Leisure Suit Larry 4: The Missing Floppies

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Leisure Suit Larry 4: The Missing Floppies is a never-made fourth installment of the Leisure Suit Larry franchise. The name, used by official sources and fans, refers to gossip which implies that the reason for the cancellation of the game was the losing of the game's original production floppies. The claim is that this forced the developers to remake the game from scratch which they refused to do. Other sources claim that it was nothing but an internal office prank.[1] The franchise's installments, however, continue to be numbered as if this installment had been published. (The actual fourth installment of the franchise was its next, Leisure Suit Larry 5: Passionate Patti Does a Little Undercover Work.)

Official reasons for cancellation[edit]

Two official reasons were given by Al Lowe for the cancellation of Leisure Suit Larry 4. The first was that Sierra had indeed begun work on a multiplayer installment of Leisure Suit Larry that was to be played out over The Sierra Network, but the project failed, mostly due to technical reasons, and thus the planned multiplayer game was shelved. The other reason was that the ending of Larry 3 was very definitive and somehow metafictional, since it showed Larry and Patti coming to the Sierra studios to make games based on their adventures, as well as living happily in a mountain cabin in Coarsegold. This completed a relatively cohesive trilogy with no sequel planned; Al Lowe was at a dead-end because he couldn't find a way to start a new story arc.

On April 27, 2012 Al Lowe revealed what exactly had happened to the fourth installment in a video made for his then Kickstarter project:

I went to do Larry 4. Was working on that and I was really stuck, I mean, it was just horrible because I had ended up with, you know, he was in love with his girlfriend and everything was, they were married and they were happily ensconced on this, you know, beautiful setting and everything was good and it was like 'Oh my God. How am I going to go from here? There's nowhere to go'. So, I was really having trouble and I sat and thought, took notes and did everything, but nothing came.

One day I was up at the office and I ran into a woman, Liz Jacobson, in the hallway and she said "What are you working on now Al? Larry 4?" and, like a smartass, I said 'No, Larry 5. Yeah, of course Larry Five' and it was like 'Oh my god! That's the answer! I don't.. Who says I have to do a mid-sequence? Why do I have to do four now? I can skip that completely, Do Larry 5 and then refer to 4 through' and it was just like a big insight that happened because of a smart ass remark. It became a real godsend because suddenly with, you know, things were wide open. He could be anywhere, do anything and I had the honor of the, you know, this lever of being able to say '.. and you remember back during Larry 4 how this was..' you know. It didn't dawn on me at the time, for me it was a way out of a hole that I had dug for myself, but it became a real marketing coup too because when the sales people went out to sell Larry 5. The universal question from the buyers was 'Wait, Larry 5, what happened to Larry 4?' and we immediately got Mindshare, which is half of making a sale. So, the sales of Larry 5 were just great because of that and plus it became one of software's big jokes. It's a fun thing to say.

—Al Lowe, Fireside Chat[2]

Leisure Suit Larry 5[edit]

Al Lowe skipped the fourth part altogether in order to bypass the continuity issues presented by the finale of Larry 3. This allowed him to introduce (intentionally) some grey plot points and to freely begin a whole new adventure with Larry 5. According to production notes (given by Lowe himself), the following events must be assumed to have happened between Larry 3 and Larry 5 in order to logically connect the two games:

  • Larry and Patti plan to marry.
  • Patti leaves him at a Yosemite church to pursue her career, but Larry is gone when she returns.
  • The villain of Larry 5, Julius Biggs, somehow steals the game disks and Larry suffers amnesia.

The absence of the floppy disks was introduced as a plot element in the sequel to explain how Larry, as a computer generated character, came to suffer from amnesia.

Appearance in other sources[edit]

Leisure Suit Larry franchise[edit]

In Magna Cum Laude, if you look on the computer in Larry's room, you can see Leisure Suit Larry 4 being played. If you use the "look" option, Larry will say, "Leisure Suit Larry 4: The Missing Floppies is widely considered the greatest video game ever made." The Laffer Utilities and the Leisure Suit Larry 1 VGA remake are each sometimes unofficially credited as Larry 4, as the first was the fourth ever Larry production, and the latter, the fourth game to be made in the franchise.[citation needed] However, similar VGA remakes of Space Quest I, Police Quest I, and Quest for Glory I were not given new numerical titles. Ken Williams also appears in a scene in the LSL1 remake and mentions that the "Missing Floppies" are still missing.

