Al Lowe

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Al Lowe
Al Lowe! 3 3 (9559468220).jpg
Lowe at Gamescom 2013
Albert William Lowe

(1946-07-24) July 24, 1946 (age 76)
EducationUniversity of Missouri (MA)
Occupation(s)Video game designer, game programmer, musician
Known forLeisure Suit Larry
(m. 1968)

Albert William Lowe (born July 24, 1946)[1][2][3][4] is an American video game designer, programmer, and musician who developed several adventure games, mostly for Sierra On-Line. He is best known for creating the Leisure Suit Larry series. He has also worked as a casting director, voice director, writer, director, producer, background photographer, actor and executive producer.


Teaching, early programming[edit]

Lowe began his career teaching public school music for 15 years. After that time, he decided to teach himself programming and in 1982 he created three games for the Apple II: Dragon's Keep,[5][6] Bop-A-Bet,[6] and Troll's Tale.[7] He was on Name That Tune in the 1984–85 season and was a semifinalist in one of that season's Tournaments of Champions.

Sierra Entertainment bought these games in 1983 and Lowe worked for them as a programmer and game designer for 16 years. His first projects included Winnie the Pooh in the Hundred Acre Wood, Donald Duck's Playground, and The Black Cauldron, all based on Disney properties. Later, he was lead programmer on King's Quest III and Police Quest I and also created the music for other Sierra games. Lowe is best known for his Leisure Suit Larry series of games. After Larry's success, Lowe also designed other games such as Torin's Passage and Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist (with Josh Mandel). Throughout his career, Lowe was known for his distinctive bald head, full beard, and considerable beer belly, and liked to call himself "the world's oldest game designer". Next Generation listed Lowe in their "75 Most Important People in the Games Industry of 1995", chiefly for the Leisure Suit Larry series.[8]

Sam Suede: Undercover Exposure[edit]

Computer Gaming World reported a rumor in July 1994 that Lowe was working on a new series, Capitol Punishment, with the first game being "Bill and Hillary's Whitewater Adventure".[9] That year he moved with his family to Seattle and supposedly retired in 1998. In a 2006 interview,[1] Al revealed that he was not actually retired, but had spent well over a year secretly designing a new game Sam Suede: Undercover Exposure, an action comedy game developed by iBase Entertainment, which he co-founded with Ken Wegrzyn. Unable to locate a publisher to promote and distribute Sam Suede, iBase Entertainment shut down in December 2006. Following this setback, Lowe expressed serious doubts whether he'd ever reenter the gaming industry again.[10] As of January 2007, the website for Sam Suede developer iBase Entertainment lists the project as postponed pending acquisition of additional development funding.

Later developing[edit]

In 2010, Lowe produced and directed Al Lowe's Comedy Club, developed by The Binary Mill for iOS devices.[11] He has since been recruited by Replay Games to work on high-definition remakes of six of the first seven Leisure Suit Larry games (the fourth entry in the series was deliberately skipped as part of the "fifth" game's plot).[12] On December 11, 2013, it was announced that Lowe had left Replay Games and returned to retirement. While Replay Games' official statement claimed that Lowe's departure was amicable, Lowe himself disputed this, stating that the parting did not happen on good terms.[13]

Al Lowe's Sierra Source Code[edit]

In 2018, Lowe posted a listing at popular auction website eBay of an entire backup of his own works at Sierra because he noted that Sierra had no intention of ever backing up any source code. Lowe said, "I backed everything up because I knew Sierra didn't." These included original floppies, boxes, manuals and source code for various games including popular titles such as the original Leisure Suit Larry and Space Quest among others. Shortly after he posted the listing, he sat down for an in depth interview with MetalJesusRocks, a former colleague and ex-Sierra employee where the two had a detailed discussion regarding the entire collection and its ultimate value.[14]

Personal life[edit]

Lowe grew up in Chesterfield, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis.[4] Both Lowe and his wife Margaret, whom he married in 1968, are University of Missouri graduates.[15][3][16] During college, Lowe played saxophone in university bands,[17] and after graduation, worked in education as a band director.[18]

Lowe is an avid model railroader and a member of the board of directors of the 4th Division of the Pacific Northwest Region of the National Model Railroad Association.[19][20] In November 2007, he was the guest of honor at the Alternative Party 2007 in Helsinki, Finland and played saxophone live with David Hasselhoff Big Band.[21][22] He also runs a website, Al Lowe's Humor Site, and CyberJoke 3000, a daily joke mailing list.


