Larry Laffer

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Larry Laffer
Leisure Suit Larry character
Larry Laffer VGA.jpg
Larry Laffer, as seen in the 1991 remake of the first Larry game (art by Terry Robinson)
First game In the Land of the Lounge Lizards
Created by Al Lowe
Voiced by Jan Rabson
Jeffrey Tambor (Box Office Bust)

Larry Laffer is a player character and the protagonist in the Leisure Suit Larry series of adventure video games, created by Al Lowe in 1987.

Appearances[edit]

The character is a middle-aged, balding man trying to seduce attractive women.[1] Larry was a nerdy geek all his life and eventually became a computer programmer. He never had close relations with friends, women, or his colleagues, and every day of his life was identical as he lived with his mother. Around his 38th birthday, his brain hit a sexual alarm and started having his first kinky thoughts; he started reading adult magazines and could not concentrate on his work. Because of this his life was destroyed; he was fired from his job, and upon returning home he found his house had been sold and his mother had left for vacation. Larry then decided to turn a page forward in his life; he left everything and decided to live the wild life. He moved to the city of Lost Wages (a pun on Las Vegas), where, assuming that 1970s styles were still trendy, he bought a polyester leisure suit. He then sold his Volkswagen Bug to a junkyard for $94 and ended up in front of Lefty's Bar, where the first game, Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards, begins.[2]

During the course of the series of games, Larry loses his virginity, is married twice (and dumped twice), becomes a hero of the tropical island Nontoonyt in Leisure Suit Larry Goes Looking for Love (in Several Wrong Places), and eventually, in Leisure Suit Larry III: Passionate Patti in Pursuit of the Pulsating Pectorals, meets his semi-other half, Passionate Patti (who, for some parts of this game as well as of Leisure Suit Larry 5: Passionate Patti Does a Little Undercover Work, is controlled by the player). However, in his more recent games, Patti is absent and Larry roams alone again. The Official Book of Leisure Suit Larry, which was written between Leisure Suit Larry 6: Shape Up or Slip Out! and Leisure Suit Larry: Love for Sail!, hints that Larry was still engaged with Patti during that period,[3] but Al Lowe said in 1999, "I doubt Patti will return to haunt Larry again."[4] Outside of the adventure game series, appears in Sierra's Hoyle Book of Games, Volume I, The Laffer Utilities, Larry Pops Up!, Leisure Suit Larry's Casino, Leisure Suit Larry's Sexy Pinball, Leisure Suit Larry Bikini Beach Volley, and the mobile game version of Love for Sail.

Conception and design[edit]

This is what Larry Laffer used to look like (pathetic, isn't it?). Notice the receding hairline and expanding waist. The cardigan sweater and pocket protector give you a pretty good idea of what is - a totally mild and lazy guy. The "old" Larry Laffer was a confirmed bachelor. At 38 years old, he still lived with his mother, and the idea of asking a woman out was, basically, terrifying. He felt more comfortable at night curling up with a good book (his favorite, "Know Your RS-232 Serial Port") and listening to his record collection, which absolutely reeked of Air Supply and Barry Manilow records. Then one day it hit him. Larry realized that his opportunity to live was passing by faster than an ugly woman on the way to her wedding. So he decided to change. "No more Mr. Nice Guy!" he shouted. "It's time to party!" This is the new Larry Laffer. Underneath all the polyester and gold, he is still the same weenie he always was.[5]

Leisure Suit Larry user manual

Regarding Larry's male chauvinism, Al Lowe said that Larry is intended as a satire of that type of man, rather than an endorsement of it. According to Lowe, Larry was "modeled after a salesman for Sierra On-Line that shall remain nameless. He would return from sales trip and brag to us about how much ass he had gotten. Those of us sitting there coding hated him."[6] While making Leisure Suit Larry 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 a certain 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 and became an infamous point of comical reference among the staff, so the game creators agreed that since Jerry's character suited the game's protagonist, 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 injury attorney Larry H. Parker, a childhood friend of Lowe. 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 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.[7]

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". The "Leisure Suit" part came from Al Lowe's statement to Sierra founder Ken Williams that the series' predecessor Softporn Adventure was so dated that it should be wearing a leisure suit.[6] Originally, Larry was a typical 16-colored sprite, although on box covers he was seen as a cartoon with huge triangular head and nose. As technology advanced to allow more cartoon-like graphics, the VGA games updated the sprite to resemble the depiction of Larry on the covers. In the latter games with full voice-over soundtrack, Larry is voiced by actor Jan Rabson in all games except Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust, where he is voiced by Jeffrey Tambor. Lowe successfully funded an effort to fund the game via Kickstarter.