The Official Book of Leisure Suit Larry[edit]

Larry admits he didn't write the first three larry games, Al Lowe was the man in charge. Larry just helped with the games. Al Lowe says that he let Larry write a single game of the series, Leisure Suit Larry 4. Larry had lost the floppies Larry 4 was on, and naturally he hadn't made any backups. Larry doesn't remember any of this, and wondered if Al was mad at him. Al Lowe wasn't mad, but believed they would turn up soon or later. He wondered if they had been mixed up in some stuff they had sent to Ralph Roberts or Stephen Levy for the last before this one. That they would let him know if they found it. But the way Roberts kept his office, he wouldn't be surprised if it was in a pile there somewhere.[3]

Leisure Suit Larry's Bedside Companion[edit]

Peter Spear mentions that in Summer 1990 while he was finishing editing his first edition of the Bedside Companion, Larry telephoned him that he had finished up a new computer game, he called Leisure Suit Larry IV: The Missing Floppies, and that Patti had composed a score for it, and that it would be on sale in time for Christmas. It was based on the incredible and sexy things he had done since he escaped Nontoonyt, and began his life as a programmer. It was all in his diary, and Spear could have it, to write his next edition. He wanted Peter and his editor to include it in the next edition, and they agreed. He promised to email a copy of his diary and send copies of the game that afternoon. When the disks didn't arrive, they waited several more days, and wondered if the Postal Service was at fault. They attempted to call Larry, but only got his answering machine.

They believed in him, so they held the presses until the arrival of his new material, but had to give up, and published the first edition of the Bedside Companion without it. They never saw the new game, their calls were never returned, and the game was never published.

Sierra Online was also left wondering what happened to Larry. They sent someone to his house, but it appeared deserted. Half-eaten microwave burrito had been left on a plate, a full glass of Chateau Quiki rouge was next to it, some dead flies, crumbs, and a dead moth floating in it. Larry's CD player was playing mail-order 70's Disco music on auto-repeat. It was hot to the touch, and been playing for days, if not weeks. The TV was turned to the Brady Bunch Network. The police found no clues to Larry's disappearance, and the FBI filed his case under "Missing Persons" right behind Jimmy Hoffa. That is how it stood until April 1991, when Larry called from Camp David. He wasn't entirely sure what happened to him immediately after his last phone conversation. But he knew that organized crime had stolen The Missing Floppy disks, and that he had been suffering from amnesia because of it.

What he could remember he reworked into Larry V, and that was worked into the Second Edition of the Beside companion. But as far as Peter Spear knew The Missing Floppies were still missing. He speculates its possible that he was finally able to recover them, and was using them to relive his past, and that he might be happier there.

The Missing Floppies covers a year or so of Larry's life. Larry suffers amnesia of that entire year. Patty tried to fill him in on as much as she knew. He tried to write down as much that both of them knew in his diary. Most of what Larry remembers begins in LOS Angeles and is the start of Larry 5.

Julius Bigg was humming the music Patti scored for the game. He had destroyed the master disks and tapes. Somehow, Bigg's destruction of Leisure Suit Larry 4: The Missing Floppies caused Larry's amnesia.

Leisure Suit Larry 4: The Folder[edit]

A folder entitled LSL4 could be found on the CD of several of the Leisure Suit Larry Collections. Inside Al Lowe left a note in readme file which states;

Leisure Suit Larry 4: The Missing Floppies
by Al Lowe
No, it's not here.
No, it's never going to be.
Why? I never wrote it.
Why not? I didn't want to.
(Besides, who says sequels have to be done sequentially?)

Leisure Suit Larry 1 VGA[edit]

Ken Shows up to advertise the games of the series. He would advertise LSL4 if the disks show up again.

"You may wonder why I didn't mention `Leisure Suit Larry 4: The Missing Floppies!'"

"Me, too. The problem is: we don't know where it is! You know me; if we COULD find it, I'd sell it!"

