In Your End Oh: New Leisure Suit Larry Trailers

By John Walker on March 20th, 2009 at 4:48 pm.

Please, don't hurt the children.

There’s a technique used in everything from reality TV shows about stranding fourteen strangers in a submarine on the moon, to Why I Love The Last Episode Of Why I Love, where the interviewee is asked to include the question in their response. Watch any of these programmes and you can hear the awkwardness as contestants and Stuart Maconie try to crowbar it in as they stare blankly beyond the camera. “I think I deserved to win the insides of a cat because the other contestants couldn’t sing the Ladder Song as loudly as me.” “My first memory of this episode of The Best Episode Of This Show Ever was being asked about my first memory of…” Never has there been a more spectacular example of this art form than Carmen Electra’s, in the new preview videos for the forthcoming Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust.

“Yes, I’ve been cock-blocked before… Yeah.”

It’s out of nowhere, there’s no context, and perhaps offers a taste of the squirm-inducing prospects of another post-Al Lowe Larry release. Box Office Bust once again features Larry Lovage, the nephew of Lowe’s Larry Laffer, trying to get his end away with the breasted beings around him. Rescued from the Sierra/Vivendi/Activision/Blizzard particle accelerator-based collision by Codies, it’s due out next Friday.

The previous game, Magna Cum Laude, was one of the most vile things I’ve had the misfortune to play. In a just universe it should have been decreed illegal to ever go near the licence again. However, that was made by High Voltage Software, and Box Office Bust is made by Team 17. Yes, that Team 17. Since they’re taking a break from releasing Worms again, should we be throwing away previous opinions of the Larry horror, and offering this one a fresh go? Well, yes, we absolutely should. However, it’s not off to a great start with the new trailers. First is the interview with Electra, in which it looks like at any moment she’s going to start begging the police to meet the kidnappers’ demands. (Er, quick warning, while this is technically safe for work, it does sound an awful lot like porn).

Titanic? Seriously? And apparently Brokeback Mountain is getting spoofed too, which just cannot be a good thing in any possible way. Let’s not even discuss “Ginger Vitus”.

The second interview is with Jay Mohr, who is currently great in the surprisingly decent sitcom, Gary Unmarried. He plays Kip, a character who appears to shout and swear a lot.

Oh heavens, it looks horrible. Not horrible in the way that made you want to scrub yourself in a hot bath like Magna Cum Laude. Just horribly not funny. Why, Box Office Bust, what a big… disappointment you look likely to be. I’ve never seen such a huge… penis. Wait, hang on, I got that wrong.

, .

71 Comments »

  1. Radiant says:

    Ahh porn video games.
    A whole genre crushed by youporn.

  2. Radiant says:

    and by a complete lack of wit and subtlety

  3. Darkflight says:

    That’s the Spectacular Spider-Man (Josh Keaton) as Larry, that’s just not right.

  4. Tworak says:

    Wow at the first 22 seconds.

  5. skalpadda says:

    I found myself wanting the interview videos to end around 10 seconds into each.

  6. Ian says:

    Was it Magna Cum Laude that PC Gamer gave a stonking 3%?

  7. John Walker says:

    Ian, yes. And I was being generous.

  8. EGTF says:

    What next? Colonel Custer’s Revenge: Part Two? With Pamela Anderson and ohhhh I don’t know, Patrick Stewart?

  9. Pags says:

    Yes, it was. In fact, it was John Walker who reviewed it.

    Carmen Electra looks like she wants to cry, I feel like stroking the poor lass’ hair and telling her everything will be okay.

  10. Okami says:

    The following Preview is likely to offend everybody.

    Truer words have never been spoken. Written. Whatever.

  11. oceanclub says:

    “Carmen Electra looks like she wants to cry, I feel like stroking”

    Pervert.

    P.

  12. Larington says:

    Umm, how to summarise my reaction to this game… Umm.

    O_o

    Ooooookay.

  13. Fumarole says:

    Oh Larry, how far you have fallen.

  14. gulag says:

    So, Leigh is going to review it for us, right?

