Jim . . . Lowe?
These two men and their games loom large in my time here as a blogger for The Adventurers Guild. Of the 11 titles I’ve reviewed since 2015— Leisure Suit Larry 1: Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards (VGA Remake), Leisure Suit Larry 5: Passionate Patty Does A Little Undercover Work, Police Quest III: The Kindred, Conquests of the Longbow: The Legend of Robin Hood, Robin of Sherwood: The Touchstones of Rhiannon, Police Quest: In Pursuit of the Death Angel (VGA Remake), Lure of the Temptress, L.A. Law: The Computer Game, Quest for Glory III: Wages of War, Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist, and Blue Force—a whopping six, or 55 percent, have been designed by either Al Lowe (Larry 1, Larry 5, Freddy Pharkas) or Jim Walls (Police Quest 1, Police Quest 3, Blue Force). If my math is correct (dubious), that’s over half. Of the remaining five, two have been about Robin Hood, one has been a Quest for Glory game, and two have been garbage. Ah well. They can’t all be winners.
(I did get to interview Conquests of the Longbow designer and all-around legend Christy Marx, which was really cool, but interviews don’t count as reviews.)
The point is, with Larry 6, my total of Al Lowe or Jim Walls games reviewed for this site is up to 7 out of 12, bringing that total up to 58 percent. I swear, when I signed up for this blog, I did not expect to play cop games or immature sex games. It just . . . sort of happened.
But fun. And therein lies the dichotomy of Al Lowe, the paradox, if you will, of this complex, multifaceted man, this artist—nay, auteur—a musician, comedian, programmer, and game designer who infuses his games with all of the things that make life worth living . . . that make life life.
Things like horse flatulence.
|Al Lowe, finger on the pulse of what binds us all.|
“Excellent” being a relative term, because these are stupid sex jokes that a 13-year-old would be like “Man, that’s dumb.” But I find some of them funny. Go figure.
I mean, this game makes fun of women, men, gays, blacks, whites, straight people, fat people, everyone I can think of. In my playthrough 20 or so years ago, I remember a particular homosexual character who is depicted in a way that would never be allowed now. Sensibilities have changed, and when discussing comedy from a different time, you need to remember that. But still . . .
Ever watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)? I did for the first time around 2011. Remember Mickey Rooney’s portrayal of Holly’s landlord, Mr. Yunioshi?
Back to the gay character in Leisure Suit Larry 6: I remember being . . . off-put by him when I played the game back in the day. It seemed a bit much to have the token gay be a flamboyant lisper, although it made some sort of sense in the context of the game given that (a) such a stereotype exists for a reason, (b) I can turn on my TV and find actual gay men who speak in this manner, (c) everyone is a broad stereotype in Larry games, and (d) everyone in Larry games is really, really horny.
The gay character rubbed me the wrong way, though, because it felt too overdone. Have a gay character, make fun of them, whatever—I remember the lesbian character in Larry 6 being funnier and far less offensive—but this just felt mean. And it’s none of that b.s. about comedy “punching up” instead of “punching down”: comedy always has punched down and still does to this very day, so stop kidding yourself. It’s about being funny, being technically competent, delivering the joke well, and revealing a deeper truth underneath the laughter that we can all recognize and relate to.
I’m sure I’ll have more to talk about when I actually start playing the game. I’m sure you will to. In light of this, I will give everyone my solemn pledge:
I, Alex, who reviews games for The Adventurers Guild (formerly The Adventure Gamer), am only reporting what I see in this game and my impressions of it, and in no way, shape, or form intend my write-ups of jokes and situations in this game to offend anybody reading them. Further, I will not add insult to injury by insulting any commentor, and merely ask that you all do the same, for if you do start levying personal insults my way, I will not hesitate to respond in kind.
We good? We good. With that out of the way, let’s get into the manual.
I’m playing the collection I downloaded from GOG.com a quadrillion years ago, so I don’t have the actual, physical thing to get my sweaty hands on (hey, is that an Al Lowe-tier joke?). I like to scour these manuals for hints and get the flavor of a game. I don’t recall Larry 6 having copy protection hidden in the manual, but before starting it’s worth making sure so I don’t do that ass + u + me thing.
|Wow, just like the real thing!|
“In some ways, a return to the original. With Larry 6, I wanted to provide an area where the player could roam around and see almost anything within the first few minutes of play, and yet provide enough depth of play that the game would challenge most players. No long auto-pilot cartoons. No Passionate Patti to provide political-correctness. No involved heavy plot. Just more babes, more silly situations to humiliate Larry, and more babes. (Did I mention the babes?)”From my memory of playing Larry 6, I would describe this as accurate. Otherwise, that’s it for the manual besides the technical information of how to install and play, an explanation of the interface, and so on. No codes, no maps, no secrets, no nothing. In one way, that’s a relief, but in another, detailed manuals are one of the things I enjoyed about old adventure and RPG games. C’est la vie, times change, and change is the only constant in life. And as Confucious said, may we live in interesting times.
|“That’s cultural appropriation!”|
|I’m reasonably certain this copyright notice says 1994 because I’m am playing the later CD-ROM version with improved graphics and the addition of voice acting.|
|Hey look, it’s Al, who actually plays the saxophone and wrote the Larry theme himself. Hi Al!|
By the way, “Aqualung” by Jethro Tull is a pretty disgusting song.
|Wait, you’re telling me this guy wrote a disgusting song?|
|And so the story beings.|
Prefiguring today’s horrid cultural landscape, the game calls this “embarrassment TV.” It’s so embarrassing, that when some lady named Shallow shows up in her overly huge “Hollywood limo” . . .
|“Blah blah blah.” This lady has as shrill a voice as you can imagine.|
|I forgot this dumb-dumb’s name, but there’s obviously a Richard Nixon joke. Al Lowe is a Boomer, so if his frame of reference wasn’t Richard Nixon, it was going to be Woodstock.|
|Thank you, Mr. Narrator sir.|