The NL - The Chronicles of Larry Laffa
Author: Geoff Larsen
Tuesday, 12 February 2008
It wasn’t always this way… As a young Nerdlinger I only had a passing interest in virtual worlds. One game series however got me hooked on the hobby as well as shaped me into the unintentionally chaste ‘man’ I am today. That series was Leisure Suit Larry.
LEISURE SUIT LARRY: LAND OF THE LOUNGE LIZARDS
‘So you want a lubricated, mint flavor, lubber- WHAT A PERVERT!’ – Convenience Store Dude.
Based on a text-only game known as Softporn Adventure the first Leisure Suit Larry, developed by Sierra Interactive, was released to an unsuspecting public in 1987 and featured a massive 16 colours! Sure, today a standard Windows desktop running XP is composed of 4,294,967,296 different colours, but back in the day this was hot stuff.
The game followed the protagonist Larry Laffer on his quest to find the woman of his dreams in the city of Lost Wages. As dated as it seems now, the original game brought both comedy and sauciness to the video game world and is generally considered the world’s first adult video game adventure. The game was laced with comedy and parodies of popular culture. If Larry did the deed with a street prostitute without protection his genitals would explode and he would commit suicide. When Larry stopped moving for a lengthy amount of time a small black dog would come along and mistake his leg for a fire hydrant and when Larry died in the game he was taken below the earth by Jawas and reconstructed in a bizarre parody of Star Wars.
The original game sold over 250,000 copies, mainly bought by confused 10-year-olds like myself. Larry’s seedy adventure became so popular that pirated versions circulated to all corners of the globe, often containing viruses. This was parodied in another Sierra game Space Quest IV, where infected copies of Larry 1 forced humanity’s supercomputer to collapse and caused the apocalypse.
LEISURE SUIT LARRY 2: LARRY GOES LOOKING FOR LOVE (IN SEVERAL WRONG PLACES)
‘I am Dr Nonookie’ – Dr. Nonookie
Released a year after the original, Larry 2 was a lot more family friendly than the original. Sierra, who mainly developed PG adventure games, thought that the massive amount of sexual content in the original was tarnishing their good name, so the sequel contained only miniscule amounts of mature content and punished the player for attempting to pursue it. Obviously this did not go down well with the fans.
The story focused on Larry taking a cruise and being pitted against an evil scientist…who… yawn.
LEISURE SUIT LARRY 3: PASSIONATE PATTI IN PURSUIT OF THE PULSATING PECTORALS
‘I just learned the difference between oral sex and sushi! It's the rice!’ – Bar Comedian
The final game to be presented in EGA, Larry 3 cranked the sex level once again (though there was an option to censor the scenes… which no one has ever used) and brought back the trademark humour of the series. The game focused more on the humiliation of Larry as he was turned down time and time again by the women who surrounded him. Larry 3 was the first game in the series to feature more than one playable character. Passionate Patti, Larry’s love interest from the second game, was playable during the second half of the game. In a surreal twist at the end of the game the player is transported to Sierra Studios where company founder Roberta Williams agrees to make a series of games based on Larry’s exploits and Larry and Patti live out their day programming video games… or do they-
LEISURE SUIT LARRY 4: THE MISSING FLOPPIES
‘The floppies were stolen by Broderbund and released as Where in the Hell is Carmen San Diego-’ – Al Lowe.
The ending of Larry 3 left creator Al Lowe with the problem of thinking of a way to get Larry out of the ‘happily ever after’ life he was living. So Mr. Lowe announced that a fourth game – explaining how Larry escaped, became single and amnesic – was created… but that his dog ate the floppies. This gave Sierra the ability to start from scratch for Larry 5. Larry 4 was never released, though its cover was featured in Space Quest IV.
The VGA remake of Larry 1 is unofficially considered to be the fourth Larry game.
LEISURE SUIT LARRY 5: PASSIONATE PATTI DOES A LITTLE UNDERCOVER WORK
‘Hey, baby! Wanna take a gamble- You make the bet and I’ll raise the stake! – Larry
In stunning 256 colours Larry made his return working as an employee of PornProdCorp which sought to find girls for a television show. While the game is littered with sexual innuendos the title plays more as an interactive cartoon than a video game and is generally considered to be the worst in the series. Larry’s partner Passionate Patti also makes her last appearance in this game… and the fans rejoice.
LEISURE SUIT LARRY 6: SHAPE UP OR SLIP OUT
‘It's wet, it's yellow, and it appeared right after you peed behind the truck. What COULD it be-’ – Narrator
The sixth game was a return to form for the series. Larry was back and single and the complex plotline for the game is that Larry is at a gym and he wants to pick up chicks. Nice. The game is the first in the series to feature voice work though is generally considered to have the tackiest script. While Larry 6 didn’t set the world on fire, the scene where Larry pleasures himself in a bathroom with a one-way mirror and then commits suicide when he realises that the entire cast of the game is watching him has earned a special spot in the hearts of fans.
LEISURE SUIT LARRY 7: LOVE FOR SAIL
‘How do you like your eggs in the morning- Fertilised-’ - Larry
The seventh game is practically an animated cartoon. At the time the game won awards for containing unprecedented amounts of explicit sexual content and was the last game made by creator Al Lowe and to feature Larry himself. The game had Larry boarding a free cruise and followed his quests to pick up every woman on board. In a reference to Where’s Waldo, every screen in the game had a hidden vibrator who would dance around when clicked on.
LEISURE SUIT LARRY: MAGNA CUM LAUDE
‘It's Bukkakas! A tragic character from Greek mythology, forced by Zeus to entertain Japanese businessmen – for all eternity!’ – Larry v.2
The first console-based game in the series did not even feature the series main character but instead followed the exploits of Larry’s nephew… Larry… as he attempted to seduce women around his college campus. Larry would go up to talk to women and a minigame would begin where the player had to guide a sperm through ‘hot zones’ to produce good conversation. I wish that I could use a sperm to seduce women in my university days. I pretty sure they lock you up for that though.
While the game reportedly featured little gameplay, the dialogue in was said to be quite humourous. However, the game was banned in Australia so I guess we will never know.
LEISURE SUIT LARRY: BOX OFFICE BUST
The sequel to the previous game was recently announced. The title will see the return of nephew Larry and follow his adventures working at an adult movie studio. Box Office Bust promises to have more gameplay than it’s predecessor, featuring platforming and racing levels and set in a Grand Theft Auto-type open world. While the previous game was banned in Australia there is a good chance that this title will be given the green light as, despite the setting, the game will not feature the explicit nudity that was in the predecessor. Written by Allen Covert of Happy Madison Productions and featuring a string of famous voice actors including Carmen Electra and Shannon Elizabeth, Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust will be steaming up your monitor in late 2008.
On top of the main series of games there are several spin-offs including a parody of the Norton Utilities package and a beach volleyball game for mobile phones. There are at least four games in the series that have been started and left unfinished as well as countless fan-made games.
While the long-running series has caused many gamers to roll their eyes whenever a new title is announced, you can bet that twice as many get excited at the mere mention of the character’s name. For better or worse, mainly worse, Larry made me into the man I am today. Love him for it.