PaRappa the Rapper

Graphics: 5
Sound: 5
Control: 5
Depth: 3
Overall: 5

PaRappa the Rapper

By: NaNaOn-Sha
Published by: Sony Computer Entertainment of America
Released: 1997

Arguably starting the initial popularity of the music/rhythm genre in the U.S., PaRappa the Rapper is based on the old Simon handheld’s “repeat after me” gameplay… with the added factor of timing.  That may sound a bit dull, but add infectious music, a surreal take on the “win the girl flower’s heart” story, and the charming (and very un-videogame-like) artwork of Rodney Greenblat, and you’ve got a minor classic on your hands. 

While musically based in rap, the songs and theme of the game are fitting of a bizarre children’s picture book, with levels ranging from taking your driver’s license test with a moose, to learning to bake from a chicken.  A short game but no pushover, you will learn the position of the X, circle, square and triangle buttons from memory, if you don’t know them already.  One of the few PlayStation games to attract a more casual and female audience, PaRappa was later followed by the ambitious Um Jammer Lammy.

-Ben Langberg