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Video Game / Paperboy

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"One less customer..."

A video game series where you play as a paperboy (or papergirl, in some games) who delivers newspapers to a local neighborhood for the Daily Sun ("The World's most throwable newspaper").

In this neighborhood, even on Easy Street... everything is trying to kill you.

The result is a hilarious Nintendo Hard game that is also effectively a Rail Shooter, even if it doesn't look much like one.

There was also a Super Nintendo game called Super Paperboy.


Paperboy provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Badass: In Super Paperboy, your character is a lot more extreme. They even destroy an alien spaceship at the end of the game just by throwing a newspaper at it.
  • Angry Guard Dog:
    • Break the window of a house where a dog lives, and he'll start barking furiously and chase after you.
    • In a similar vein, there may be a man outside one of the houses, and if you break a window, he'll start chasing after you in anger.
  • Announcer Chatter: The game has an announcer, and the Paperboy himself will also comment on his own successes and failures.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: It is impossible to lose by losing all your customers on Easy Street—if you run out, another one will just subscribe.
  • Bee Afraid: Bees will start chasing you if you travel too slowly.
  • Blah Blah Blah: Used as filler text in the newspaper screens.
  • Advertisement:
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Both the Paperboy and the announcer sometimes make comments aimed directly at the player.
  • Cats Are Mean: They're just as bad as the dogs.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Subscribers' homes are bright and colorful, while non-subscribers' homes are ominous and dark.
  • Convenient Color Change: Speaking of the above, the homeowners sure repaint their houses fast!
  • Deadpan Snarker: The title character.
    (run over by a Hearse) "Looking for a passenger?"
  • Does Not Like Shoes: In the N64 version, there's a young woman who walks around the neighborhood in her bare feet.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: To get the Golden Ending, you have to survive all seven days of the work week while still having at least one customer. What happens? You're treated to a final headline: CONGRATULATIONS PAPERBOY! with the Paperboy holding up a Golden Trophy instead of a newspaper. The smaller bylines add "New Hero Idolized by Young and Old," "Considers Invitation to the White House," and "He's Totally Awesome!"
    • Paperboy 2 takes it up a few notches: Survive a week's deliveries each on "Easy Street," "Middle Road" AND "Hard Way" and the final Sunday Headline is "PAPERBOY WINS BIG!" The picture is of the Paperboy receiving the Golden Trophy from the Mayor and his secretary while the Satisfied Policeman is with them and two others.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Or at least trying to make you crash. Cars pulling in and out of driveways, kids on tricycles, construction workers, small RC cars, cats that jump out in front of you at the last second...
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: ...kinda.
  • Fan Film: Paperboy 3: The Hard Way, a Roaring Rampage of Revenge story presented in the style of a B-movie/grindhouse trailer.
  • Flawless Victory: Deliver the papers perfectly to ALL your paying subscribers, and you're entitled to DOUBLE VALUE for each when determining "Subscriber" bonus in the original game.
    • Paperboy 2 gives you an extra life if you deliver to all your customers on a day AND did not have anyone cancel their subscription earlier (otherwise you get a customer to resubscribe for a perfect day of deliveries).
  • Game Over:
    • Lose all your lives and the front-page story on the next newspaper is "Paperboy Calls It Quits!", with accompanying articles bearing similarly-themed headlines ("Accused of negligence, vandalism", "Daily Sun now hiring").
    • Lose all your subscribers and you get the same thing, albeit with the headline "Paperboy Fired!"
  • General Gaming Gamepads: Specialized; the original arcade game used an analog controller shaped like bicycle handlebars that was like an odd mix of steering wheel and flight stick, except that tilting the handles adjusted speed instead of elevation.
  • The Grim Reaper: Funeral homes seem to be his favorite hangout.
  • "Have a Nice Day" Smile: Some of the houses have these painted on them. Hit one with a paper, and it changes to a frown.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: "Easy Street", "Medium Road", and "Hard Way".
  • Ill-Fated Flowerbed: You can ride over flowerbeds, destroying them.
  • Isometric Projection
