Wednesday, August 17

A Scottish Cycle Lane Appears To Be Designed Like Paperboy

A screenshot of the bendy cycle lane in Edinburgh alongside a similar screenshot in Paperboy.

Image: Dave McCraw / Atari / Mobygames / Kotaku

There’s a street in Edinburgh, Scotland, that offers a real-life version of Paperboy’s zigzag cycling routes, and I’m here to celebrate it for just that. As part of the city’s £207 million ($253m) project to run trams through the famous road, a new section of cycle lane has been put in, which, as a recently tweeted video shows, offers quite the forbidding challenge.

While there has been ridicule of the Scottish cycle route since it was officially opened in April, it’s not until you see Dave McCraw’s video of the absolutely batshit design that you can truly appreciate the video game-like layout to the whole thing.

There’s so much that’s so special in here. Like any good game, the lane doesn’t just have an excellent zig-zagging pattern to learn, but it comes with all manner of obstacles too. There are those enormous planters, poking into the lane to be avoided. And indeed lampposts sticking out of the track on the other side.

As you’ll likely have noticed, the design is such that your bike will have to negotiate multiple other lanes, including sidewalks (pavements, they’re called pavements), as you violently swerve left and right to try to keep up with its increasingly difficult directions.

Sadly, the NPC AI looks pretty terrible, as they wander nonchalantly down the cycle lane, even when you hurtle rapidly toward them. A lot of improvement is required in this respect.

I think my favorite feature is the supermarket exit that spills out directly into the bike lane, because they make it harder for all players by removing the cycle lane texture entirely!

This is my official call for a special gathering to be arranged on this very site in 2024, to mark the 40th anniversary of Paperboy’s initial release.

Look, it’s uncanny:

A screenshot of Paperboy's zigzaggy sidewalks.

Screenshot: Mobygames / Atari

Slow news day? You betcha.

 



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