Leisure Suit Larry is a series of adventure games written by Al Lowe and published by Sierra from 1987 to 2009. The character, whose full name is Larry Laffer, is a balding, dorky, double entendre-speaking, leisure suit-wearing (but still somewhat lovable) "loser" in his 40s. The games follow him as he spends much of his life trying (usually unsuccessfully) to seduce attractive women.
Originally stemmed from ideas of Sierra's adventure game Softporn Adventure created by designer Chuck Benton, the "Larry" games were one of Sierra's most popular game series during the genre's heyday when it was first released in the mid 1980s. As such, they remain well-known among fans of the type today. The series stands out among Sierra's catalog in that they are the only games the company produced that contain significant sexual themes.
In general, the games follow Larry's escapades as he attempts (and mostly fails) to convince a variety of young nubile women (rendered with increasing sophistication throughout the series) to have sex with him. A common link between the games are Larry's explorations of luxurious and cosmopolitan hotels, ships, beaches, resorts and, more commonly, casinos. One of Larry's trademarks is his manner of introducing himself: "Hi, my name is Larry; Larry Laffer", a reference to James Bond's introduction style, "My name is Bond; James Bond."
Because of the nature of the games, the first and third episodes of the series featured an age verification system, which consisted of a series of questions to which the authors reasoned only adults would know the answer. However, many of the questions were U.S.-centric and this frustrated some non-United States gamers. Also, the multiple-choice questions did little to deter adolescents with some patience and a notepad. (The verification system could be skipped by pressing Alt-X in episode one, or Ctrl-Alt-X in episode three.)
After the gleefully seedy first game, the series - despite becoming infamous for its saucy content - gained something of a reputation for not actually featuring all that much raunchy material when analyzed, particularly the mid-entries to the series. This became even more evident in later years, when more genuinely racy games appeared on the market. At most, the raunchier moments were usually hidden as Easter eggs. Things began to become racier again toward the end of the series, particularly in the (original) final installment, Leisure Suit Larry: Love for Sail!.
In March 2007, Vivendi announced Leisure Suit Larry: Love for Sail! for the mobile phone. This version will be a remake of the previous game where the player plays Larry from the Magna Cum Laude game. It is also announced that parts of this game will take place in a plane.
On the Howard Stern radio show on November 27, 2007, comedian Artie Lange mentioned that he had recorded dialogue for a character named "Big Al" in a new Leisure Suit Larry game. On May 20, 2008, Lange confirmed that he had completed recording dialogue for the game. His salary was thirty thousand dollars for work which took "about an hour and a half", amazing Howard and his staff. On July 29, 2009, Artie again referenced doing this work on Leisure Suit Larry but said that he made twenty five thousand dollars.
While making In the Land of the Lounge Lizards, Sierra On-line staff had to decide the character's name. They agreed that he should be named after Al Lowe's friend, Jerry (Lowe never made his last name known to the public), who had visited him at work and became well known in the Sierra studios. Jerry thought of himself as a great lover. He became an infamous point of comical reference among the staff, so the game creators agreed that since Jerry's character suited the game's "hero", they should jokingly tribute him.
However, since they thought it would be immoral to use a real person's full name as a comical reference, "Jerry" was then altered to "Larry", a similar name, in honor of famed injury attorney Larry H. Parker, Al Lowe's childhood friend. Lowe had to find a new surname, and having in mind the many L-words of the title, skimmed through the "L" volume of an encyclopedia in order to find a suitable word or name. He fell on the entry of Arthur Laffer, and the name caught his attention due to its phonetic resemblance to "laugher".
Arthur Laffer for years had no idea about the existence of the games until much later when Al Lowe sent a letter asking his permission for the publication of a program under the title Laffer Utilities, a Larry spin-off which could potentially confuse the public due to the ambiguous title. Laffer asked his secretary if she knew about the games and she told him that she had played them for years, but never made a connection. Laffer gave the permission and also paid a visit to the Sierra studios.
- Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards (1987 - remade 1991)
- Leisure Suit Larry Goes Looking for Love (in Several Wrong Places) or Leisure Suit Larry 2 (1988)
- Leisure Suit Larry III: Passionate Patti in Pursuit of the Pulsating Pectorals (1989)
- Leisure Suit Larry 5: Passionate Patti Does a Little Undercover Work (1991)
- Leisure Suit Larry 6: Shape Up or Slip Out! (1993 - CD version in 1994)
- Leisure Suit Larry: Love for Sail! (1996)
- Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude (2004) (Without involvement of Al Lowe)
- Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust (2009) (Without involvement of Al Lowe)
- Leisure Suit Larry 4: The Missing Floppies (This non-existent 4th game was skipped and is an often jokingly referenced in-game for the series.)
- Leisure Suit Larry 8: Lust in Space
- Leisure Suit Larry: Pocket Party
- Leisure Suit Larry: Cocoa Butter
Several Larry collections have also been compiled:
- Larry 3-Pack (1991): this collection included the first three games that were available at the time.