  15. Drakkheim says:

    er.. wow… just ..

    *sigh* Well at least they didn’t make it a MMO.

  16. Andy says:

    You know, I actually loved Magna Cum Laude. But I played the German version, where Larry was voiced by Oliver Pocher, a sometimes brilliant, but otherwise annoying B-List Celebrity and comedian. He was perfect for the role and the dialogue was great. The mini-games… not so much. But they were endurable to watch the next scene.

    Maybe I’ll pick this new game up, too. But I basically grew up with Larry games. I could really say that I learned english through these old text based adventures. Ah, Nostalgia.

  17. Kadayi says:

    Agreed about it looking like they’re holding Carmen at gun point or something. Game does not look good in any way shape or form either…

    Also am I the only man who has never found her remotely sexually attractive?

  18. Dean says:

    This actually looks worse than Magna Cum Laude. See, MCL was badly written crap with some dull mini-games, but well, at least it had tits in it.
    That doesn’t make it a good game by any means, but if you know you’re a pretty crap game but want to appeal to the frat-boy Xbox crowd then throwing in a bit of titillation makes sense.
    Whereas apparently this release has no nudity. Which suggests it’s going to alienate the last possible audience for the game…

  19. Steve says:

    Wow. Just wow.
    Carmen looks like she’s been on meth.
    [But almost certainly hasn't - Ed]

  20. LionsPhil says:

    “Ahh porn video games.”

    The bitter irony is that Al’s weren’t. LSL1 (runs under ScummVM these days, woo) is an adventure like any other. The few times Larry gets anywhere, all you see is a big “censored” sign dancing around. Most of your time is spent doing those two Sierra classic activities: i) trying to use every inventory object on every other thing in the game to try to recreate the line of crazed moon logic behind the puzzles and ii) dying.

  21. James Brophy says:

    Ok, quick survey.. how many people have played the previous version; Magna Cum Laude?

    I have. It was a tenner on ps2. and it was fucking great. My Gf kicked me off it because she enjoyed the game play more then I did.

    How was the innovative conversational system missed by the reviewers? Every conversation takes the exact same amount of time but depending on how you do in the mini game below the conversation your going to give good answers or Funny answers.

    However you feel about the subject matter it’s an excellent system that deserves to be ripped of everywhere. It gives you choices about how you answer at the same time as keeping the timing natural for people watching you play the game.

    This is the worst conversation on the game but it shows you the system.

  22. John Walker says:

    The conversation system was terrible! The most banal minigame in the world, barely worth needing to be awake to play.

  23. Rei Onryou says:

    I shall sum up my opinion of the game with this observation: The woman’s breasts on the logo bounced. A lot. That’s all I could garner from the first video.

    @EGTF: I’d buy into that. Patrick Stewart needs to do more games. Just so long as all they used was his voice.

  24. Markoff Chaney says:

    And so goes another one. I even played the last atrocity just to see if it was redeemable in any fashion whatsoever. I must say, I do have the background loading pictures still saved in a folder somewhere, and that provides some modicum of value to me.

    Nothing like the old ones though. I still think that the original LSL has some of the, if not THE, best DRM of any game ever. Its rudimentary attempt to determine age is still hilarious. The OJ question. Truly has ever any game been so predicative and ahead of its time?

    This just looks like slop. I’m sure I’ll pick it up. I hope I can wait until it’s as cheap as Zeno Clash was today.

  25. shon says:

    This may be the one videogame I have no problem pre-judging for suckiness before it comes out.

  26. Xercies says:

    Shame Tell Tales isn’t doing it, it might be half decent then.

  27. Sol Invictus says:

    Wow. That looks even worse than the first game.

  28. JKjoker says:

    i was under the impression this game had been canceled, i was interested initially but yeah, it does look awful, oh, well, this remainds me i never finished lsl2 and 3, i might just go clench my larry thirst with those

  29. Cycle says:

    An ex-girlfriend of mine actually liked Magna Cum Laude too. I encouraged her to play it because it always got her in the mood for lovin’.

