page of the Daily Sun. The sound was more informative than good. I'm sure that anyone buying Paperboy will play it for hours - but come away with the feeling 'not much to that!'

Use of Computer: 84%
Graphics: 86%
Playability: 89%
Getting Started: 91%
Addictive Qualities: 87%
Value for Money: 86%
Overall: 88%

Summary: General Rating: Another slick, playable conversion from Elite.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Crash Issue 70, November 1989   (1989-10-21)   page(s) 49

Hey, what's this, a simulation of my brother on a Sunday morning? Sorry no, this paper boy actually delivers the papers and doesn't lose the Sunday magazines! Yes this is a simulation of a paper round, but that doesn't mean the game is totally boring. You must ride your bike through the streets dodging cars, cats, remote controlled buggys trying to deliver the papers. The buildings smoothly scroll diagonally past in monochrome and you should deliver to the places displaying a Sun sign outside. If you fail to deliver their paper they'll cancel the subscription and you may lose your job. If you manage to get past the street you go on to a practice track where papers must be thrown at targets and ramps jumped to give extra points.

Graphically Paperboy is very good: the buildings, cars and main sprite are all faithful to the arcade machine and the animation is O.K. Unfortunately the game can get very frustrating when you fall off the kerb and get run down, or get set upon by a mad roadworker! Soundwise it's very 48K, so all you 128K owners had better not expect a masterpiece, but spot effects and various jingles keep you happy. Despite the odd annoying mishap Paperboy is playable and will keep you occupied for some time.


Overall: 67%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 11, November 1986   page(s) 30

Give me a paper boy who's real flesh and blood. The sort of hunk who roars off on his BMX bike, breaking windows and swerving into the path of an on-coming car, just to avoid the old granny with her walking frame. That's the one for me.

From out of the arcades and into your heart comes the Hells Angel of the morning round. This paper boy delivers daily.

This is the game with the fast-pedalling peril, tossing off The Times and Telegraph in an attempt to nix the news speed record. And there's points in them than periodicals for pranging the postbox of a subscriber or opening the windows of an unbeliever with a well-aimed edition. Ker-ashh! Let the Daily Sun shine in! The road to becoming Rupert Murdoch is a rocky one, and includes every obstacle under The... err... Mirrorm from rolling wheels to rogue C5's. And if you don't deliver enough news it's bad news for you as the subscribers start to subside and down goes your income.

But it's not all work for the BMX bandit, and at the end of a hard day's slog he may have time left for the dreaded assault course, running up ramps and leaping streams to ram the targets with the readables, Robin Hood-style. This is another opportunity to wheel up those points, then celebrate with a wheelie.

In gameplay terms, Paperboy calls for quick reactions and a good memory, as you balance pedal power with your ability to make that speedy swerve in the nick of time. Will you stick to the path or gamble on a trip to the gutter? Perhaps a path across somebody's prize petunias would solve the problem, but please watch out for the railings or you'll go Guardian over Express.

Inevitably, more and more obstacles appear as the week goes by, and part of the fun is finding out what lies in wait next time you cycle down those mean streets of suburbia. By making the main display mainly mono, Elite has avoided graphic problems, and the diagonal scroll is just dippy, giving you enough warning to manoeuvre your way past the hazards. The sprites are delightfully detailed for their size, too.

All in all, Elite does it again. It's another classic conversion, true to the original. In terms of playability, Paperboy really delivers.


Graphics: 9/10
Playability: 9/10
Value For Money: 9/10
Addictiveness: 8/10
Overall: 9/10

Award: Your Sinclair Megagame

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 48, December 1989   page(s) 31

Another huge Elite game of a few years back, although in this case I could never really see what all the fuss was about. As the paperboy you cycle through your neighbourhood (which conveniently takes the form of a very straight road, with houses on only one side) and deliver your papers by bunging them at the letterboxes (conveniently labelled 'SUN' - is that the paper they all take?). Get the paper in and you get 250 points - fail and the household will cancel its subscription. You need to avoid the sort of hazards that cassette inlay notes always describe as 'hilarious' - to whit, tramps, geezers on motorbikes, hydrants, cars, and anything else sprite shaped. There are also some hamper-shaped things to be picked up for extra points, and you can have fun by breaking windows of people who aren't your customers. Quite a wheeze, and indeed this game has sold over 100,000 copies worldwide on various formats. Nowadays, though, it does look a bit dated - after all, it's so old that on initial release there was even an Electron version. Quite neatly put together, but overrated.


