Bespoke Arcades

Paperboy, Ghosts n’ Goblins and Commando

Paperboy (1985)

Atari’s Paperboy can be seen as a classic game which has been featured in films such as Disney’s Wreck it Ralph and Pixels.

The object of the game was to control a paperboy who should deliver papers to those who were subscribed to the newspaper ‘The Daily Sun’, whilst vandalising those who were not subscribed, doing this all whilst avoiding obstacles. The paperboy had to deliver all the papers successfully over the running time of a week. If the player was to crash they would lose a life, and if a subscriber did not receive their paper or the player had vandalised their home, they would unsubscribe.

The cabinet for the game had a handlebars on the front, in which the player would have used to steer the character on screen. When the player launched the game, there would have been three different levels to choose from: Easy Street, Middle Lane and Hard Way. Subscribers and those who were not subscribed to the paper were identified through the nature of their house. A subscriber would live in a brightly coloured house, whereas someone who was not would live in a dark house.

Ghosts ‘n Goblins (1985)

Capcom’s Ghosts ‘n Goblin’s became their 8th best-selling franchise, selling over 4.4 million units, as the game spawned several sequels. The player controlled Sir Arthur, a knight who goes on a journey to rescue Princess Prin Prin (who had been taken by Satan). On this mission, Arthur encountered many different monsters, such as zombies, ogres, dragons, demons, just to name a few.

Ghosts ‘n Goblins has been cited as one of the most difficult games of all time, with hindrances to the player such as the character only needing to be hit twice before losing a life, lives ran on three minute timers and then were lost and furthermore when the player lost a life was made to restart the level from either the start or middle of the current level.

Additionally, the final boss fight caused further difficulty levels to the game, with the final boss only being able to defeat with a cross weapon. If the player did not possess this, they would have been made to restart all of level 5 and complete all of rounds 5 and 6, even if the weapon was obtained at the start of this. The player was then informed that the game up to that point had been a trap set by Satan, and the game restarted at a higher difficulty. The player could find the true final boss fight at the close of this.

The popularity of the game can be seen by ports being manufactured for the Commodore 64, 16 and Amiga. Other consoles the game was ported to include the Famicom/NES and the Game Boy. Ghost ‘n Goblins even making it as a runner-up at that years ‘Golden Joystick Awards’.

Commando (1985)

Commando was a ‘run and gun’ game that has been seen to influence many later shooter games. The game receiving the best arcade-style game of the year award from that years Golden Joystick Awards. The player controlled ‘Super Joe’, who was a soldier being transported into a jungle warzone wherein the player had to fend off attacking troops around the character.

Super Joe was armed with a sub-machine gun with unlimited ammo and also had a limited supply of hand-grenades. The grenades proved to be more powerful as they could defeat multiple enemies at once, furthermore, they could also be used to clear obstacles. It was also possible within to game to free prisoners of war. At the end of a level, the player would be attacked by a line of troops, ordered by an officer. The player could earn bonus points for shooting the officer that had attempted to run away.