Reception[edit]

Though feminists have complained about Leisure Suit Larry, it is their opponents among the opposite sex who should be offended. Sure Larry looks at women as sex objects. But [...] unlike James Bond and so many fictional womanizers, Larry repulses women rather than seduces them.[8]

The Seattle Times in 1995

According to Zero in 1992, Larry Laffer has been "a favourite among PC users for years"[9] and GameSpot later recalled how Larry's personality flaws helped to "turn the unappealing antihero into a cash cow" for Sierra On-Line at the time.[10] Retro Gamer included him in their 2004 list of top 50 retro game heroes, noting that "after several episodes, Larry is still as balding and hapless as ever, but he’s just never going to stop on his endless quest for lurve."[11] Larry was voted the 45th top video game character of all time in a 2011 online poll on the website of Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition.[12] He made a homage-type cameo appearance in the Spaceballs: The Animated Series episode "Grand Theft Starship" and was referenced by Charles Stross in Asimov's Science Fiction.[13]

Larry placed third on ScrewAttack's 2010 list of the gaming's top perverts in gaming.[14] Complex ranked him as the third top "really ugly good guy" in 2011,[15] as well as second among top "pervs in video games" in 2012.[16] In 2012, Zoomin.TV ranked him as number one pervert in games,[17] ScrewAttack placed him as sixth on their list of top "hoes of gaming"[18] and GamesRadar included him among the "13 unluckiest bastards in gaming".[19] In 2013, Game Informer called him "one of gaming’s more infamous characters, at least among the people who still remember him by name,"[20] and Complex gave him their "Mr. Thirst" award for the most lustful video game character of all time.[21] A "lecherous" octopus at the Seattle Aquarium was named after the character.[22]

Sources[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ashe, Brian (2006-12-21). "Leisure Suit Larry to Exploit Wii Technology". BBspot. Retrieved 2008-01-28. 
  2. ^ "''The Official Book of Leisure Suit Larry'' Chapter 1 (The Official Biography of Leisure Suit Larry)". Members.tripod.com. Retrieved 2013-06-28. 
  3. ^ "Chapter 5 ''The Official Book of Leisure Suit Larry'' (An Exclusive Interview With Leisure Suit Larry)". Members.tripod.com. Retrieved 2013-06-28. 
  4. ^ "Al Lowe Interview". Adventure Classic Gaming. Retrieved 2013-06-28. 
  5. ^ "Apple Manual: Leisure Suit Larry-Manual". Archive.org. Retrieved 2014-06-15. 
  6. ^ a b Lowe, Al (2012-04-13). "I am Al Lowe, creator of Leisure Suit Larry. AMA!". Reddit. Retrieved April 14, 2012. 
  7. ^ "''The Official Book of Leisure Suit Larry'' Chapter 2 (The Birth of Larry)". Members.tripod.com. 1940-08-14. Retrieved 2013-06-28. 
  8. ^ Kent, Steven L. (1995-02-12). "Business & Technology | Larry's A Loser With Ladies, A Winner With Gamers | Seattle Times Newspaper". Community.seattletimes.nwsource.com. Retrieved 2013-06-28. 
  9. ^ "Zero Magazine Issue 31". Archive.org. Retrieved 2014-06-15. 
  10. ^ Venter, Jason (June 28, 2013). "Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded Review". gamespot.com. Retrieved June 29, 2013. 
  11. ^ Retro Gamer 2, page 39.
  12. ^ "Guinness Names Top 50 Video Game Characters Of All Time - News". www.GameInformer.com. 2011-02-16. Retrieved 2013-06-28. 
  13. ^ Al Lowe. "Larry Sightings". Retrieved 2008-01-28. 
  14. ^ Top 10 Perverts in Gaming, machinima, May 29, 2010
  15. ^ "Larry Laffer – Leisure Suit Larry — 10 Really Ugly Good Guys". Complex. 2011-09-21. Retrieved 2013-06-28. 
  16. ^ "Larry Laffer — The Top 25 Pervs In Video Games". Complex. 2012-03-20. Retrieved 2013-06-28. 
  17. ^ Top 5 - Perverts in gaming, Zoomin.TV, July 23, 2013
  18. ^ ScrewAttack (2012-12-25). "Top 10 Ho Ho Hos of Gaming". Youtube.com. Retrieved 2013-06-28. 
  19. ^ Words: Mikel Reparaz on April 13, 2012 (2012-04-13). "The 13 unluckiest bastards in gaming". GamesRadar. Retrieved 2013-06-28. 
  20. ^ "Larry Laffer Rides Again - Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded - PC". www.GameInformer.com. Retrieved 2013-06-28. 
  21. ^ "1. Leisure Suit Larry — The 25 Thirstiest Video Game Characters of All Time". Complex. Retrieved 2014-06-15. 
  22. ^ Lurking at the Aquarium, Brilliant Houdinis of the Deep (The Washington Post)

External links[edit]