Paperboy Parent Guide

Parent Movie Review

When I think about newspaper carriers, I think of employees in training… young people cultivating characteristics of responsibility, dedication, dependability, and hard work (impressive qualities where future employers are concerned). I think of the way paper carriers learn to handle stressful situations brought about by inclement weather, time limits, rude subscribers, and miserable dogs. But then I wonder… do I really appreciate all that my papergirl goes through just so I can read the sports page?

Paperboy by Midway Home Entertainment presents gamers with an opportunity to see the art of newspaper delivery through the eyes of a paperboy (or papergirl). The Daily Sun is in dire need of a new carrier (trust me, there’s a good reason the previous one quit), and your job is to deliver a certain number of papers within a specified time to all subscribers in a given neighborhood. Completion of this task within the allotted time adds new subscribers, and the process continues until you’ve gained enough customers to unlock other neighborhoods (levels).

Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? So does paper delivery in the real world… until you add some pressure. Throughout the game you are presented with various hurdles that make it difficult to complete your route in the required time—neighborhood curmudgeons knock you off your bike, cars run you over, vicious dogs think you look like their next meal, ghosts chase you, and the volcanic Mt. Kablooie is just waiting to blow chunks all over you (talk about extreme weather conditions). You’re not left defenseless however. Special power-ups assist in the evasion or destruction of these obstacles, and extra bundles of papers found along the way allow you to disable enemies by hitting them with today’s headlines. These and other extra-curricular activities (performing stunts on your bike, and breaking the windows of non-subscribers) will result in bonus points and/or extra time being awarded. But a special challenge awaits you at Dr. Tesla’s castle. It seems the good doctor is upset at being refused a job at The Daily Sun, and, since you got the job he was after, you’re going to suffer the consequences. You see, Tesla’s hobby is finding brain donors… and you just happen to have potential. (Parents should be aware that although violence is portrayed in a non-graphic manner, there are many occurrences at every level of the game).

Paperboy by Midway is the latest version of a game that got its start on the old Atari system. Unfortunately—other than having a three-dimensional perspective—the game’s simplistic polygonal graphics, sluggish controls, and annoying arcade-like music have this latest rendition looking and feeling as though it never left its original platform. Although this might satisfy some sentimental gamer who just happens to be in a major retro-mood, the vast majority may find the greatest challenge is playing for more than five minutes (my first hint was seeing that all three copies of the game were still available for rental, and the second was finding the instruction manual in mint condition).

There’s a possibility that pre-schoolers might enjoy the game, but that presents a bigger problem. Who would want their four-year-old to be taught employment and social skills by this Paperboy?