An unmistakable flamingo pink box harboring the promise of virtual teenage sex pulsated amidst the circa-1987 Target shelves overrun with copies of Oregon Trail and Think Quick. Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards, the holy grail of pubescent computer games, was calling out to me. And when my friend Brocktoon and I procured a copy with one of the twenties my grandma used to slip in my hand every time she came to visit, we couldn't Schwinn home fast enough to slide the 5.25" floppy disk into my Apple IIgs (purchased for me by my parents, to whom I was upholding my promise to use the computer for educational advancement). I can still feel the anticipatory sweat running down the side of my face as Brocktoon and I anxiously waited for the 5-minute booting process to complete.
And then we were up. We were running. We were...hit with the age verification quiz. WTF? This had us worried. This could have been a legitimate wrench in our plan. Had I not been well-schooled in the psychology of multiple choice tests, and the process of elimination. After 4 or 5 passes, we were standing outside Lefty's in the city of Lost Wages. We were the game's protagonist, Larry Laffer, and, finally, we were ready to walk into our very first bar.
OK, sure, the jokes were corny, and the game never quite delivered on its promise of nudity, but the graphical adventure game-play was revolutionary for the time. And, from Faith to Fawn to Larry's dream girl, you always had the hope that something(s) you had never seen was just around the corner. With my first (and last!) introduction to prostitutes, venereal diseases, and prophylactics, Leisure Suit Larry was my "street smart" version of Where Did Babies Come From?.
Now, with the help of Kickstarter and Replay Games, original Larry mastermind Al Lowe is hoping to recreate the game with fine tunings representative of 21st century technology (read: real boobies?!) so I can relive one of the most simultaneously awesome and pathetic experiences of my formative years.
Being a denizen of Lost Wages, it probably doesn't come as a surprise that Larry needs some capital. Currently over halfway to his Kickstarter funding goal of $500,000, Lowe has stuffed the Larry reloaded listing with some bangin' spoils for investors. $15 gets you a link--a legal one--to download a ticket to ride with the new and improved Mr. Lounge Lizard when he makes his comeback in October 2012. Naturally, incremental increases in funding come with incremental increases in schwag, notably: Alpha and Beta testing participation privileges for backers pledging $75 or more; and the aforementioned, plus a bevy of collectibles, including Leisure Suit Larry playing cards, casino chips, condoms, and a CD of the game's music for those at the $250 mark and higher.
But the real perks start percolating around the $2,500 mark, at which point guarantors earn their 15 minutes of infamy as actual characters in the game. Want to yell, "Pervert!" at Larry when he tries to buy a lubber at the convenience store? Want to be a patron sitting on your very own stool at Lefty's? A pant-splitting maniac at the Lost Wages disco? The--as in the one and only--broke gambler wandering the streets, wearing nothing but a barrel? Then fire up your credit cards, people, and support the arts, support the return of 1987, and support yourself a snug spot in the definitive digital annals of adult entertainment. Long live Leisure Suit Larry!