Name Year Credited with Publisher
Bop-A-Bet 1982 programmer Sunnyside Soft
Dragon's Keep 1982 programmer, writer, artist Sunnyside Soft
Troll's Tale 1983 programmer, writer, artist Sierra On-Line
Gelfling Adventure 1984 programmer Sierra On-Line
Donald Duck's Playground 1984 designer, programmer, composer Sierra On-Line
Mickey's Space Adventure 1984 composer Sierra On-Line
Winnie the Pooh in the Hundred Acre Wood 1984 designer Sierra On-Line
King's Quest II: Romancing the Throne 1985 composer Sierra On-Line
The Black Cauldron 1986 designer, programmer Sierra On-Line
King's Quest III: To Heir Is Human 1986 programmer Sierra On-Line
Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards 1987 designer, programmer, writer, composer Sierra On-Line
Police Quest: In Pursuit of the Death Angel 1987 programmer Sierra On-Line
King's Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella 1988 programmer Sierra On-Line
Leisure Suit Larry Goes Looking for Love (in Several Wrong Places) 1988 designer, programmer, writer, composer Sierra On-Line
Leisure Suit Larry III: Passionate Patti in Pursuit of the Pulsating Pectorals 1989 producer, designer, programmer, writer Sierra On-Line
Leisure Suit Larry 5: Passionate Patti Does a Little Undercover Work 1991 director, designer, programmer, composer Sierra On-Line
Leisure Suit Larry 1: In the Land of the Lounge Lizards 1991 director, designer, programmer Sierra On-Line
Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist 1993 designer, writer, voice direction Sierra On-Line
Leisure Suit Larry 6: Shape Up or Slip Out! 1993 director, producer, designer, writer, composer Sierra On-Line
Torin's Passage 1995 designer, writer, composer Sierra On-Line
Leisure Suit Larry: Love for Sail! 1996 director, designer, writer, composer Sierra On-Line
Leisure Suit Larry's Casino 1998 director, designer, writer Sierra On-Line
Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded 2013 designer, writer Replay Games


  1. ^ a b Adventure Classic Gaming (2006). "Al Lowe Interview". Archived from the original on June 10, 2006. Retrieved September 8, 2016.
  2. ^ Lowe, Al. "Clues & Cheats!". Al Lowe's Humor Site. Retrieved January 1, 2023. When I was testing the game...I made my birthday a substitute for any or all of them: 0724.
  3. ^ a b "Paul–Lowe". St. Joseph News-Press. June 23, 1968. p. 9C.
  4. ^ a b "Missouri U. Band Here on April 24". The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. March 25, 1965. p. 7N.
  5. ^ Lucas, Jay (October 24, 1983). "Dragon's Keep, learning game for first graders". InfoWorld. Vol. 5, no. 43. p. 39. Retrieved June 14, 2016. Dragon's Keep is a graphic adventure originally designed by Al and Margaret Lowe and Micheal and Rae Lynn MacChesnet ... Originally they worked under the corporate name of Sunnyside Soft.
  6. ^ a b Mace, Scott (January 17, 1983). "Neighbors from game-software firm". InfoWorld. Vol. 5, no. 3. p. 16. Retrieved June 14, 2016. The company is Sunnyside Soft, which last month released two educational games for the Apple, Dragon's Keep and Bop-A-Bet. ... Al Lowe is head programmer
  7. ^ "SIERRA GOES ON LINE WITH SUNNYSIDE SOFT" (PDF). arcade express. Vol. 1, no. 18. April 10, 1983. p. 3. Sierra On-Line has acquired the product line originally developed by Sunnyside Soft. ...The three educational programs developed by...are 'Bop-A-Bet', 'Dragon's Keep' and 'Troll's Tale'
  8. ^ "75 Power Players". Next Generation. Imagine Media (11): 51. November 1995.
  9. ^ Santos, Ernie Ryne (July 1994). "Cub Reporters?". The Rumor Bag. Computer Gaming World. p. 166.
  10. ^ John Callaham (December 1, 2006). "Interview with Al Lowe following the cancellation of Sam Suede". Archived from the original on December 6, 2006. Retrieved December 3, 2006.
  11. ^ "Al Lowe's Comedy Club". The Binary Mill.
  12. ^ "Exclusive-Leisure Suit Larry Returns in HD". Archived from the original on June 17, 2012. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
  13. ^ Takahashi, Dean (December 11, 2013). "Updated: Leisure Suit Larry creator Al Lowe retires from Replay Games (exclusive)". VentureBeat. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
  14. ^ Machkovech, Sam (November 30, 2018). "Al Lowe reveals his Sierra source code collection—then puts all of it on eBay". Ars Technica. arsTECHNICA. Retrieved January 14, 2022.
  15. ^ McKenna, Marti (Spring 1990). "Ladies and Lounge Lizards: Al Lowe". Sierra News Magazine. I have a Masters in music from the University of Missouri.
  16. ^ "Board Names Band Director". The Daily Capital News. Jefferson City, Missouri. May 15, 1968. p. 2.
  17. ^ "'Marching Mizzou' to Give Concert at Kiel Auditorium on Mothers Day". Naborhood Links News. St. Louis County, Missouri. May 4, 1966. p. 28.
  18. ^ "Winter Concert Includes Combo". The Mexico Ledger. February 16, 1973. p. 3.
  19. ^ "Model Railroader Al Lowe Lives on Little Rails". Seattle Met.
  20. ^ "4th Division of the Pacific Northwest Region of the National Model Railroad Association – Contact Us". Archived from the original on May 16, 2008. Retrieved January 16, 2010.
  21. ^ Adok, Magic. "Al Lowe interview". Hugi Magazine. Archived from the original on May 13, 2009. Retrieved April 4, 2009.
  22. ^ fiikus (November 5, 2007). "DHBB feat Al Lowe". Retrieved April 4, 2009.

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