8-Bit Dreams: PaRappa The Rapper

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8-Bit Dreams is a semi-regular feature here on Faux, where i’ll be taking a look at different games from across all types of gaming platforms. Hopefully it wont be half as mundane as I am making it sound right now…

Do you have a game in your collection or do you have a solid memory of a game that is so off the wall that you’re not quite sure why you bought it/registered an interest in it. Well for nearly a year in 1999 PaRappa The Rapper was firmly affixed to my Playstation as I bashed and rapped my way through level after level of Japanese themed nonsense.

The games artistic style was designed by Rodney Greenblat, an American graphic artist who is popular in Japan. Like in the Paper Mario series by Nintendo, all of the characters appear to be flat two dimensional beings cut from paper, while the surroundings are primarily three dimensional. While the setting is a bright interpretation of an urban city, the characters range from anthropomorphic animals such as frogs, spiders, and dogs, to lively versions of normally inanimate objects including onions, hammers, and flowers.

The game received positive reviews but didn’t sell amazingly well in the US or Europe. PaRappa and his plethora of teachers did however gain a huge cult following, and currently if you own the original disc you can fetch £20 + on eBay for it.

Widely considered the first rhythm/music based game to really crack the console market it paved the way for arcade crossovers such as Dance Dance Revolution, PS2 firework abortion Fantavision and recent success’s such as the Hero (guitar, dj etc) games and the Rock Band franchise.

OK….so here’s the plot of the game, try and follow it. You play the role of Parappa, a paper-thin rapping dog (Parappa is Japanese for “Paper Thin”). He is trying to win the heart of a flower (literally) girl named Sunny Funny. He’s aided by his friends Katy Kat (a hyper active cat) and PJ Berri (a fat bear DJ who eats everything). Also vying for Sunny Funny’s attention is Parappa’s arch rival Joe Chin, a rich narcissistic dog.

To impress Sunny, PaRappa learns to fight at a kung-fu dojo, and takes driving lessons to get his license. However when he crashes his Dad’s car, he has to earn money at a flea market to pay for it. When Sunny’s birthday comes up, Parappa decides to get cake, but ends up ruining it after an encounter with Joe. He makes a new one by watching a cooking show, and proceeds to eat a lot of it on the day. When spending some time alone with Sunny, he is suddenly overcome with the need to go to the bathroom. Parappa has to rap against his previous sensei’s in order to get to the front of the line to the toilet.

Then one night Parappa is invited to Club Fun and asks Sunny to go with him, which she agrees. Parappa then raps on stage with everybody, rapping a huge solo at the end of the song and expressing his feelings for Sunny.

This is the first and my favorite stage.

So yeah… Essentially you spend nearly 9 hours doing call and response button pressing with a variety of rap sensei’s in order to woo a flower. There has been a remake released for the PSP and two sequels (Um Jammer Lammy and PaRappa 2) for more info click here.

Its an odd one, but then what more do you expect from Japan?