Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Don’t Dry begs the question: Does Larry Laffer really need to make a comeback?

Originally posted @ That Videogame Blog

Get ready to hop back into the starched white, Aqua Velva doused suit of Larry Laffer this fall on PC and Mac, as Leisure Suit Larry returns in an all new point-and-click adventure. From developers CrazyBunchLeisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Don’t Dry (the title alone is enough to make anyone over the age of twelve cringe) boasts this hand-drawn adventure will pit the titular crummy pick-up artist into the 21st century. Promising all the trappings of modern dating, from apps like “Timber” and  “Instacrap,” Larry will be forced to contend with a society evolved beyond his gratuitously archaic sexual precepts, all while attempting to bone his way up a ladder of faceless females to the gold-medal girl of his dreams; the “hot-to-trot” Faith.

I can remember playing the original Sierra Entertainment Leisure Suit Larry games as a kid on my dad’s PC while I was supposed to be playing Kings Quest. I absolutely love point-and-click adventures, and when I was younger I remember thinking the Leisure Suit games were fun, mostly out of a sense that they were “naughty” and “grown-up.” Playing them gave me the sort of thrill that the bookish, shy little do-gooder I was never got to experience in real life. I later revisited them through modern Let’s Plays, like this one by Game Grumps, and got a bit of a laugh out of them as well, but the humour didn’t come from the game itself. I was never laughing with the game or its ham-fisted jokes; it was instead the nervous, uncomfortable laughter of a person revisiting a piece of their childhood that they’d basked in nostalgia, only to discover how incredibly damaging and inappropriate it was in retrospect.

Upon seeing the announcement for Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Don’t Dry, it occurred to me that this resurgence of a long-dead series could go one of two ways: it could either recognize the harmful rhetoric espoused by the earlier installments, or it could gloss over their issues entirely, not changing a damn thing outside of slapping on some 21st century accouterments and excessive jokes about lazy, entitled millennials. If CrazyBunch takes a stance against the discourse of the previous games, pointing out how detrimental the narrative they earlier espoused that “persistence and manipulation will get even the sleaziest sleazeballs the girl of their choosing” was, then good on ’em. If they can take a stance against how the Sierra games positioned women as sexual gatekeepers, whose primary function was to withhold sex until the aforementioned lovable sociopath ticked all the necessary requirements to get in her pants, and they do so in a way that highlights its deeply rooted sexism, then great. I would play that game. I could potentially support that game.

Based on the the press release, Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Don’t Dry catapults Larry into the 21st century straight from the 1980s, leaving him with the mother of all culture shock, and affords him a great opportunity to realize the error of his ways. Tossed into the world of modern romance, Larry could presumably come to realize that women are people, too (shocker!), with lives as complex and priorities as important as he deems his own, and in doing so, the Leisure Suit Larry franchise might carve out its place of relevance in 2018. But from the screenshots I’ve seen of Larry posturing in his “straight out of a time capsule” suit, waggling his brows and sauntering over to whatever poor woman he has his sights on, I’m not getting my hopes up too high.

Personally, I think this resurgence of an age-old series, one that saw both its publisher and creator leaving the company due to a sleazy scandal of their own, is ill-advised and poorly timed. Coming up behind the #MeToo movement, Leisure Suit Larry seems too deeply rooted in a past entrenched in boorish sexism and male superiority to be of any use in our current social climate, and I fear that even the best of intentions, mixed in with the seedy undertone that clings to these games like fungus, can and will be horribly misconstrued. I will be giving it a fair shot, however (don’t @ me, bro), and for those of you to whom a new Leisure Suit Larry sounds like it would be the best thing since sliced bread, you can get yourself a 15% discount on the soundtrack and digital artbook if you pre-order now.

So, you know, don’t say I never did anything for you.

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