Warp Drive

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Treasure of the Sierra On-Line (LSL) *ADULT THEMES*

Inspired by Al Lowe and Jane Jensen's recent Kickstarters, I have decided to write a blog about Sierra On-Line memories. Scott Murphy and Mark Crowe have also returned!

Warning, if you are easily offended, you may prefer to read something else, like Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat or Martin Handford's Where's Waldo. Now, before we begin, I just have to put something on. It will only take a moment.

Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards

Always practice safe blogging! My experience with Sierra On-Line continues in late 1997 when, for the first time, I logged onto the World Wide Web, or the Internet as it is more commonly referred to today. My parents signed us up with America Online. I quickly became amazed by the amount of information available at my fingertips. It was not long before I also discovered that the Internet was full of filth, and that is where Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards comes in. The FBI is going to bust down my door for saying this, but I downloaded it from one of those illegal warez sharing sites. Sorry, Al! Hilariously, the tricky part was not in downloading the game itself, but in getting past that silly age verification screen. Who the hell is Pia Zadora, anyway? I eventually managed to pass the test, and for anyone looking to play the game now, you can simply press Ctrl-Alt-X to bypass it altogether! Leisure Suit Larry has a fairly simple premise. You are a 39 year old software salesman. You are also a virgin. You have one night to get laid. If this sounds familiar, you may have seen 2005's The 40-Year-Old Virgin. The game uses a text parser interface for inputting commands (as depicted in the image above). I thought that it was great because I could be as vulgar as I wanted with my commands. e.g. fu**, sh**, eat-out. Wait, that last one is not vulgar... or is it? After the initial excitement of the text parser interface wore off, I began to explore Lost Wages. Think Las Vegas, but somehow sleazier. Larry's travels would take him to a seedy bar, a liquor store, a disco, a casino, and a 24-hour wedding chapel, all in pursuit of love! Surprisingly, I did not have a whole lot of trouble finishing the game. Perhaps my mind was filthy to begin with.

I felt so bad about obtaining Leisure Suit Larry in the way that I did that I almost immediately went out and bought Leisure Suit Larry: Collection Series. I also felt so naughty about carrying the game box up to the cashier! It featured Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards, Leisure Suit Larry Goes Looking for Love (in Several Wrong Places), Leisure Suit Larry 3: Passionate Patti in Pursuit of the Pulsating Pectorals, Leisure Suit Larry 5: Passionate Patti Does a Little Undercover Work, and Leisure Suit Larry 6: Shape Up or Slip Out! Wait, you are asking, what about Leisure Suit Larry 4? As the story goes, Al Lowe wrote the game, but his dog ate the floppies. For you kids out there, floppies were the precursor to CDs. Hey, why are you kids reading this blog!?! Actually, Leisure Suit Larry 4 was never written at all. Al Lowe tied up Leisure Suit Larry 3 so nicely (yet naughtily) that he was unable to think of a way out of it. So, he skipped Leisure Suit Larry 4 entirely, and went straight to work on Leisure Suit Larry 5. Leisure Suit Larry 5 dropped the text parser interface in favor of a point & click interface. Sierra, or at least Al Lowe, must have seen this as a stroke of genius. It freed up a valuable typing hand to be used for other, more important, things.

Al Lowe Documentary

DOSBox; Leisure Suit Larry 4

It would be a number of years before I managed to purchase Leisure Suit Larry 7: Love for Sail! Once again, I had to put in a call to Sierra On-Line. They were only too happy to help (for a nominal fee, of course). Leisure Suit Larry 7 was unique in that it featured not only a point & click interface, but also the classic text parser interface. Fu**, sh**! It also included a scratch and sniff card. Meaning, you would not only see the action on screen, you would smell it, too. Classy. I really hope that #9 is chocolate fudge and not something else! I would also come to own Leisure Suit Larry's Casino. It was not an adventure game, but rather, a collection of casino games tied together via a central hub. There was an online component that allowed you to play and chat with others, but sadly, it is no longer active. It was powered through WON.net (World Opponent Network). Valve acquired the rights to it in 2001, and as they developed and tested their Steam service, WON.net remained online. It was shut down in 2004 when Steam officially launched, killing all but Valve's own online games.

Well, there you have it. Leisure Suit Larry in a bitternutshell (see what I did there?). If you are an existing fan of the series, or if I have somehow aroused your interest in it, be sure to pledge to Al Lowe's Kickstarter, and help bring back Leisure Suit Larry for a whole new generation! Oh, dear God!

CyberSniff 2000

My Al Lowe/Leisure Suit Larry Collection

Now that I have thoroughly soiled my readers, it is time to move on to the next Sierra On-Line series, King's Quest. See you next time!

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