Did you ever deliver newspapers as a kid -- you know, peddling your bicycle around your neighborhood, tossing plastic-wrapped bundles of local headlines into Old Man Johnson's hedges, and accidentally toppling the cranky music teacher lady's lawn flamingos with a Sunday edition?
If so, you're lucky to be alive. DAMN lucky. Because, as the Suburban War II delivery/death simulator game we're reviewing this week shows us, few paperboys (and papergirls!) live more than a few days. Most of them die in the (bicycle) saddle, slain by any number of violently aggressive menaces tucked away in the vicious feral heart of the average residential block.
When is a Paperboy not a Paperboy?
The first thing we notice when loading up the Super Nintendo game, Paperboy 2, is that the title isn't quite accurate! You're immediately given a choice between playing as a paperboy or...a paperGIRL! The main difference is that the papergirls have longer hair.
Additionally the girl's hair is a different color; in this case, red. I'd imagine this is because the outline of the sprite is in black, so if they'd kept her hair black it would just look like the sprite had a heavier black line to represent its shoulder, instead of a ponytail.
The second thing you'll notice is Mindscape seems to have taken their NES game, Paperboy 2, and slapped it onto a Super Nintendo cartridge. Seriously, these graphics are 8-bit to the max. Lazy bastards! They should have enhanced it in some way! I totally wanted to look up when the NES and SNES version of Paperboy 2 were released, but I've got a lot of things to do tonight other than write this article, so I probably won't have time.
Anyway, the game begins by laying out your paper route. 20ish houses, some of which are "Subscribers" (read: people you have to deliver a paper to) and others of whom are "Non-Subscribers" (read: heretics whose property must be destroyed with the righteous punishment only cheap newsprint flung by a 13-year-old can deliver!).
After a quick preview of the headline you're delivering/using as a missile weapon...
...and you're off on your route!
Like Paperlambs to the Paperslaughter!
And what a route it is! Everything wants your blood. From the normal neighborhood hazards, you know...
...ghosts and laser-firing gargoyles, to the mundane perils of biking in general, like crashing into a fence or being run over by a monster truck:
It's not unusual for your paper delivery teen to end up losing all 5 of their lives on the first day of the job! (Especially if you don't play very well).
But what effect does this war of attrition have on the average, all-American, bikin' and paperin' teen?
That's right, they become violent juvenile delinquents!
No neighbor is safe from the paper missiles flung by these peddle-powered ne'er-do-wells!
Let's say they come across someone upstanding citizen, industriously working underneath his terrifyingly purple automobile! What's a paper-delivery-person to do? After all, he IS a subscriber to our daily newspaper; thus his dollars pay our wages!
If you answered, "smack the jack with a paper and crush poor Mr. Johnson below the chassis of his own automobile," then you truly understand the twisted mind of these hardened paper-criminals!
Surely, though, they must respect age -- for example, an elderly couple rocking on the porch swing of their handicapped-accessible house?
As the kids today say, "Hells No!" One carefully-aimed newspaper later and your latest geriatric victims are kicking their orthopedic shoes in the air, clinging for dear life to the edge of their porch swing, staring in horror at the 2-3 foot drop which could undoubtedly shatter a hip!
Yes, from basketball players to men in chef's hats roasting whole suckling pigs in a back-yard barbecue, no one is safe from our deranged deliverymen!
But are the paperboys and papergirls of the SNES USA evil beyond redemption?
Sure, occasionally our newspaper-lobbing anti-heros do some good, like stopping an armed robbery of the confusingly-named "PB MARKET" (and if their shelves are stocked with anything other than jar after delicious jar of peanut butter, I'm organizing a 16-bit class action law suit which would scare the "peanut butter" out of Phoenix Wright)
...or occasionally a run-away baby carriage is halted by a carefully-placed newspaper shot,
but I feel that these are more "accidental" acts of kindness. After all, if you give a blind, deaf and dumb monkey a gun and turn him lose in 1940s Germany, he'd doubtless shoot some Nazis, if only by accident. Also you would have (evidently) created a time machine which only works on sensorally-damaged lower primates, or else you'd've chosen one of the least-suitable candidates for time travel in recorded history, and you should be ashamed of yourself.
But let's not fight!
...instead, let's enjoy the simple non-homicidal joys of activating a sprinkler system by hitting it with a copy of The Daily Sun, making "Tuesday Player 1 edition" front page news!
Wait a minute...I'm starting to understand why The Daily Sun has so few subscribers. Its front page seems reserved for reporting the exploits of ITS OWN DELIVERY STAFF!
So in conclusion, if crashing into fences, being mangled by motor vehicles, or the groping hand of the sewer monster doesn't end your HUFFY-powered reign of terror, undoubtedly reader disinterest will shut down the poor Daily Sun, and end once and for all the weird symbiotic relationship between the newspaper, the morbidly obese policeman, and the daring yet psychotic paper delivery girl (or boy) who flew too close to the sun with wings of paper.
...wings of paper with all the sports scores, a crossword, horoscopes and today's daily dose of Marmaduke's misadventures, that is!
— carlmarksguy, 2012-04-13