    Fucking fantastic game.

    Unless you just played it on your own, then it was a fucking horrible game.

  30. James Brophy says:

    “The conversation system was terrible! The most banal minigame in the world, barely worth needing to be awake to play.”

    But the system allowed for naturalistic comedic flow as opposed to the stop start of most adventure game Dialogue. If you look at the potential of system as opposed to the content it delivers you can see that it’s a great improvement on classic illusion of choice adventure games where you going to be clicking through every option anyway.

    Now you get every option played in a natural style. The game is simple because your supposed to be concentrating on the conversation. You can even choose to dip in to the bad results to make the conversation and the mini game more interesting.

    Where was this done before? How is it not innovative? where was it done better?

  31. skalpadda says:

    I can’t really see any great merit to it, unless you’re playing the game very casually with other people around and just want to keep a conversation flowing. For adventure gaming or role playing I’d rather have a well written good old dialogue tree. That’s my personal opinion of course, and I haven’t played Magna Cum Laude either.

  32. John Walker says:

    James – it was done far better in Fahrenheit, when you had a very short time to indicate which conversation direction you wanted to go in. And it’s looking like it will be done in Alpha Protocol, where you again have a time limit to choose, in order to create a natural flow of conversation.

    I agree it would be nice to see games smoothing out conversation. However, having you swim a sperm along a blue box doesn’t seem like progress to me. You weren’t actively choosing what to say. That what was said was utterly hideous shit didn’t help either.

  33. Reverend Speed says:

    Gosh. Wouldn’t say it’s BETTER than trees (and Mass Effect allows for naturally paced (shit) conversations via (painfully stunted) trees) BUT it’s definitely an interesting and, I’d argue, VIABLE alternative to ye olde systems.

    I’m rubbish at the MCL system (it’s based on forward planning whereas I’m a much more reaction-based gamer for side-scrolling whatzits). I despise the fart and drool reactions you can provoke (which goes a long way to explaining why I’ve never really been interested in the Larry games, anyhow). BUT:

    It’s a very interesting abstraction of maintaining your concentration and avoiding distractions in order to project a suave, attractive exterior. If done well, the conversation will rarely repeat itself in the same way and if the mini-game is compelling (and I’d argue that the MCL one isn’t but different strokes etc) then everyone’s a winner.

    Especially the slightly drunken frat boys and sorority girls I imagine the title was aimed at. Sorry John Walker. Sorry James Brophy.

    Outside of obscuring portions of dialogue tree with labels like HUGE TITTIES and HOTNESS I WANNA BANG YOU, using Space Giraffe-style effects to simulate inebriation (and how do you work in the self-discipline to not vomit or piss yourself into that system?), using a Bloodlines RPG system to control your available responses in conjunction with your state of inebriation (how fluid!) and/or adding a timer to conversations (ala the great, hilariously flawed Fahrenheit – another good cinematic conversation system) … I’m not sure how else to manage these disparate elements in a traditional tree.

    The mini game breaks the relaxed control you have when using a dialogue tree (even with a timer) and forces you to deal with undesirable impulses in real time. I wouldn’t use it in all games. But one where you’re chatting up girls while severely over your limit and sweating pure fear? Sure. Hell, that’s genius, in principle. Still not a big fan of the implementation.

    Of course, this does somewhat reduce the sophistication of the original games – note worthy for being the first titles to introduce bodily function buttons.

    Dear zombie jesus on a FUCKING–

    Nnngh.

    One day I’m going to play those games and they had better be FUCKING SPECTACULAR, y’hear?

    On the other hand MCL was a silly romp with giggling friends. Wouldn’t buy it, but I can see the appeal.

    Fuck those developers. Fuck them for trying something new. And innovative. And, dammit, clever.

  34. Radiant says:

    “Magna Cum Laude!
    Geddit? Cum! That’s funny!”
    If you’re going for obvious funny then there better be some faces hit by frying pans.
    Monkey Island was obvious funny.
    If there was Monkey Sexy Island I would play that.

