Back in the 70's TI made a device called the University Board. Basically a 9900, some ram, a small monitor in rom and a modified calculator. You would just key in assembly code on the calculator. Would you want to create Parsec? No, but it was pretty fun for learning assembly and testing yourself by writing small programs on paper and getting them to work. So, would I like to have a brand new University board, YEP!
Not meaning to derail this thread, but... Interesting that you mentioned "...Would you want to create Parsec?..." on a University Board. Funny thing is, that - indirectly - the University Board played a big role in creating Parsec.
During my first co-op/intern stint at TI Home Computer I borrowed a University Board and played with it (a lot!) after work. I cut my teeth on TMS9900 assembly language with the University Board, because at that time there was no 99/4A assembler package. Heck there wasn't even a 99/4A - only the 99/4. So the University Board was the only system I could take home and work on after a TI work day.
After my first co-op term TI let me take it back to college with me. The result of that was a University board project that interfaced a PAIA 3 octave keyboard with two TMS9919 sound generators. When I returned to TI for a second co-op term the 99/4A was about to be released. While the Mini Memory was being developed we wanted users to be able to experiment with assembly language programming without needing a PEB. I remembered how much I liked the University Board line-by-line assembler, so we located the source code for it in TI and I ported it to the Mini-Memory.
Shortly after we finished up with the Mini-Memory, TI management paired Jim Dramis and I together with the directive, "We want you to work together to make a space game". That was all of the direction we had. The experience gained, errors made, and hours spent, on the University board and LBL assembler were definitely a part - indirectly - of creating Parsec.