For those who recognize the name Larry Laffer, the reactions probably range anywhere from groans and eye rolls, to fits of laughter and silly shakes of the head. He’s the protagonist of a series called Leisure Suit Larry , one that has enjoyed far-reaching cult status within the video game industry. It’s a franchise in which a sex-starved, middle-aged man seeks out companions wherever he may find them. He relies on his charms and pick-up lines in order to woo the ladies. Many have said that Leisure Suit Larry has had its moment and needs to go quietly into that good night, but I think there is still a place for Larry Laffer.
Let’s travel a little bit further down the Leisure Suit rabbit hole for a moment. There were ten Leisure Suit Larry games, including the original (very creatively titled) Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards, prior to the announcement of Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Don’t Dry . Larry Laffer enjoyed his time in the spotlight in eight of these games (including a remaster of the original). Two parallel titles, Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude , and Box Office Bust , featured a different protagonist, Larry Lovage. Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Don’t Dry , and brings Larry Laffer into the 21st Century. We know for sure that he retains his 80’s sense of fashion, but what about his personality?
I think many can agree that the golden age of the pick-up artist has come and gone. It worked for a time, but the dating and hook-up scene is constantly changing. What worked at one point won’t always work. In the Victorian era, men would give women an “acquaintance card,” that requested the ability to escort her home. The woman then either let him walk with her or not. Just like how in the time of the pick-up line, a man would ask, “Did it hurt when you fell from heaven?” The woman could then engage further in conversation or not. Pick-up lines are seen as more outdated now, just like an acquaintance card would raise some eyebrows. But that doesn’t mean they should be vilified.
Just because pick-up lines, and by association Leisure Suit Larry , are outdated, doesn’t mean they can’t be enjoyable, funny, or popular. Plenty of modern media still uses pick-up lines for comedic effect. I think you’d be hard pressed to hear of any couple that hasn’t used pick-up lines on each other at least once for a laugh. So even Larry Laffer, with his comically (now) old-fashioned pick-up lines, has a place in this world. He’ll suffer failures along with his successes, just like he did back in the day, but they might be considered even more funny nowadays. So long as people remember it’s just a game, and don’t take it too seriously.
Leisure Suit Larry, as a franchise, has already proven that it does not take itself seriously. The newest Wet Dreams Don’t Dry obviously takes the same approach. Larry will have to become adept at using the newest dating app, Timber (re: Tinder), in order to get the girls. He’ll also have access to that other super popular phone app, Instacrap. If you consider the franchise and newest game for what they are, quirky, fun, titillating, and humorous, you’ll do just fine. Leisure Suit Larry will almost certainly still elicit some groans and eye rolls, but Larry Laffer got that reaction in the 90s as well. I think he’s prepared to have a similar effect on the 21st Century.
What do you think about the Leisure Suit Larry franchise? Are you glad it’s still continuing, or are you ready to put Larry Laffer to bed? Let me know in the comments!