  35. Radiant says:

    Don’t make that.

  36. Nick says:

    Comment once, shame on you, comment twice.. you can’t comment again.

    But yeah, the trick is so they save on time not having to reshoot the question asking pleb later (generally they only have one camera for interviews, so they shoot the person answering them, then later they shoot someone asking the questions and nodding then edit the two together).

  37. Reverend Speed says:

    Magna Cum Laude

    Vrs.

    Passionate Patti Does a Little Undercover Work

    Discuss.

  38. John Walker says:

    Nah Nick, it’s a technique used in all reality TV, where they have the participants emphasise the action by reflecting on it throughout. There’s never any intention of the producer asking the questions being seen or heard.

  39. Mort says:

    Wait, so to talk in Cum Laude you have to LEAD SPERM TO CATCH HAPPY FACES AND AVOID FERTILE OVULES?! (they´re that or some kind of cogs… I can´t tell from the low res video; either freaks me out eaqually).

    Farenheit had those “dragon´s lair scenes”… I just hate those. But the dialog system was fluid enough and you didn´t have to (dear god) play a side scroller with sperm…

    About this new larry game: the voice acting seems well done, but those graphics are completely void of charm… The graphics are either “cute” enough to provide a funny context for the jokes or they´re not and the jokes have to be all that much funnier to distract you of the total lack of charisma of that “larry”.

  40. KBKarma says:

    Oh, Team17. The first PC game I ever owned was Worms. And now you’re making this.

    I’ll not buy this. It’s a comment on the game, not the developer. T17 might make it great, but I’m not one for the porn games. With any luck, they’ll stun us all with something else after this.

    Though Worms Open Warfare 2 was pretty good.

  41. James Brophy says:

    Thanks for replying.

    “having you swim a sperm along a blue box doesn’t seem like progress to me.” Ahem.. yes. that’s a point, it’s got silly and potentially offensive trappings. However the game is dressed up the juxtaposition of the mini game to the speech is still an innovation and remarkable for forwarding the genre.

    Fahrenheit felt very antiseptic to me. I loved it at the time but the quick time events were far too separate from the gaming experience to make them feel natural. I only understood the bug dodging sequence after I saw someone else play it … all I could see was the game of Simon I was playing that was overladed on the action. I still say larry’s game has better integration between game and scene even though I do conciede it’s trying to do far less.

    While larry may be made for cheap brainless laughs at least you don’t actually play a sex game (move stick the thrust) or fight the living embodiment of the internet and a myan god. It’s trying for less and hits it dead on without overreaching.

    Alpha protocol looks interesting, thanks for pointing it out.

    Back to your point. Yes both games you mention do give you limited time to respond. However not couching it in a understandable game makes it feel like an external pressure and an arbitrary limit. I know one person who wouldn’t play Fahrenheit for this reason but enjoys larry; stupid dialog and all.

    The most recent csi game tries to make dialog trees feel more like a conversation and less like a menu by giving you the opportunity to make yourself look like an idiot by bringing up a completely irrelevant piece of evidence. At first blush I like the idea however it does bring us back to the days of having bad click in games and being punished for exploration. Larry again wins here by not punishing you for failure but rather by giving you a different funnier answer and not letting you progress.

    Granted the material is not to your taste, but it’s got a good system at it’s core that deserves recognition.

  42. Reverend Speed says:

    At this point we’re just discussing the mechanics, f’shizzle. Leave yo’ sperm issues at the door, dawg.

    Trees with time limits are great. I dig ‘em, so long as the choices are clearly defined and I have a little time to weigh my options.

    Other folks resent pressure introduced into what is customarily a laid-back moment in a computer game – a time to muse and savor various options.

    MCL does an end-run on this design dilemma.

    Instead of an unpalatable version of the system you’re used to, you’re presented with a simple mini game (of admittedly questionable quality) – a symbolic guide-em-up with penalties and bonuses that tie directly into your conversation.

    If it’s a good game, then you get the flow of an arcade game with the (variable) intellectual feedback of an adventure game.

