Parsec - Rediscovering an Old Flame

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Otter

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Nov 19, 2000, 3:00:00 AM11/19/00
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Well, I just spent the past hour or so playing one of my all time
favorite games (and it isn't Joust this time). I had a sudden urge to
hook up the TI-99/4a to the TV tuner card and fire up good old Parsec.
It didn't take me long (about 3 tries) before I got my Dramite fighting
reflexes back after all these years. This was the game that back in
1982 was my greatest addiction (with Alpiner and Tombstone City a close
2nd).

When I heard 'Press fire to begin', I felt like I was back in my old
room on Cedar Street, Baker City, OR, where I had spent many afternoons
sequestered with my TI, blasting Swoopers, Urbites, Dramites, Saucers,
asteroids, and killer satellites; all the while trying not to overheat
my weapons. When I was finished for the night, I found I had come close
to beating my old score from back then. My top tonight was 35,800. My
old score was in the low to mid 40K range. I can't remember exactly.

I also discovered that the old crash and warp bug wasn't just a false
memory, since I just got it to work on several occasions. For those who
are wondering what the hell I'm talking about, it works like this...

Start the game by crashing into an object on the ground instead of
pressing fire. You will then get the first wave of swoopers. If you
survive that wave without losing any ships, there is a random chance
that you will warp ahead a few waves. Tonight, I managed to warp all
the way to the first Bynite wave. I'm not sure if there is an actual
method to it or if it is totally random what wave you get. I remember
back in the old days, I actually got to warp all the way to the first
killer satellite wave. I'll need to experiment much more to see if I
can figure out a pattern.

Anyway, Parsec is still a great game after all these years, and the TI
is still one of the best (though oft overlooked) classic gaming consoles
of all time, with many games that were exclusive to it. Parsec is one
of them, as is Tombstone City, Alpiner, and Chisolm Trail. And as I
mentioned in another thread, TI Invaders is the best home version of
Space Invaders out there (IMHO). Also, the TI has the only version of
Star Trek with speech (barring the arcade ROM for MAME).

One other great thing about the TI is the system and games are still
cheap, since collectors don't seem to go after them as rabidly as other
systems, possibly because the boxes aren't really all that collectible
due to them being so generic that you have no way of knowing what game a
box goes to.

Enough babbling from me for now. Time to call it a night, then do some
more Parsecing and Alpining tomorrow.

-- Otter
(Game over. Press Redo or Back.)

Erik Mooney

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Nov 19, 2000, 3:00:00 AM11/19/00
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>Well, I just spent the past hour or so playing one of my all time
>favorite games (and it isn't Joust this time). I had a sudden urge to
>hook up the TI-99/4a to the TV tuner card and fire up good old Parsec.
>It didn't take me long (about 3 tries) before I got my Dramite fighting
>reflexes back after all these years. This was the game that back in
>1982 was my greatest addiction (with Alpiner and Tombstone City a close
>2nd).

Dramite fighting reflexes? If you know the trick, you don't need reflexes
to fight Dramites. Set your ship to Lift *2*. Before each Dramite
appears, go as far down (or up) as you can. When the Dramite appears,
simply hold up (or down)... and the instant the Dramite changes color,
fire as fast as you can without overheating, continuing to hold up (or
down). Lift 2 keeps you _just_ out of Dramite firing range - it's scary,
but it works really well.

I could swear, though, that the Saucers pick up on you tricking the
Dramites, and make sure to come out in random scattered patterns
afterward...

>When I heard 'Press fire to begin', I felt like I was back in my old
>room on Cedar Street, Baker City, OR, where I had spent many afternoons
>sequestered with my TI, blasting Swoopers, Urbites, Dramites, Saucers,
>asteroids, and killer satellites; all the while trying not to overheat
>my weapons. When I was finished for the night, I found I had come close
>to beating my old score from back then. My top tonight was 35,800. My
>old score was in the low to mid 40K range. I can't remember exactly.

I'd tell you my high, but you'd probably hit me. Eh well, it's 712,500.
The level-color sequence flips back to yellow level 1 after you finish
level 16. :)

>Anyway, Parsec is still a great game after all these years, and the TI
>is still one of the best (though oft overlooked) classic gaming consoles
>of all time, with many games that were exclusive to it. Parsec is one
>of them, as is Tombstone City, Alpiner, and Chisolm Trail. And as I
>mentioned in another thread, TI Invaders is the best home version of
>Space Invaders out there (IMHO). Also, the TI has the only version of
>Star Trek with speech (barring the arcade ROM for MAME).

Yep, those were the big 4 TI games for me - Parsec, TI Invaders and Star
Trek, and the Pinball game in Video Games 1. Parsec is still my #1
favorite game from the classic era, and the TI is my favorite
classic-games system. (I never tried to expand it into a real computer,
though I did do a fair bit of Basic programming on it way back when.)


Spitfire 1500

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Nov 19, 2000, 3:00:00 AM11/19/00
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Wow, I never knew there was a trick like that in Paresec. All I knew is that
you chose lift 1 to do refueling. Too bad *#* didnt work on it. There were a
few baddies I never got to see in the game.

> old score was in the low to mid 40K range. I can't remember exactly.
>

> I also discovered that the old crash and warp bug wasn't just a false
> memory, since I just got it to work on several occasions. For those who
> are wondering what the hell I'm talking about, it works like this...

.)