Leisure Suit Larry 5[edit]

Leisure Suit Larry 4: The Missing Floppies are advertised in the about screen of Larry 5 along with other games by Al Lowe. With the advertisement saying to order spare copies of the games. It mentions though that people should probably avoid ordering Larry 4 just yet, as they had seemed to have misplaced their master copies.

The manual mentions that anyone who goes after Patti will have a little competition. That the relationship is detailed in a computerized expose form with the unlikely title Leisure Suit Larry 4: The Missing Floppies. Pattie refused to tell where to find a copy, and no software store the authors contacted had any knowledge of the game.

Larry is suffering from amnesia in Larry 5. The last thing he remembers before the missing memories are; He was writing his life story as a computer game, sitting on a deck with a half-naked woman, overlooking a beautiful lake high in the Sierra Nevadas (this a reference to the ending of LSL3).[4] He only remembers woman named Patti; his time on Nontoonyt Island and his that he had a gig as a computer programmer (these were also memories of LSL3). He could not remember how he ended up in Hollywood, and what he was supposed to be doing there. He didn't know why he was in Larry 5; and wondered what happened to Larry 4.[5] He realized he was suffering from amnesia, but didn't know how a computer character could suffer from amnesia. Before Larry 4 his memories were in shambles he could only remember bits and pieces. Thus he couldn't remember who Patti was, didn't know if she still existed, if she ever existed, or if she was just partially toggled bits in his memories. This stirred a few more memories that she Passionate Patti the famous pianist/entertainer, and that he loved her, and she loved him.

A plot point in Larry 4 was that Larry may have had his own savings and loan company.[6] Larry once tried to sell flight simulator software from a major computer game company a few years before LSL5 (this may be a pre Sierra or during the LSL4 era). Larry chattered on and on about his computer.[7] Larry spent hours playing Red Baron a game that came out in 1990 (during the period LSL4 was supposed to be in development).

Mr. Bigg had access to the Larry 4 disks. He had played a copy of the game, and even knew the theme song written by Patti. The song was never published recording never released. Mr. Bigg under his alias Julius had hired Patti to create the music, then erased the floppies to keep from paying her. He was the cause of Larry's amnesia.[8]

Larry has several dreams of Passionate Patti having a performances and other events around the world which may happened during the missing period (or at least events he wished he could have with Patty in the future); Larry at Patti's Parthenon concert, a huge success, is now over; the critics have acclaimed her technique, interpretation, and mature musicianship; her promoter is arranging a one-year tour; and the two of you take this opportunity to celebrate.... this is the life! In your dream, you are the handsome gondolier, poling through the canals of Venice with your lone, lovely female customer: Passionate Patti! Everything is going well until.....Larry sticks it in too deeply. Deciding to seize the moment, he wriggles down beside Patti, relying on the subtle canal currents to propel him through his night of love... "It's not hard to see, Patti, the problems of two little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy mixed-up world..." "Larry, in all the scenes, in all the games, in all the world... you had to walk into mine!" "Remember Larry: we'll always have Nontoonyt!" "Here's looking at you, kid!"
They snuggle up together, drifting dreamily through the moonlit canals of Venice, the songs of other gondoliers wafting softly across the waters. Suddenly the gondola springs a most inopportune leak.... Larry watches Passionate Patti perform a rock concert before the reflecting pool of the Taj Mahal! What a great musician! What a romantic setting! What a gorgeous babe!! The Taj Mahal concert has progressed. Late at night, the gig over, the amps and drums packed in the road cases, it's now time for just the two of you, relaxing together on a couple of overstuffed cushions, emotionally drained. To calm herself, and prepare you for the evening ahead, Patti plays a little selection on her oboe.... You soon realize the snake is not the only thing Patti has charmed!

Al Lowe skipped the fourth part altogether in order to surpass the problems of continuing the definite finale of Larry 3. This allowed him to introduce (intentionally) some grey plot points and begin freely a whole new adventure with Larry 5.

According to production notes (given by Lowe himself) the following events must be assumed to have happened between Larry 3 and Larry 5 in order to logically connect the two games:

Larry and Patti plan to marry Patti leaves him at a Yosemite church to pursue her career, but Larry is gone when she returns The villain of Larry 5, Julius Biggs, somehow steals the game disks and Larry suffers amnesia The absence of the floppy disks was a plot element in the sequel since this is the explanation why Larry, as a computer generated character, came to suffer from amnesia.