  • Minus World: There is a Good Bad Bug in the version 1 ROM of the coin-op game. After playing the training/obstacle course, exiting at the exact right edge of the fence instead of across the finish line, starts an inverse video rerun of the training course, with insane point values. While a typical high score for the entire game might be 60,000, a few plays on the inverse training course alone can rack up over a billion points. Here's a video.
  • Nintendo Hard
    • Difficulty Spike: Instead of choosing your difficulty in Paperboy 2 for seven days, you start on "Easy Street." Make it through seven days, you then work "Middle Road" as your next route. Do well on "Middle Road" for seven days, your final route is "Hard Way." They note this with the first headline before you start "Middle Road" or "Hard Way" being "Paperboy Promoted"
  • Nobody Here but Us Statues: One house owner paints himself white, stands among the tombstones and fountains, and then runs at you. He's a little too white, which also makes this character a Conspicuously Light Patch.
  • Nonstandard Game Over: Lose all your subscribers and it's Game Over, regardless of your lives. (In which case the newspaper headline is "Paperboy Fired!" instead of "Paperboy Calls It Quits!".
  • Older Than the NES: Almost, but not quite. The original arcade version was developed and released by Atari in 1984, one year after the Japanese debut of the Famicom, but one year before the North American debut of the NES. The NES version was one of the first NES games developed in the United States (with only a few of Tengen's games preceding it) and coincidentally, the Sega Master System version represented the first SMS game developed in the United Kingdom
  • Police are Useless: Combined with Apathetic Citizens and Played for Laughs. "Mysterious Vandalism Baffles Police, Residents." This headline refers to the vandalism committed with your paperboy's newspapers, at the time of your paperboy's deliveries, in front of dozens of witnesses in broad daylight.
    • Paperboy 2 plays with this, though if the thrown paper stops a runaway baby carriage or knocks out a thief/burglar or graffiti sprayer, the next headlines are "Boy Stops Breakaway Baby!", "Hero Paperboy Stops Thief!", or "Graffiti Guy a Goner!" We see a grateful policeman pulling the Paperboy to the side for the front-page picture and some candy (as he'd been helped by the Paperboy). One other thing the Paperboy could run across is a suspect fleeing a cop, and the Paperboy can throw the paper to stun the suspect enough to be captured.
  • Rail Shooter
  • Rewarding Vandalism: Defacing the homes of non-subscribers earns you points. Doing the same to your customers makes them cancel their subscription.
  • Shame If Something Happened: More like Shame If More Things Happened; non-subscribers will become subscribers, but only if you do enough damage to their homes.
  • Sheet of Glass: In the second game.
  • Shout-Out: In the original arcade version, one of the comments the Paperboy makes when he throws a paper in a mailbox is, "Now you have a friend in the paper business." This references American jewelry retailer The Shane Company, whose commercial slogan is "Now you have a friend in the diamond business." Also, there is a street sign on Middle Way that shows Pac-Man crossed out by a red "No" symbol.
  • Stalked by the Bell: If you ride too slowly along your paper route, a swarm of killer bees starts chasing you. (These bees later reappeared in the skateboarding video game 720, accompanied by the ominous mandate "SKATE OR DIE!")
  • Suddenly Harmful Harmless Object: Some house owners will remain part of the background until you damage their home, at which point they chase you.
  • Symbol Swearing: "%#@*!" if you collide with a stationary level hazard (like a house sign or storm drain).note 
  • This Loser Is You: Both Game Over screens.
    "Accused of negligence, vandalism"
    "Daily Sun subscription rate plummets"
    "'He was a real loser!'"
    "'Worst ever!' claim irate customers"
    "Daily Sun now hiring"
    • And that's just the original arcade version.
  • Totally Radical: If one of the papers hits a mailbox, he will sometimes say "That's rad!".
  • Videogame Cruelty Punishment: Your customers will cancel their subscription if you break their windows more than once or bike over their flowers. However, if you do enough damage to non-subscribers' houses, they'll become subscribers.
  • Worst News Judgement Ever:
    • Your progress is shown on the front page of newspapers, which raises the question of why anyone subscribes to such a publication in the first place.
    • Played with in the second game, where the next day's front page news is usually related to some incident or another you caused (good or bad).


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