“I gotta believe!”
Now there is a phrase I have not heard in quite some time, and one that I honestly feel is missing from
the current generation of consoles. Sure, now we have Guitar Hero and Rock Band, but I demand my rapping 2D cartoon dog with his flower girl friend!
PaRappa the Rapper may have slipped under some radars a few years ago, but its recent re-release on the PSP has put it back on the radar for me, and I honestly can’t see how someone could not love this game. For those not familiar with it, PaRappa the Rapper is about a dog named PaRappa who has a crush on a girl named Sunny. Sunny is a giant flower. All right, still with me? Good. So PaRappa has to complete challenges like learning kung fu, baking a cake, driving from a moose and selling bottle caps with a frog to impress the girl of his dreams.
In retrospect, this game is pretty messed up.
The game’s charm comes from its witty in-game lyrics, like Chop Chop Master Onion’s opening rhyme:
Kick! Punch! It’s all in the mind
If you wanna test me, I’m sure you’ll find
The things I’ll teach ya is sure to beat ya
But nevertheless you’ll get a lesson from teacher
Silly rhymes like this made the series memorable, not to mention immediately fascinating. Needless to say, PaRappa the Rapper was unlike anything I had played up until that point. I remember the first time I had the “funky flow.” The first time I baked a Seafood cake. How proud I felt of those odd accomplishments. I haven’t had the same sense of odd wonder in a long time.
Did PaRappa make an impact? Considering it recently re-appeared on the PSP, I’d like to think it did. But really, PaRappa should be brought back for a third installment on the PS3; just think of all the cool things it could do with Downloadable Content, maybe even user-created content. PaRappa came from a simpler time in gaming, yet one when gaming was really starting to hit more mainstream. The era of Final Fantasy 7 commercials and the hype around Spyro was the era in which PaRappa debuted, but releasing amid those games made the game quietly forgotten. The PS2 sequel didn’t have the same fun and wit as the original, and the bad guy was obsessed with noodles….Are you kidding me? It’s almost like the series was punching itself in the face; the songs weren’t as memorable, and the game just seemed more and more out there (if that was even possible). But this time, there was another cool game set in the same universe, but with a girl named UmJammer Lammy!
Yes, “UmJammer Lammy.”
UmJammer Lammy at one point crossed paths with our hip-hop hero, and her guitarist gig gave gamers something PaRappa never did: the need to shred. It wasn’t freestyle or to any popular music like Rock Band, but it gave me and thousands of other gamers like me a brief musical outlet. It was still the same rhythm-based gameplay, but it provided a new sound. As we muddle through the same old songs on Guitar Hero and Rock Band, maybe it’s time for another new sound. Maybe it’s time for the return to PaRappa the Rapper. After all, how many songs from Activision’s and Harmonix’s games have you sought for years on your iPod? I tried for a long time to get PaRappa’s songs on my iPod, and it wasn’t until last year that I was finally able to locate them. Even today they get me moving, which is more than I can say for some of the oldies-but-goodies on the other games’ tracklists.
Sony should get with the program and bring us something new, perhaps a Singstar PaRappa Song, or something that uses the guitar from Rock Band or Guitar Hero. Seriously, these games are built with the mic and guitar in mind; doesn’t seem like a far jump in logic.
So I ask you, dear reader, and I ask you, dear publisher: Where is PaRappa the Rapper? We need him once again on PS3. We need to believe again.
You gotta do what?
I gotta redeem!
Show about that
I gotta relieve!
You gotta do what?br>I gotta revive
But most important
I gotta believe!
— Mike Dodd
Mike Dodd is co-founder and host of
This Week in Geek, an International radio show and podcast and a place where gamers and “geeks like us” can chill. His gaming column appears on DailyGame every Friday (yes, today’s is a bonus).