We only had 3 games for our TI99/4A (and some personal datebook thing, but that barely qualifies as a useful tool, much less a game), so it kind of goes without saying that what games we did have got quite a bit of playtime.

Parsec is a game about a ship shooting enemy ships. You constantly fly to the right and have to kill everything in your way. You fight alternating waves of ships that try to crash into you and ships that fire back at you, eventually having to navigate through a field of asteroids that appears on the planet’s surface, and then you get to start again, with slightly harder enemies. You also have to keep an eye on your fuel consumption and laser temperature. Run out of fuel, and you get a nice closeup of the terrain from your cockpit. Overheat your laser and your ship lights up the night sky, costing you a reserve ship.

Periodically, when you’re running low on fuel, the game takes a break from all the genocide and forces you to do some ridiculously precise flying through a tunnel to get more fuel. You can use the lift settings (which determine how fast your ship moves vertically) to make it somewhat easier, but those tunnels get a bit tougher as the game wears on.

One of the coolest things about this game, and one of the things I never got to experience, is the speech synthesizer. We got our TI second hand, well after they were no longer available in stores, so we never could get one. But thanks to videos like the above, I can finally hear what my computer sounds like, and for being on such a dated system, doesn’t sound half-bad.

One thing to notice is that the ships are all composed of outlines, and are easily distinguishable. Contrast this to something like Red Alarm that came out years later with a similar visual style and is virtually unplayable, to see just how far ahead of the curve this game was.

Now all I want is this game on the Wiiware channel.

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