Leisure Suit Larry series
Group DescriptionA series of comedy games (primarily in adventure genre), originally created by Al Lowe, focusing mostly on the efforts of a middle-aged gentleman named Larry Laffer (and later, his nephew) to have a date with a girl, and maybe also to find the love of his life.
The series started its existence with Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards (1987), though its early precursor, a text adventure named Softporn (1981), is often indicated as the progenitor. Chronologically falling in line with various Quest game series developed by Sierra (such as King's Quest and Space Quest), Larry games followed a similar gameplay evolution: starting with text input (and a text parser that "understood" swear words and verbs denoting sexual activities), the series later switched to mouse-driven, point-and-click gameplay with command icons - including the famous "zipper" icon, unique to the series, which corresponded to the aforementioned text input peculiarities.
The last Larry game designed by Al Lowe was Love for Sail (1996). The series' classical epoch has come to its end in this installment; however, an attempt to revive the series, steering it into action/arcade, mini-games-based gameplay, was made in 2004 with the release of Magna Cum Laude.
Not included: the 1992 Laffer Utilities, a humorous suite of "non-productivity" applications.
Leisure Suit Larry 4The Larry series was originally planned as a trilogy. If you saw the ending of the third game, you know that it’s well-rounded and final. When designer Al Lowe had finished Larry 3 in 1989, he was somewhat fed up with his creation, and announced that there’d “never be a Larry 4!”
At least not a “normal” adventure game. In 1989, Sierra had ambitious plans to build up an online gaming community. Nobody knew if this would work, but it was clear that it needed a “killer application”; an online adventure game with a score of players working together simultaneously. That’s what Larry 4 was supposed to be. However, the project turned out to be much more complicated than anyone had expected. As Al Lowe describes on his website:
After a month or so, we knew we were in trouble. I decided to write a checkers game as a simple test case to see if we could actually move objects and communicate. It worked. But we were still a long way from making characters walk and communicate and interact.When Al Lowe finally decided that the Larry series needed to be continued, and started to work on the next off-line episode, he was reluctant to call it Larry 4. Hadn’t he exclaimed that there wouldn’t be a game with that name? He kept his promise. The next adventure was a "fifth" game.
So I wrote a backgammon game. Then chess. Still we had no system to support all the features needed for an adventure game. But we were having so much fun playing against each other, we decided to push what we had into a real product. It became The Sierra Network. TSN was quite successful in its day, especially considering the small numbers of players who also had modems.
Eventually, when TSN was losing 10 million dollars per year, Ken [Williams] sold half of it to AT&T for 50 million dollars. I laughingly said Sierra was the only company to make money in on-line gaming: by selling out! Later AT&T would pay another 50 mil for the other half. They then sat on it for about a year before giving up and selling the whole thing to America On-Line for 10 million. AOL announced big plans, but never carried through and the whole thing withered up and died without ever seeing the light of day.
Even though the 4th episode does not exist, it has an official name nevertheless: Leisure Suit Larry 4: The Missing Floppies’.
Front cover for Leisure Suit Larry 1: In the Land of the Lounge Lizards
Front cover for Leisure Suit Larry 6: Shape Up or Slip Out!
Front cover for Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards
Screenshot from Leisure Suit Larry 1: In the Land of the Lounge Lizards
Screenshot from Leisure Suit Larry 6: Shape Up or Slip Out!
Screenshot from Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards