This Day in Video Game History: June 4, 1987

How could a game that sold less than 5,000 copies spawn an arguably successful franchise? How could a game that received virtually no backing from its own publisher go on to win an award as the Best Fantasy, Role Playing or Adventure Game of 1987 from the Software and Information Industry Association?

Leisure Suit Larry's first iteration, released on June 4, 1987 for the Apple II did exactly those things.

Larry Laffer, circa 1991
Sierra Online released Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards with virtually no support. The game's premise worried some higher-ups in the company given its cutting edge raunchiness. The game focuses on Larry Laffer, a lame "Ladies Man" wannabe who can't even get laid. In this first entry, Larry is a 38 year old virgin who lives in his mom's house and travels to Lost Wages to meet up with his carnal destiny.

Lost Wages, if you haven't figured out, is Las Vegas and would provide him as good a change as any of achieving his goal.

Given the memory restrictions presented by the Apple II, Larry could only choose from 4 girls to attempt to woo in a linear side-scrolling adventure: An STD-having prostitute (that will result in your game ending quickly if you bed her), a clubber, a receptionist and a "bathing beauty." Each of the girls was given detailed graphic designs while the other NPCs in the game were left very generic, visually.

In 1996, in a beautiful if not planned, coincidence, Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards was named the 69th best game of all time by Computer Gaming World. That ranking has likely dropped since then.

All in all, the Leisure Suit Larry series would comprise of 9 different games and four more which were never released. Larry Laffer would not make it through the entire series as he was replaced with his nephew, Larry Lovage, in the 2004 entry to the series, Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude.

Here is the trailer for Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards:

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