Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards is a computer game first released in 1987, the first part of the Leisure Suit Larry series. It was a completely graphical adventure game with 16 color EGA graphics. It used the Adventure Game Interpreter (AGI) engine. It ran on DOS and the Apple II and was later ported to other platforms such as the Amiga, Atari ST, Apple IIGS and the TRS-80 Color Computer.
In 1991, Sierra released a remake that used the Sierra's Creative Interpreter (SCI) engine with 256 colors and icon-driven (as opposed to text-based) interface.
Larry Laffer is a 40-year old virgin. After leaving behind his geeky life, he decides to visit the sinful city of Lost Wages (a reference to Las Vegas), experience what he hasn't lived before, and find the woman of his dreams.
Locations within the city of Lost Wages include a casino-hotel, a disco, a convenience store, a cheap vegas-style wedding chapel, and Lefty's Bar. Larry's quest involves four women: a prostitute (which leaves Larry's need for love unsatisfied), Fawn (a material girl of low moral fibre), Faith (a faithful girlfriend of someone who is not Larry), and Eve (Larry's girl for this game).
An important part of the game is that the player has to take care of his money, which is spent whenever he travels by taxi or buys things. A way to augment the amount is to gamble in the casino, playing Blackjack or slots, which is obligatory at least twice during the course of the game.
Al Lowe, a former high school teacher, had established himself at Sierra with his work on Disney-licensed edutainment titles, Winnie Pooh in the Hundred-Acre Woods, Mickey's Space Adventure, Donald Duck's Playground, and The Black Cauldron, which he wrote, designed and programmed.
He persuaded Sierra’s president, Ken Williams, to begin work on new project based on Softporn Adventure, a text-only adventure game released several years earlier by Sierra. Lowe started with Softporn’s basic story and puzzles and added a new 2D graphic engine, original jokes, and most famously, an on-screen protagonist, Larry Laffer.
"In a time when 'humorous computer game' was an oxymoron and risqué material was a lo-res lo-cut neckline, Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards created quite a stir among computer users," according to Space Quest designer Mark Crowe, who contributed to the game's design.
Even Sierra management was unsure about how the game might be received and released the game without any publicity or advertising budget. Many of the large computer chain stores refused to sell it, finding the content unacceptable for their customers. Unsurprisingly, its first-month sales were lower than any new Sierra product launch in years. However, word-of-mouth quickly spread. By year’s end, Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards became a critical and commercial success, being named the Software Publishers Association’s "Best Fantasy, Role Playing or Adventure Game of 1987" and selling over 250,000 copies.
Chuck Benton, the creator of Softporn Adventure, is mentioned in the Larry credits, because the entire layout and the puzzles of the game are the same as in Softporn Adventure; the jokes, however, are Lowe's.
Because of the adult nature of the game, it featured an age verification system, which consisted of a series of questions to which the authors reasoned only adults would know the answer. As the questions were U.S.-centric, they frustrated some non-American gamers. (The verification system could be skipped by pressing Alt-X.)
Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards is believed to be one of the most widely pirated PC games of the late 1980s. Sierra sold many more hint books than it did actual copies of the retail game. Curiously, although the game never sold in Russia, a few copies slipped through the Iron Curtain and soon many thousands of illegal copies were circulating, with students playing it on university PC's and exchanging hints on how to progress through the game.
Today, the game is regarded as the first adult graphic adventure.
- A bizarre, unfounded hoax at the time was that the player's computer would catch a computer virus if Larry had unprotected sex with one of the NPCs; in actuality, if Larry has sex in the game with a prostitute without using a condom, he contracts a particularly virulent sexually transmitted infection, his genitals explode and he commits suicide.
- There is a controversial joke early on in the game, where the player has the ability to try to get Larry to flirt with the male patrons in the bar, only to cause the offended patron to kill Larry.
- A running joke is the appearance of a black dog that will pee on Larry (perhaps mistaking him for a fire hydrant) when he stands immobile for some time. The dog also appears briefly in the sequel. However when you eat the pills of Spanish fly when the dog is in sight, you end up in jail.
- In the fall of 1988, a virus contained in pirated copies of the game affected computers in Switzerland, West Germany, The Netherlands and Great Britain. This fact became a plot element (as well as an in-joke) for Space Quest IV, where an infected copy of Larry was the cause of destroying the future Xenonian supercomputer.
- Al Lowe appears in one of the scenes in the game (sitting on a couch in a disco (remake only)).
- A napkin with the game logo pictured on it was packaged into many retail boxes.
- Although most players probably never saw it when playing the game, the game does have an imposed time limit. Basically, if Larry makes it through the night without having sex, the player is shown a close-up of Larry holding a gun to his temple. Larry then commits suicide because it's dawn and he's still a virgin. The time limit that controls this incident, however, is set to several hours, and by that time, most gamers had already gotten Larry in bed with the prostitute
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