Overall: 68%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Crash - Run It Again Issue 47, December 1987   (1987-11-26)   page(s) 103

88% Issue 33

MIKE: Hot form the arcades, Paperboy landed on our doorstep in late 86: a wicked little game making the eponymous player avoid all the evil objects thrown in his path in the quest to deliver papers to the houses in a street. It's playable (and quite fast), and offers a good deal of addictivity. A neat conversion from an even better arcade original.
89%

DOMINIC: One of Elite's best-ever arcade conversions. Smash those windows, run over annoying kids and knock the lids off dustbins, all in the comfort of your own home.
90%


Overall (Mike Dunn): 89%
Overall (Dominic Handy): 90%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 55, October 1986   page(s) 45

Paperboy was one of the licensing deals, the game was and is, a cult hit in the arcades and the first home computer versions were eagerly awaited. Now this tribute to teenage free enterprise in mid-America has arrived on the Spectrum from Elite and guess what? it's not bad at all.

When you come to think about it, there really isn't anything very special about the gameplay in Paperboy. The game idea is nifty enough, but in the end you aim copies of the paper (which appears to be called the Sun) at letterboxes and swerve your bicycle left and right to avoid obstacles, it could as easily be laser beams, enemy spaceships and battle cruisers. What made the arcade game so special was the quality of the graphics and the great soundtrack, well, loud soundtrack anyway. I had my doubts about how the special qualities of the original would translate to the Spectrum but actually I think Elite has produced its best conversion yet.

The plot of the arcade game has been retained in its entirety - the street designs seem to be almost the same. The idea is to steer your bike along the twisting pavement in front of a row of timber style houses (where the everyday folks live in the American midwest). You have essentially two delivery objectives - get the paper into the letter box of those people who have ordered it (as indicated by a signpost in front of their house), and use the papers as projectiles to smash the windows of those who haven't yet decided to subscribe. I have been asked to stressed at this point that EMAP Central Control was never engaged in such practices to sell any computer magazines or other publications, and anyway we were all somewhere else at the time.

The game could so easily have been one of those flickery sprite jobs, where the garishness of the constantly changing colours is only excelled by the jerkiness of the scrolling. However the programming on Paperboy is way beyond that - the scrolling of the street is very smooth indeed and as for colour clash well, the whole this is in two colours.

The graphics are nicely detailed, if blue. I particularly liked the bonus assault course at the end of the run and the go-cart which drives across your path.

Winning in the game is a matter of combining precision paper throwing with avoidance of casual bystanders, cars, giant tyres - the usual stuff. As a Spectrum conversion, the game inevitably lacks some of what made the original great (like sound) nevertheless I don't think those who buy this on the strength of the original will feel cheated - it's as good a conversion as could reasonably be expected.

Label: Elite
Price: £7.95
Joystick: various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Graham Taylor

*****


Overall: 5/5

Summary: Excellent conversion. Inevitable hardware restrictions make the game less 'special' but good fun.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 92, November 1989   page(s) 40

Grab your old bike out of the garage and step up a few gears to enter into the working week of Paperboy, the venerable oldie from Elite, re-released under their Encore label. All you have to do is to deliver papers on each day of week to your newsagent's subscribers.

Easy peesey eh? Well... Not quite. There's all sorts of obstacles standing between you and a job well done and the only defense you have is a pair of very dodgy brakes and your own fair hands on the handle bars of your bike.

You must make way along the round, carefully avoiding any pedestrians, cars, moggies, drunks, lawnmowers and of course, brick walls and make sure the news hits the street. Each house on a round that is expecting a delivery is marked by a little sign outside their front door. This is pretty convenient, especially as in most American suburbs you fling a paper at their front door and peddle merrily on. Some of the obstructions can be batted out of the way by pitching a rolled up copy of something heavy at them. (Probably the Sunday Times), for which you will score extra points.

You can't have paperboys without some way for them cause a little mischief. You can score points for smashing the windows of people who don't have newspapers from you - a real touch of the Robert Maxwell's here I think, and if you knock the lids off dustbins then the annoyance value of that is worth a few more points. Extra newspapers can be picked up as you go along so that you have a few spare to throw at the odd passer by.

Once at the end of the round you take a short cut through the park and treat yourself to a bit of stunt cycling. after all, which paperboy worth their weight in Daily Mirrors wouldn't practice a few jumps on the way home? You can even increase your score by using any left over papers to throw at the convenient targets. Once through the park your trials for the day are over and there is a breakdown of how you've fared. Cancellations will blink on the map of your round and if there are too many I'm afraid it's on yer bike pal. If it's okay and you've managed to get papers to most of the customers then it's on to the next day's work.

It's all very exciting indeed isn't it! isn't it?

