bert plays Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded

Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded is a remake of a VGA remake of a graphic remake of a text adventure

Bertrand Fan
Jan 22, 2014 · 4 min read

In the beginning, there was softporn.

It wasn’t a very good game. In fact, the only reason we know it exists is because it was remade into Leisure Suit Larry.

Leisure Suit Larry was a good game. It changed what we thought adventure games were capable of. It also taught me to spell the word prophylactic.

A few years later, though, Sierra made a decision to remake a lot of their classic games in VGA, including Leisure Suit Larry. They got rid of the text parser and switched to a point-and-click interface. Many fans of Sierra games at the time were upset, myself included. I always thought that by switching to icons for actions, some of the nuance of the puzzles was lost.

The bigger complaint that people had was that Sierra was essentially selling us the same game. The scenes, puzzles, and script were all exactly the same - they had only dressed it up a bit with fancier graphics, better sound, and a mouse-based interaction. Why would we want to buy and play the same game?

After Double Fine Adventure paved the way on Kickstarter for cashing in on nostalgia, Al Lowe announced a Kickstarter to recreate Leisure Suit Larry with “a modern point-and-click/touchscreen interface” and “updated, ultra-high res graphics”.

What?

Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded is a remake of a VGA remake of a graphic remake of a text adventure.

It’s terrible. It’s so terrible that you start to question what you ever saw in Leisure Suit Larry in the first place.

When you played the old Leisure Suit Larry games, you always knew that Larry was a loser but there was something endearing about him that made you empathize with him. I don’t feel that at all with this Larry.

This Larry creeps me out. This Larry tells bad, misogynistic jokes that only a 13-year old could laugh at. But maybe that’s it — despite the easily memorizable, forever trapped in time age verification questions, Leisure Suit Larry was always meant for children.

Maybe this is the extremely long con; the way that you spend most of your life pirating Adobe Photoshop until suddenly you get a desk job and you’re filling out a software license request for Adobe Creative Cloud paid for every month by your employer. Children are now adults that could never have bought Leisure Suit Larry in the first place and we feel this obligation to redeem ourselves. Back this Kickstarter and absolve yourself of guilt!

It doesn’t work, at least for me. The whole thing just seems tedious and sad.

At what point did this go from being fun to being pathetic? It’s the same pick-up line in the original. Somewhere in this evolution, we’ve hit Larry’s uncanny valley.

The difference between the two is that this Larry forces you to fill in the details. Since adventure games are essentially you assuming the role of the protagonist, we try to fill in those details with who we want Larry to be — a better person. But we know, through the power of remakes, that 16-color Larry and high-definition Larry are the same person. They have the same motivations and morals and leisure suit.

    Bertrand Fan

    Written by

    platform engineer at slack