    S’fuckin’ genius.

    The only question I have is to what other stories could you apply this system?

    Perhaps you’ve been administered by a truth drug. Truth drugs – to my knowledge – don’t enforce a greater level of veracity in your responses to your questioners…

    …they just make you more inclined to talk.

    And talk.

    And, oh, talky talk talk. Natter. Etc.

    And the skillful inquisitor then steers your attention towards topics you’re normally disinclined to discuss and oh, snap, did I just say that?

    I can’t quite see Alpha Protocol using this exact system, but I still think it’s worth a little thought. You have to avoid topics you don’t want to talk about while hitting zingers to annoy your questioners and distractions to divert their attention.

    As I say, the system as described in the paragraphs above is a little… cartoonish? maybe?… for the topic, but it might actually represent the experience a little more closely than a straight dialogue tree + time limit. And given that, it deserves some serious consideration.

    And in passing, I dug Fahrenheit’s QTEs a lot. Fluid, specific action, no tutorial needed, immediate fun. Barmy though. Cage, why hast thou forsaken us?

  43. DigitalSignalX says:

    No comment for Leisure Suit Larry.. but wanted to add that yeah Carmen Electra has definitely found an appropriate niche to make up for modeling.

  44. malkav11 says:

    Magna Cum Laude was probably the worst game I’ve ever wholly enjoyed. I mean, yes, it’s basically a collection of minigames, most of which are totally awful, and only one of which (the conversation one) is at all notable (and still questionable even then). Incidentally, it’s not unlike (I’m going to be stoned for this) the most recent Pirates! in this – the difference is most of Pirates! minigames are good. But both have that format and then items you can purchase or otherwise obtain to help out in minigames you suck at. I did appreciate MCL’s system of being able to skip things you just weren’t able to manage by spending some of their tokens.

    And yes, a fair bit of the humor was quite crude (and not especially funny, in those bits), and there was a decidedly puerile tone to a lot of it – what do you expect, really? But here’s the thing – a lot of it was also totally off the wall and out of left field. Band camp geek girl, ha ha so funny stereotype not….wait, she’s possessed by a demon? That sort of thing hits my humor center dead on. So I found MCL much funnier than I ever did the rather groan-inducing innuendo of previous LSLs.

    And, to be entirely honest, I’m not averse to a bit of CGI nudity.

  45. The Apologist says:

    But I really liked Worms. This is…but…

    /cries

  46. skalpadda says:

    Well the influence system in Oblivion was sort of fluent as well, and certainly different, but like this it didn’t make that much sense or make the game any better.

    I’m sure someone could make a system of mini games work well for making flowing dialogues, but just making something different does not automatically mean it deserves praise.

    Let’s say Bioware replaced the dialogue trees with a mini game where purple unicorns in speed boats zoomed across the bottom of your screen whenever a dialogue happened and you had to beat them to death with a tube of toothpaste glued to an ironing board. The more unicorns you killed the more evil your answer would be.

    I have no doubt a few people would appreciate this new approach to dialogue in games, but most would probably look on in horror and say “This is fucking stupid!”.

  47. Reverend Speed says:

    [Key point: Have never played Oblivion. Whatchu mean by 'fluent', Willis?]

    Yeah, but as I say, the very fact that it could be said to model that conversation-under-pressure dynamic better than the traditional systems means that it’s worth taking a look at AND THEN IMPROVING.

    It’s not that it’s different. It’s that, in some ways, it’s better.

    And the Unicorn thing is somewhat missing the point. Overexaggerating to make your case, yes, but the MCL system isn’t about being good or evil, it’s about achieving a set goal with a sufficient level of success.

    If you were to introduce morality to the system, I’d weigh the quantity of obstacles & bonuses in relation to the quantity of renegade and goody-two-shoes points you’d gathered.

    It doesn’t take much imagination to think of more appealing forms of ‘guide-em-up’. Have a think about other forced-forward motion in games.

  48. Nick says:

    John – ah, well, I have little to no experience nor exposure to reality TV beyond being irritated by the adverts for it.