Parsec Manual (Front Cover)
|Publisher(s)||Texas Instruments (TI)|
|Original Retail Price||$39.95 (USD)|
|Programmer(s)||Jim Dramis and Paul Urbanus|
|Format(s)||Solid State SoftwareTM Command Module|
|Release||1982 (3rd Quarter)|
Parsec is a TI-99/4A original video game created by Jim Dramis (programmer of Car Wars and Munch Man) and Paul Urbanus, who was a summer intern at the time.  Parsec was release in the third quarter of 1982 and was published by Texas Instruments (TI), and was released on Solid State SoftwareTM Command Module. The original price was $39.95 (USD). Parsec is perhaps, the most known and loved video game made for the TI-99/4A. The TI Solid State SpeechTM Synthesizer enhanced gameplay by adding alerts and warnings, but the game could be played without it.
- 1 Speech
- 2 Legacy
- 3 Gameplay
- 4 Advertising Blurbs
- 5 Trivia
- 6 Cheats
- 7 Manual
- 8 Downloads
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Parsec can be played with or without the use of the TI Solid State Speech SynthesizerTM. The speech synthesizer helps alert the player to upcoming waves of attacks. Jim Dramis, the programmer of Parsec, chose a female's voice for the game because "It seems to have a sort of mystical effect. Also, somebody told us that you couldn't digitize female speech because of things like high-frequency patterns. So, we just had to go off and do it." 
The optional speech synthesis, although advanced at the time, adds drama to the gameplay: Although it warns of advancing enemy craft (except for Killer Satellites) and of low fuel levels, both of these features are duplicated by on-screen visual cues and are easily predictable by an experienced player. The sole exception is in the asteroid belts between levels, whose length increases with the level number: The speech synthesizer provides a spoken countdown not duplicated by any on-screen display, such that without the speech synthesizer there is no indication of how long the asteroid belt will last.
The voice of the on-board computer was performed by Aubree Anderson, who at the time was a student at Texas Tech University.
- "Press fire to begin."
- "Alert! Alien craft advancing!"
- "Alert! Ships attacking!"
- "Nice shooting."
- "Good shot."
- "Great shot, pilot!"
- "Laser on target."
- "Enemy destroyed."
- "Warning! Time to refuel."
- "Congratulations." (when refueling, i.e., at halfway point of refueling tunnel)
- "Nice flying." (after exiting a refueling tunnel)
- "Extra ship."
- "Caution! Asteroid belt."
- "Countdown... 5... 4... 3... 2... 1... Advance to next level."
- "Sorry, you are out of fuel."
The speech data for Parsec, Alpiner and Moon Mine was later acquired by Plogue Art et Technologie, Inc. The data for all three games was used for the software Chipspeech to create the voice of the character "Lady Parsec".
The game begins when the player presses fire. The game proceeds in the following order of enemies on each level:
- Light Triangular Fighter (LTFs)
- Asteroid Belt
One exception, beginning at the beginning of level 4, is that Killer Satellites start to appear and can do so randomly starting with the beginning of level 4.
The first of the enemies, the Swoopers, advance from the right of the screen and moving to the left (the exact opposite of the player's ship). Swoopers don't fire on the player's ship, but continually pick up speed until destroyed, making it imperative that the player destroys them as quickly as possible. Five Swoopers make up a wave of attack, and all six must be destroyed to move on.
The next enemy is an armed fighter called the Urbites. Unlike the swoopers, the Urbites fire on the player's ship, thus, the player must both avoid getting hit with enemy fire while maneuvering in a way to allow themselves the opportunity to destroy the enemy. Urbites enter the screen on the right and move to the left, and fire two parallel lasers at the player. The player must destroy four Urbite ships to advance.
Light Triangular Fighters (LTFs)
The next of the enemies to appear are the Light Triangular Fighters or LTFs. Like the Swoopers, these enemies do not fire on the player and enter the screen from right to left coming at the player head-on. The LTFs are somewhat harder to shoot than the swoopers because of their streamlined shape, and like the swooper, gain speed the longer they are around making it important to destroy them quickly. A player must destroy all five LTFs to advance.
The next enemy is the armed fighter known as the Dramites. Just like the Urbite ships, the Dramites fire upon the player. The ship itself appears exactly the same as the Urbites, but Dramites fire a different weapon upon the player, a single laser. Dramites appear on the right of the screen and advance towards the player on the left. Dramites seem to be more aggressive and intelligent than Urbites.
Saucers are the third non-firing enemies that the player encounters. Unlike Swoopers and LTFs, however, Saucers enter the screen from the left, behind the player, potentially quickly rear-ending the player unawares. They then sling back towards the player, and continue through the left edge of the screen and re-appear via the right-hand screen just like the other enemies. The player must destroy six Saucers to advance.
Bynites are the third of the armed enemies that fire upon the player. Instead of firing lasers, Bynites fire a photon cannon which consists of a large cluster for the player to avoid. Bynites aren't quite as aggressive as Dramites, however, on levels 2 and onward, they disappear after being hit the first time, and the player has to hit them blind.
After destroying all the waves of fighters, the player faces the asteroid belt. The asteroid belt consists of hundreds of asteroids that hurtle themselves at the player simultaneously, instead of one at a time like the fighters. The asteroid belt lasts longer with each level and becomes more difficult to pass.
One feature that makes Parsec different than many space shooters is that the player can't simply lay on the fire button for the whole game. Pressing fire increases the heat of the laser, and eventually cause the player's ship to explode when overheated. The lasers overheat quicker with each level, so the player has to ensure his/her aim is as accurate as possible.
Front Cover of Manual
You are commander of the starship PARSEC under attack by the most hostile, deadly aliens in the galaxy. Your mission: destroy as many aliens fighters and cruisers as possible.
Triton Catalog - Fall 1984
As you battle alien ships, a voice keeps telling you the current changing conditions. These terrible terrors include battleship attacks, guiding your ship through refueling tunnels, and weaving through asteroid belts. (Speech Synthesizer and Joysticks recommended.)
- Two of the cruiser ships (armed fighters) are named Urbites and Dramites after the co-creators of Parsec, Jim Dramis, and Paul Urbanus.
- The various planet surfaces hold the authors' initials as well JED and URB for James E. Dramis and Paul Urbanus.
- Parsec was the first TI-99/4A game to use bit map graphics which is why its quality exceeds the visual quality of previous TI games.
- After the game says "Press Fire to Begin," if the player crashed into the ground instead of firing, the player will sometimes be warped to a further stage in the game. This doesn't always work, however.
- Holding down the fire buttons on two joysticks simultaneously will make it so the player never overheats.
- "Xona Games: Rare Parsec Facts - TI-99/4A".
- "TI-99/4A-Pedia: Jim Dramis (See Interview from 99'er Magazine".
- "Twenty Questions with the Voice of Parsec". 99'er Magazine - Feb 1983. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
- "How A Plug-in Recaptured the Robot Voices of Your Childhood". January 14, 2015.