Dan

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Nov 19, 2000, 3:00:00 AM11/19/00
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Erik Mooney wrote:

> >When I heard 'Press fire to begin', I felt like I was back in my old
> >room on Cedar Street, Baker City, OR, where I had spent many afternoons
> >sequestered with my TI, blasting Swoopers, Urbites, Dramites, Saucers,
> >asteroids, and killer satellites; all the while trying not to overheat
> >my weapons. When I was finished for the night, I found I had come close
> >to beating my old score from back then. My top tonight was 35,800. My

> >old score was in the low to mid 40K range. I can't remember exactly.
>

> I'd tell you my high, but you'd probably hit me. Eh well, it's 712,500.
> The level-color sequence flips back to yellow level 1 after you finish
> level 16. :)
>

Parsec was my favorite game back in the day. I spent *A LOT* of time
playing. Having said that, I managed to roll the game over. I then went on
to rack up a couple hundred thousand more points before I had to quit. If I
remember correctly, my hands were killing me--from using the TI joysticks.

BTW, I never ran into the crash or warp bugs that the original poster
mentioned. I'm kinda surprised that I never came across these with all the
time I wasted on the game.

Dan


Otter

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Nov 23, 2000, 3:00:00 AM11/23/00
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Spitfire 1500 wrote:
>
> Wow, I never knew there was a trick like that in Paresec. All I knew is that
> you chose lift 1 to do refueling. Too bad *#* didnt work on it. There were a
> few baddies I never got to see in the game.
>

I finally topped my personal high score three times over tonight. First
was 40,300, then 43,000, and finally 54,600. That last one would have
been higher except I was on my last fighter and had just cleared the
third asteroid belt. Before I could change from Lift 2 (which I always
use in the asteroid belt and now also with the Swoopers and LTFs) to
Lift 3, the first damn killer satellite took me out. I think one thing
that helped tonight was switching over from the Amiga Powerstick to the
Competition Pro-300X joystick. Much better control with that one.

Also, I tried what a previous poster suggested and use Lift 2 when
fighting the Dramites. That technique just doesn't work for me. What
does work though, is making sure I'm near the bottom of the screen when
the Dramites appear, since they almost always appear at the top.

As for the patterns of the saucers, according to the manual, their
pattern depends on how many ships you have in reserve. If you have 4 or
more ships left (not counting your current one), they appear in a random
pattern. If you have three or fewer left, they come in from top to
bottom. So, any fellow 99ers here have any suggestions on saucer
defense when they take the random pattern?

Lastly, that crash bug does seem to be random. I tried it a couple days
ago, and warped from the Swoopers to the Killer Satellites (which was
perfect since I was getting screenshots of the game in order to make
transparent background GIFs of all the ships in the game for later
use). That time, I crashed on one of the satellites on the ground.
However, it still looks like it doesn't really matter what you crash
on. Tonight, I tried it a few times, again crashing on the Killer
Satellites. I warped to the Bynites once, 1/2 way into the first
Dramite attack twice, then no warp at all the other times.

Anyway, it looks like I have a second game now to be hopelessly addicted
to (and TI Invaders, played with a Starplex Controller is on the verge
of becoming a third addiction). I'm tempted to fire her up again for a
rematch against those Killer Satellites, but it's rather late, and my
hands and neck are a bit sore tonight, so I s'pose it's time to get
offline and get some sleep.

-- Otter
(Great shot, pilot!)

northla...@gmail.com

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Oct 12, 2017, 2:12:36 AM10/12/17
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Ok, well not sure if anybody is even looking at this page any longer, but, just in case...I DO actually remember my personal best, 106,000 points, I believe I was on like level 12 or 13. My only issue was my hands we're getting tired by then, with the joystick getting slippery from all the sweat from my hands. I had the whole family behind me (this was maybe 1983 or 1984) rooting for me to keep going, but sadly a killer satellite took me out. I have been a console gamer, although in my 30's and 40's now, only once in a great while (hauled out my PS1 and PS2 consoles recently and started going through all the games I have still.

Unfortunately, the TI is history, but still have great memories and Parsec is a legendary game, seemed almost ahead of its time when launched in 1982. My brother and our friends played it all the time back in the 80's, and although I did keep it until maybe around 2012 or so, I had no way of hooking it up to modern day TV's with just the RCA plugs. I'm sure there was a way but 1 of the spade connectors had broken off and it didn't fire up when plugged in as it was.

Other notable games besides TI's own carts we're Atarisoft's Moon Patrol (spent lots of hours playing that one), Ms. Pac Man, and a game called Computer War (I think that was the name of it) that was very interesting and a lot of fun to play. There was also another cart from Imagic software, I think it 'may' have been Super Demon Attack (screen was black with a large moon), that was awesome as well.

There is something to be said for the simplistic, but addictive quality to the games produced for the TI and other consoles back in the 80's, pre-NES. Nowadays, games are really complicated. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, many are very deep and a lot of fun, but a child of the 1970's and 80's had a lot more arcade type games (and actually real arcades!!) that many friends would crowd around and there was always a numbered score to try and beat. Sure, there are many ports of a mix of classic games on CD/DVD for modern day game consoles, but it just isn't the same as playing them back in the day with a real joystick and fire button, or rollerball in some cases on stand-up arcade games.

Aaaah, the memories.

Eric

northla...@gmail.com

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Oct 12, 2017, 2:18:30 AM10/12/17
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Speaking of Chisholm Trail, Alpiner and such, Blasto was a really cool game too. The Attack could get a bit overwhelming in later levels as the number cubes would count down faster and faster before they hatched into a monster.
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