Parasol Stars (Taito/1991)

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The first time I had ever played Parasol Stars, I had just gotten back from a stressful week long trip to Santa Monica, California. As soon as I had arrived home to my apartment, I threw my bags down and reached for a pill bottle full of Vicodin I kept hidden behind a shelf of Playstation games. I washed down one of these pills with a sweet-tasting mix of iced tea and lemonade that I had concocted as a teenager for those long summer days (that day was also a long, hot one), sat down in my chair, and turned on my PC while I waited for the high to kick in. The painkiller soon caused me to forget the headache that was California. I loaded up Magic Engine 1.0, my PC Engine emulator of choice, since playing video games was something I liked to do under the influence (playing Demon’s Souls while blackout drunk is an experience, let me tell you). Stoned and bored, this was how I found my way to Parasol Stars.

In my heightened state, I immediately fell in love with Parasol Stars. I called it, “The Greatest Vid Con Ever Made,” because I was too out of it to put together proper sentences on why I liked it. It’s funny to me now that I ever felt so euphoric or enthusiastic towards a twenty year old game for a system most people have never even heard of, but hey.

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Maybe this is why I hold Parasol Stars in such high esteem. Most people just refer to it as simply cute or quirky fun, whereas I adopt the mindset of a small child: where everything is either the best ever or the worst ever, and will tell anyone who listens that it’s the former. And really, it’s just a game about a fat kid with a rainbow-colored umbrella who uses said umbrella to throw raindrops at things that want him dead. But damned if the end result isn’t the most compelling thing on that tiny white box called the PC Engine.

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