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The Game

Paperboy Arcade
Paperboy Arcade
Paperboy was released to arcades in 1984 by Atari Games. It featured a custom bicycle handle controller that the player would use to accelerate, brake, and turn the titular Paperboy's bicycle on screen. A button would cause him to throw his paper to the left, to either deliver the paper perfectly in a mailbox or doorstep, or for more destructive purposes.

There are three different courses on which you can deliver papers: Easy Street, Middle Road, and Hard Way. You score points for each paper successfully delivered to a subscriber, but also for breaking the windows or other household features of non-subscribers. Each run through the course would be a single day, with an entire game consisting of delivering Monday through Sunday. At the end of each day any subscribers that had a paper successfully delivered would give a bonus. Any subscribers missed on that day would unsubscribe for the following day. If you delivered perfectly to each house you would receive double points for each subscriber, and, unless at the max, get a formerly lost subscriber back.

Each day would get progressively harder, with even Easy Street being quite challenging by Thursday or Friday. The difficulty was ramped up by adding more obstacles, making the doorsteps and mailboxes harder to get at, and increasing the speed of cross traffic on the one intersection. Each run through a particular day is the same, however, so eventually the player can memorize the various patterns.

At the end of the street is the "Training Course", which is an obstacle course with targets, jumps, and static obstacles suitable for running up more points. At then end, a grandstand is filled with your cheering fans.

Danger Lurks
Danger Lurks


Static obstacles, such as low brick walls, mailboxes, bushes, garbage cans, push-mowers, fences, and the houses themselves cause you to immediately fall off your bicycle, losing a life. The player is forced to be moving forward at all times, and can only turn so quickly left or right, so it is easy to get in situations where the player just cannot move to the side quickly enough to avoid them.

Mobile obstacles, such as dogs, cars, drunks, men fighting, unicyclists, skeletons, RC cars, those evil, evil skateboarding kids, and more are a constant threat, popping up without much warning, crashing into you or forcing you into something else.


There have been many console and handheld versions of Paperboy, from the Commodore 64 and TRS-80 all the way to Xbox 360, Wii, and PS3.

Amazing Paperboy Delivers!
Amazing Paperboy Delivers!
If you're playing to complete a full week, focus on not dying at all until at least Thursday. Get as many points as you can to build up extra lives. Don't be afraid to ride on the lawns, although if you run over any of the flowers of your subscribers, they will promptly unsubscribe.

A good technique for crossing the busy intersection on Easy Street is to go forward, pause for the car rushing by, then go forward quickly.

The individual days don't vary, so memorization of enemy locations is key. It gets tricky, because you're on the same course and can find yourself on Monday avoiding an enemy that doesn't show up until Friday or forgetting to avoid something on Wednesday because you thought they weren't until later in the week. Memorization and twitch reflexes are the name of the game.