Paperboy was a big hit in it's time but I feel that it is not a game that has weathered well and this iparticular re-Incarnation could have been better placed.

The graphics are adequate, as is the game itself but diagonally scrolling games have had their day since The Eidolon and Rescue on Fractalus showed how to do a 3D effect without turning the game through 45 degrees. Paperboy would be okay today as a budget game so it would seem ideally suited to a budget label. But then there are original budget games like Spooked for the same price that offer much, much better value for your money.

Label: Encore
Author: In House
Price: £2.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Garth Sumpter


Graphics: 74%
Sound: 78%
Playability: 80%
Lastability: 70%
Overall: 74%

Summary: An old monster hit looking a little old.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

ACE Issue 26, November 1989   page(s) 115

Encore, £2.99
Spectrum, C64. Amstrad

This Atari coin-op became Elite's biggest ever hit in the Winter of '86 and is software proof of the fact that a paperboy's job is a tough one. Hop on your chopper bike fitted with a basket and get those papers delivered. If this sounds tame, bear in mind that in the States it is acceptable for paperboys to sling the papers into the porches without dismounting. This speeds things up a bit but it's still no pushover with hazards that include cars, workmen, drunkards, and kamikaze lawnmowers out to cripple you. Bonus points can be earned by lobbing the papers through the windows of non-subscribers. Maybe ACE should try this. Several levels, and extremely well executed graphics on 8-bit formats make for a budget classic worth two pints of anyone's money.


Overall: 5/5

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Computer & Videogames Issue 60, October 1986   page(s) 22,23

MACHINE: Spectrum
SUPPLIER: Elite
PRICE: £9.95

On yer bike! It's time to deliver the papers. Look, I know it's six o'clock in the morning, it's pouring with rain and Mr Jones' Alsatian is bound to be lurking behind the hedge again. But if you want the cash to buy Elite's latest arcade conversion then you're just going to have to get with it!

And you are going to want this game. No doubt about it. Paper Boy is slick arcade action at its best. And the really great thing about it is that you can more or less play at your own speed.

If you're an experienced player you can zap through the Paper Boy's week at express speed. But if you're a beginner - or a Telegraph reader who likes to take things a bit more slowly - then the game allows for you too. And it's so simple to learn that even a Sun reader can cope with it.

You earn points by correctly delivering your papers to the people who've ordered them. You can tell by the little post boxes with Sun written on them outside the house. Some silly people don't want your papers - but you can lean on them by slinging the odd spare paper through their windows and souring bonus points at the same time!

More bonuses cart be scored by hitting dustbin lids off, getting papers in the bird baths, zapping hazards with a well aimed paper and, of course, completing the BMX course which appears at the end of your daily run.

At the end of each "day" your newsagent presents you with a of your progress. Some people may have cancelled their subscriptions because you failed to deliver properly, but on a good day someone may have been "persuaded" by your window breaking activities to actually reorder their paper. You win some, you lose some.

Beware of different hazards as you progress through the "days" and work out what you can ride around or over to avoid things. You can ride over flower beds and lawns - the flowers actually crumple as your bike bounces over the flowerbeds.

Don't go blasting away with your papers - even though you get additional supplies at various points, it is possible to run out at crucial moments.

Paper Boy is extremely playable, very addictive and incredibly easy to get into. What more could you ask for? A well crucial addition to your games collection.

Paper Boy is on its way for the 64, Amstrad and BBC soon.


Graphics: 8/10
Sound: 7/10
Value: 9/10
Playability: 10/10

Award: C+VG Hit

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Computer & Videogames Issue 97, December 1989   page(s) 96

Encore
C64/Spectrum £1.99

Jump on your BMX bike and pedal up the street on your week-long paper round, avoiding hazards including burglars, drunks, stray dogs, radio-controlled cars, speeding traffic and rollaway spare tyres. Each of your subscribers must have their paper delivered. If they don't get it they'll stop their order. Annoy non-subscribers (and receive valuable bonus points) for smashing their windows and garden ornaments with a deftly-hurled newspaper. At the end of each diagonally-scrolling street is a BMX stunt course where you can rack up the points by throwing spare newspapers at the path-side targets. Don't worry if you run out of papers though; extra bundles are available at regular intervals.

We loved Paperboy when it hit the arcades; we were marginally impressed when the computer game arrived and now we're jumping for joy at its new 1.99 price tag. As playable as ever, with clear, albeit monochrome, graphics and accurate gameplay, if you missed the game first time round snap it up now - you never know, it may even improve your paper-chucking skills!


Overall: 83%

Summary: As enjoyable as it was when it first hit the streets and, at 1.99, it should warm your heart after you've finished a cold paper round.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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