- Leisure Suit Larry's Greatest Hits & Misses (1994): this 1-CD collection included all the Larry games up to #6, including both versions of Larry 1, the VGA version of Larry 6, the Hill Utilities, and the original Softporn game. A limited edition print of the Leisure Suit Larry book was also included called "My Scrapbook".
- Leisure Suit Larry: Collection Series (1997): this 2-CD collection included everything the previous collection contained, plus the SVGA talkie version of Larry 6, a Larry 7 preview, and Larry's Big Score: Pinball.
- Leisure Suit Larry: The Ultimate Pleasure Pack (2000): this 4-CD collection was, again, otherwise identical to the one before it except that it also included the 1998 Larry's Casino and the full version of Larry: Love for Sail.
- Leisure Suit Larry Collection (2006): This barebones collection only contains the 1-6 Larrys originally released on floppies (Substituting the remake of Larry 1 for the EGA original, and excluding the full-talkie CD edition of Larry 6). According to www.Allowe.com, Vivendi excluded Larry 7 from the collection in fear that the hidden easter egg ending would give the collection an Adults Only rating. It is not known why the EGA version of Larry 1 is missing from the collection. Unlike previous collections, this does not come with any printed documentation (instead including PDF files containing the original manuals for copy protection purposes), and the "Runs on Windows XP" blurb on the box is justified by an included copy of freeware application DOSBox, leaving many to see this edition (And the simultaneous releases of the Police Quest, King's Quest, and Space Quest collections) as a cash-in to measure the viability of future games in the series.
- The Laffer Utilities (1992) (A parody of the Norton Utilities package)
- Leisure Suit Larry's Datebook (1992) (Mentioned in a 1992 Sierra Catalogue as "Larry speaks! Custom Larry screens pop on to tell you about meetings, birthdays, work habits, and hard-drive hygiene! Let Larry organize your life. Scary, huh?" Never released. In fact, according to Al Lowe, he did not know it existed and had no plans to make it.)
- Leisure Suit Larry's Casino (1998) (Larry Hill, the protagonist of the Leisure Suit Larry adventure series, is running a casino. Leisure Suit Larry's Casino offers 5 casino games, 3 party games, a full gift shop, 3 restaurants, 3 bars, and a few surprises. Also featured an online component which allowed for players to upgrade their hotel room, and participate in other online-only activities.)
- Leisure Suit Larry's Sexy Pinball (2005) A pinball game for mobile phones. .
- Leisure Suit Larry Bikini Beach Volley (2006) A beach volley game for mobile phones..
- Leisure Suit Larry Love for Sail (2007) - A Mobile game based in Leisure Suit Larry 7, Love for Sail .
- Leisure Suit Larry Magna Cum Laude (2008). A game base on Leisure Suit Larry Magna Cum Laude for mobiles showing some mini games to play with the number pad..
- The Official Book Of Leisure Suit Larry (1990) (Written by Al Lowe and Ralph Roberts, containing background information and hint guides). The book was revised and edited so that there was a second (1991), a third (1993), and a fourth (1997) edition, and Special Edition (released with a Larry Collection).
- The Authorized Uncensored Leisure Suit Larry Bedside Companion (1990) (Written by Peter Spear, it contains the stories of the first three Leisure Suit Larry games, as well as detailed walkthroughs, point lists and maps) The second edition covered Larry V. The book, like other Sierra books by Peter Spear such as The King's Quest Companion, was revised and edited so that there was a second (1991) covering Larry V.
- ↑ Al Lowe Downloads game history (2007). Retrieved on 2007-03-21.
- ↑ Leisure Suit Larry does Hollywood with new comedic adventure video game in 2008. Sierra Online Games (2008-01-17). Retrieved on 2008-06-04.
- ↑ Mobile Games - Leisure Suit Larry's Sexy Pinball Review (2010). Retrieved on 2010-05-16.
- ↑ MSN Mobile - Bikini Beach Volley (2007). Retrieved on 2007-03-21.
- ↑ Mobile Games - Leisure Suit Larry Love for Sail Review (2010). Retrieved on 2010-05-16.
- ↑ Leisure Suit Larry Magna Cum Laude inMobile Game Domain (2010). Retrieved on 2010-05-16.
- Al Lowe's Leisure Suit Larry Troubleshooting page
- Al Lowe (creator) Interview - Adventure Classic Gaming
- Leisure Suit Larry Series at the Open Directory Project
- Al Lowe's Leisure Suit Larry page
- The only remaining preliminary test video for 3-D Larry in Leisure Suit Larry 8
- New Statesman article on Leisure Suit Larry's age verification system
- Extensive Interview with Al Lowe
- The Dot Eaters article featuring a history of Leisure Suit Larry and Sierra.
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