The VideoKid (Impressions)
We received a code for The VideoKid on the Switch.
The VideoKid is an homage to the 80s, both in gameplay (largely inspired by the 1985 arcade game Paperboy) and the numerous references, shout-outs, and parodies you’ll see as you play. Your goal is to deliver video tapes as you skateboard down the streets, but the town is filled with dangers. It’s an auto-runner where you need to dodge vehicles, collect coins, perform skateboarding tricks, and toss tapes at mailboxes to earn as much money as you can before you die.
It’s immediately apparent that this is no easy game. You only have a single life in The VideoKid, so every time you ride into a fire hydrant or get hit by a car, you’ll need to start over from the beginning. It’s not always the exact same layout, either, as there are at least a few different variations for each section. Your money is cumulative, so you can save up to buy new appearances and tricks, but the difficulty curve is steep.
When I first started playing, I tried to aim carefully, tossing a video tape only when I was adjacent to a mailbox or another potential target. Soon, however, I realized you have unlimited tapes, there’s no penalty for breaking things, and you get points for a lot of things you hit. After that, I tossed tapes constantly. The gameplay clearly appeals to a particular style of nostalgia (or perhaps the genre just isn’t my thing), but what I enjoyed more was trying to spot references.
From the beginning alone, I could tell The VideoKid is filled with references. It’s not just a normal town you’re skateboarding through, but one where there’s always something happening nearby. I only wished I could slow down to pay more attention to the wacky antics and references around me, but I was too busy dodging the perils of the delivery route. On the other hand, since this is the type of game you’ll start over and over, you’ll have plenty of time to catch those references.
The VideoKid is not my sort of game personally, but if you enjoy shout-outs to 80s popular culture and especially if you enjoy Paperboy’s style of arcade gameplay, it’s on the Switch now and worth a look.