It being Valentine’s day I thought it apt to choose something related to the quest for love, or maybe the quest for getting laid in this case. I couldn’t think of any games with romantic themes so what the heck.
Leisure Suit Larry was released by Sierra in 1987 on DOS and Apple II and developed by some recognisable names, in particular Al Lowe who had worked on several games for Sierra but is known for the Leisure Suit Larry series.
The game follows the exploits of Larry Laffer, a 38 year old virgin who lives in his mother’s basement. Not your every day protagonist I’ll admit. Larry is sick and tired of this and decides to do something about it and travels to the city of Lost Wages (Las Vegas) to finally lose his virginity and find the girl of his dreams. He arrives in Lost Wages with just $94 wearing a dodgy looking disco Stu-esque 70s suit. He then goes on a quest to win the affections of four different women. Faith, a receptionist, Eve, Fawn, a clubgoer and a sex worker who remains nameless.
You begin outside Lefty’s bar in Lost Wages and have seven hours to complete the game. If you don’t and poor Larry is still a virgin he commits suicide and it’s game over. Shame on you. You control Larry using directional keys and buy typing commands in to the text parser much like other old Sierra adventure games. The areas you can visit include the starting area Lefty’s, a hotel casino, a 24 hour wedding chapel, a disco and a shop. You had to get a taxi to each of the areas or Larry would get hit by a car or mugged and killed which would use up your $94 pretty fast. Choices had to be made.
The sex worker could be accessed early in the game but if you did choose to have sex with her unprotected you’d get an STI and die. Lessons to be learned here. You could avoid this by using protection, this technically would not beat the game for you but it would continue with no time limit. To actually beat the game Larry must woo the other women using various gifts and dialogues to end up in the final area, the coveted hotel penthouse. This requires money, which means gambling. You can check out a video of a playthrough below.
This was a game lying around my house in the late 80s and early 90s, and of course me being aged eight or so, I 100% wasn’t allowed anywhere near Leisure Suit Larry. This only encouraged me, I had to see why I couldn’t play the game. There were adult questions you had to answer to even begin it. This proved no problems for my detective skills. Being so young I got the gist of the game but much of it I didn’t understand. The word for condom in the game was prophylactic for instance. I don’t think I ever finished the game when I was small, but I sure as hell tried.
There is now a remake of the game called Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded that released in 2013, although it received mixed reviews in comparison with the original. Have you played either? Let us know!