The Fanatical Blog
The history of Leisure Suit Larry PC games
By Sam Jones - 1st May 2019Games
A look at how the raunchy point and click franchise began
He's been around a bit - and we're not just talking about the amount of games that he's featured in!
Larry Laffer has been on some wild adventures in the pursuit of happiness - happiness being the love of a good woman - which has resulted in a series of innuendo-filled point and click adventures with risque humor and bizarre plots.
To celebrate the launch of the Leisure Suit Larry Bundle, the latest 'Spotlight On...' bundle from Fanatical, we take a look at the history of Leisure Suit Larry PC games.
Virgin Larry is born
Larry's origins began in the 1980s when creator/game designer Al Lowe brought the balding protagonist to life in Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards (1987), which was published by Sierra Entertainment. The franchise, known for its innuendos and raunchy comical fun, was actually inspired by one of Sierra's previous text adventure games, Softporn adventure, created by Chuck Benton in 1981.
It's said that the core structure of this game, as well as the story, was actually used in the first Larry game.
From here, gamers were introduced to the Larry Laffer, a single man who wants to find romance and decides to leave his mother's basement in search of love... and other associated activities. He travels to the city of Lost Wages - a parody Las Vegas - to 'get lucky' and visits a total of five areas during the game - Lefty's Bar, a hotel-casino, a wedding chapel, a disco, and a convenience store.
Luckily, Larry's lengthy journey looks promising, as four lucky ladies appear in the game as potential love interests. One of which is a sex worker, another is a receptionist, and the other a party-goer - with Larry's ultimate goal being the bathing beauty called Eve.
The game's initial reception was quite low, due to a number of retailers refusing to sell or advertise the game due to its 'mature content' - with Lowe admitting in an interview with 1up.com that "My initial reaction was that I had wasted six months of my life."
Fortunately, the word had spread about Larry's point and click adventure and sales soon started to boom, which 250,000 copies sold in its first year.
Keep 'em coming
The first game received a remake in 1991 - way before the Kickstarter-led remake in 2013 - but prior to the original remake, there was Leisure Suit Larry Goes Looking for Love (in Several Wrong Places), which arrived in 1988.
The sequel saw Larry being hunted down by KGB agents and mad scientist known as Dr. Nonookee, after a microfilm falls into his hands by mistake. The game follows a linear story progression, unlike the first game in the series, as well as penalizing the player for making Larry flirt with any woman that he meets.
In addition, Looking for Love also included a 'Trite Phrase' option for players to input their own catchphrase, which is repeated throughout the rest of the game. The following year saw the release of the third installment in the franchise - Leisure Suit Larry III: Passionate Patti in Pursuit of the Pulsating Pectorals (1989) - which closely follows the story of its predecessor.
Among many failed attempts to woo the ladies, Larry meets the latest 'woman of his dreams', Passionate Patti, who features as a second playable character for the first time in the franchise. Players take control of Patti when Larry runs away into the jungle after a misunderstanding, which results in an encounter with a group of lesbian cannibals!
Over the next seven years, the franchise continued to go from strength to strength, with another three titles releases, as well as The Laffer Utilities in 1992 - a Norton Utilities spoof described as "America's leading non-productivity tool". There's a case of confusion for most gamers looking at the franchise as a whole, as no 'number four' title was actually ever made - with the fourth installment being Leisure Suit Larry 5: Passionate Patti Does a Little Undercover Work.
This game once again featured two playable characters, Larry and Patti, and was the first game in the series to feature 256-color graphics and a fully icon-based interface. Larry, now working in the adult film industry with a Mafia-connected company known as 'PornProdCorp', is tasked with scouting models to appear in "America's Sexiest Home Videos" - while Patti, now an FBI agent, must locate incriminating evidence on two record companies suspected of hiding subliminal messages in their songs.
At some point, players also get to meet a pixel version of former US President George H. W. Bush. Game features included a 'Zipper' icon, which enabled the character to perform an erotic action, as well as a reduction in game difficulty - players cannot die or lose - and collectible items are not required to progress.
In 1993, the fifth installment Leisure Suit Larry 6: Shape Up or Slip Out! launched on PC, bringing revamped graphics in SVGA resolution, as well as voice acting for the first time in the series. Larry is down on luck in this installment, despite winning a free trip to a luxurious spa populated by women, as he is given one of the worse rooms available - completing putting off potential love interests. Larry can change their minds, however, with the right gifts.
Three years later, and Larry entered his final flirtatious adventure for some time with Leisure Suit Larry: Love for Sail! in 1996. This was the last game written by Al Lowe and the last to feature Larry Laffer as the main character until the most recent release (more on that below).
Larry, aboard yet another cruise ship, must compete in a weekly contest hosted by the ship's Captain Thygh. Players can find a number of ways to cheat during the contests in order to boost Larry's score card - with the ultimate prize being the opportunity to sharing the Captain's cabin (wink wink, nudge nudge).
Fellow competitors on the cruise ship are made up of spoof celebrities including Drew Baringmore (Drew Barrymore), Dewmi Moore (Demi Moore), and Jamie Lee Coitus (Jamie Lee Curtis).
A new Larry
The Millennium saw a new protagonist take up the reins as Larry Lovage - Larry Laffer's nephew - took the spotlight in Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude and Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust.
It wasn't until 2018 when Larry Laffer returned to his desperate mating ways in Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Don't Dry, which sees Larry trying his luck in a 21st century, non-linear game environment - using a dating app called 'Timber'. The latest game in the franchise received 'Very Positive' reviews on Steam.
Fancy joining Larry on his quest for some loving? Enjoy seven point and click adventure Steam games with the Leisure Suit Larry Bundle - available until January 29th 2019.