Atari - 1984
Machine: Arcade, and many others
Genre: Vehicle Shooter, Driving
Previously, videogames tended to concentrate on things like spaceships, nuclear annihilation and tanks... Atari had the inspired idea just to make a videogame about something that everyone was familiar with... Newspaper delivery. Admittedly this was AMERICAN newspaper delivery, so it's incredibly dangerous and exciting... but this is part of the fun...
You have to cycle along the road and deliver (throw) your newspapers to those houses that are on your round... if you manage to make it to the end of the road without any mishaps you get extra points for all of the satisfied customers... you also get to go on a special practice course, to help you notch up a few more points. All of those houses that you failed to deliver to, well, they just cancel their subscriptions which means less points available for the next day... it's a really straightforward game. It's colourful and fun, with lots of nice touches that you would expect from Atari. Certainly, I think that this game was one of the first games that started to resemble the modern video game that we are more familiar with... It had difficulty levels, bonus stages (that were fun) and it was a big, self contained world. Who knew why that man has decided to break-dance in the middle of the street? Why does that child try and make his remote control car smash into your bike? Paperboy even has (gasp!) a synthesised voice that shouts insults at you and generally gees you along. The voice does sound a bit like Stephen Hawking, but this was 1983... I say that Stephen Hawking based his voice on Paperboy, dammit.
I'm sure everyone who ventured in an arcade in the 1980s remembers the Paperboy machine: it was vibrant, bright and it had a great big set of handlebars so that you could 'get into character.' Atari: king of the arcades.
Bubbaray 28 Mar '04
KLOV's Paperboy page - Detailed technical info and trivia.
Wikipedia's Paperboy page - Lots of great information.