The Laffer Utilities[edit]

The About message warns not to order Leisure Suit Larry 4: The Missing Floppies since Sierra was presently unable to find the master disks. It says Sierra will let people know when its ready, "okay?".

The program shows various scenes of Larry with Passionate Patti presumably during the missing years.

Leisure Suit Larry 6[edit]

One can ask for a copy of the hintbook for Leisure Suit Larry 4.

Leisuire Suit Larry 7[edit]

Rod may be Ken (Ken Williams[disambiguation needed]) who hid all the floppy disks from Larry 4.

Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude[edit]

Larry Lovage has one of the only known copies of the game.

Larry Laffer speaks of his time working for Sierra Online designing his own games, and the Laffer Utilities.

Leisure Suit Larry: Love For Sale Mobile[edit]

The game takes place during the LSL4 development years, and a subplot for the best ending, requires finding the lost disks.

Chapter 4 goes missing, it is a missing day as Larry sleeps through it, and misses all the events.

Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded[edit]

While Larry remembers most of his life in previous games, Leisure Suit Larry Missing Floppies is a hole in his memories.

This easter egg is difficult to replicate, and may have been made more difficult by later versions of the game. It requires being able to interact in the alley, before being beaten up by the Bruiser.

Space Quest IV[edit]

Space Quest IV: Roger Wilco and the Time Rippers, another Sierra game, played with the idea (of missing floppies) extensively. Unbeknownst to the employees of Sierra On-Line, the disks here were apparently stolen by an agent of Sludge Vohaul, who used them to store his consciousness, upon his demise in Space Quest II: Vohaul's Revenge. Later, the floppies were found floating in space by scientists from the Xenon Super Computer Project. When the game was installed on the computer, Vohaul's consciousness was unleashed on the planet, and the events leading up to the fictional, future sequel Space Quest XII: Vohaul's Revenge II began. In the same game, Roger can also erase the game from the supercomputer when he accesses its mainframe, but this is not mandatory to complete the game.

Other media[edit]

MAD Magazine had proposed what Leisure Suit Larry 4 might have looked like in a 1990 issue spoofing video games. Their idea was "the after effect of Larry's screwing around with the time coming for Larry having to pay the piper." They proposed the idea of Larry in a maze game similar to Berzerk, where he must steer clear of out-of-wedlock pregnancies he has caused, as well as private investigators, case workers and angry fathers wielding shotguns, making it extremely difficult for Larry to continue his infamous carefree attitude towards casual sex. On April 1, 2009 the Abandonware site Abandonia.com released an alleged "leaked copy" for download. This turned out in fact to be an elaborate April Fools Day prank: the screenshots were fakes, the review - fictional and the "game" archive actually contained 55 identical copies of scanned front casing of Xbox 360 version of Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Hardcore Gaming 101: Leisure Suit Larry". Hardcore Gaming 101. Archived from the original on 13 June 2014. Retrieved 2010-02-02. 
  2. ^ Lowe, Al (April 27, 2012). "Fireside Chat, Part 3". Replay Games Inc. on YouTube. Retrieved April 28, 2012. 
  3. ^ TOBOLSL3E, pg 84
  4. ^ Narrator (LSL5)
  5. ^ Narrator (LSL5):""
  6. ^ Narrator (LSL5):""
  7. ^ "If only you had paid attention when Larry chattered on and on about his computer. You know nothing about this computer and are sure you'll be unable to do anything with it."
  8. ^ WHAT?!" shouts Bigg. "You scoundrel! You've been humming the love theme that I wrote for the soundtrack of `Larry 4!' That song was never published and the recording was never released! There's no way you could know it unless you played Larry 4!" Of course, I see it all now. Bigg, you're the man who hired me to create the music, then erased the floppies to keep from paying me! You're the reason my poor Larry has amnesia! You're the man behind K-RAP and des Rever Records! Julius Bigg--you're the man I've been following this entire game!", "des Rever Records' recording studio reminds you of your last studio session, a big two-CD recording of background music for a computer game named "Leisure Suit Larry 4." And of that big contract you signed with a mysterious someone known only as "Julius," who never paid you one red cent for any of your work!"

External links[edit]