I really don’t like Betty White.
Unfortunately for me, she seems to be returning to the public eye. I see her in commercials for candy bars. She often appears in cameo appearances in TV shows. Frankly, I don’t see the appeal, unless maybe it is driven by nostalgia for past, possibly better times. Nostalgia is like that; it softens the edges, it accentuates the positives while ignoring the negatives. To some degree, everything looks better from the vantage point of temporal distance. Don’t believe me? Well, consider Ronald Reagan. He was vilified as a President by roughly half of the country during his presidency, but these days he is held up as a leader to be emulated by both political parties.
I say this as if I exist on some kind of higher mental plane wherein I am immune to the coercive effects of nostalgia. I am not. As evidence of this, I point you to the enthusiastic response I gave to the editor-in-chief of this website when he asked if I would be interested in looking at a remake of the venerable adventure game, Leisure Suit Larry. Today’s generation (well, let’s be honest here: the last three or four generations) of gamers, if they have heard of Leisure Suit Larry at all, have heard the hoary old stories from the “good old days” of video gaming of a game that broke all the molds, such as they were back in the dark ages of the late 80’s.
Back then, there was no such thing as an ‘M’ game rating, primarily because there was no need for such a thing. Sierra Entertainment strived to create such a need with Leisure Suit Larry. Sensitivities were much different back then; a sex-themed game of any sort was considered to be a form of soft porn. As such, the game naturally drew a crowd of buyers. It was the must-have game of the 80’s. But, much like Coors beer (which at the time was only available west of the Mississippi), the anticipation was far better than the actual product.
I must have forgotten that last part, being blinded by nostalgia and all.
Which brings us to Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded. With funding acquired through a very successful Kickstarter campaign, Replay Games has rebuilt the original game from the ground up, although the gameplay/text/puzzles have remained very closely aligned with the original.
Basically, they have created a "Betty White on Botox" clone.
Those of you that don’t remember (or never saw) EGA graphics may not be quite as impressed with the new graphics, much in the way that those who have never had to figure out precisely what text to enter to make things happen in the game may not fully appreciate the new mouse & keyboard controls, although they too are somewhat frustrating at times. But then again, if you aren’t aware of those archaic things, you are probably not going to be overly impressed with game, either. I say that because humor has arguably changed in the intervening years. It has simultaneously become coarser and more sophisticated, or at least it feels that way to me. Sure, we still have shows like Two and a Half Men for potty humor and sexual innuendo, the very forestays of Leisure Suit Larry humor, but for the most part the jokes, such as they are, put the infantile efforts of Larry to shame.
So, yes, the game is far more visually appealing and it is much easier to tell the game what you want to do, but it won’t take long for the novelty of the new graphics (which, due to the memory-corrosive effects of nostalgia, will look just like you remembered them anyway) and controls to wear off. You will be left with nothing but the core game and quite frankly, it just wasn’t that good of a game to start with. There is a tremendous amount of repetition required to solve some of the puzzles or to find critical clues, and you never really know if there is eventually going to be a payoff if you stick at it long enough or if you’re just wasting your time.
You also never really know when clicking on something that looks perfectly benign will kill you; logic does not seem to apply in Larry’s world. That said, some of the best humor (perhaps because it is the newest) is reserved for those scenes. Even the clicking itself is fraught with frustration: do I want to click with the mouth cursor? The zipper? The hand? The legs? It can be quite confusing.
If you find yourself pining for another go at sexual frustration enjoyed(?) vicariously through the character of Larry Laffer and you’re reasonably sure your memory of the late 80’s experience hasn’t significantly degraded through the last three decades, then by all means go out and get yourself a copy of the ‘Reloaded’ version.
If, on the other hand, you aren’t quite sure if your memories are sound, you might be better off seeing if you can score some old re-runs of The Golden Girls.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.
I've been fascinated with video games and computers for as long as I can remember. It was always a treat to get dragged to the mall with my parents because I'd get to play for a few minutes on the Atari 2600. I partially blame Asteroids, the crack cocaine of arcade games, for my low GPA in college which eventually led me to temporarily ditch academics and join the USAF to "see the world." The rest of the blame goes to my passion for all things aviation, and the opportunity to work on work on the truly awesome SR-71 Blackbird sealed the deal.
My first computer was a TRS-80 Model 1 that I bought in 1977 when they first came out. At that time you had to order them through a Radio Shack store - Tandy didn't think they'd sell enough to justify stocking them in the retail stores. My favorite game then was the SubLogic Flight Simulator, which was the great Grandaddy of the Microsoft flight sims.
While I was in the military, I bought a Commodore 64. From there I moved on up through the PC line, always buying just enough machine to support the latest version of the flight sims. I never really paid much attention to consoles until the Dreamcast came out. I now have an Xbox for my console games, and a 1ghz Celeron with a GeForce4 for graphics. Being married and having a very expensive toy (my airplane) means I don't get to spend a lot of money on the lastest/greatest PC and console hardware.
My interests these days are primarily auto racing and flying sims on the PC. I'm too old and slow to do well at the FPS twitchers or fighting games, but I do enjoy online Rainbow 6 or the like now and then, although I had to give up Americas Army due to my complete inability to discern friend from foe. I have the Xbox mostly to play games with my daughter and for the sports games.