gaming has immatured huh? ok lets pump out games full of hookers and whores maybe even some porn? no thanks mature games arent just about showing a boob
Q&A: In the wake of Larry's latest Box Office Bust, the amorous icon's distanced designer Al Lowe assesses the state of the industry and humor in games.
Though not as critically pilloried as the latest installment, the Leisure Suit Larry series was never what one might describe as terribly sophisticated or especially erudite. The Sierra-published graphic adventure games of the late '80s and early '90s were instead the innuendo-laden chronicles of a pitiable, aging, sex-starved man with all the depth of a reservoir tip.
So when Al Lowe, the original creator and designer of the Leisure Suit Larry games, says that the industry has actually "immatured" in the years since he made his mark, maybe there's cause for concern.
"It's regressed," Lowe told GameSpot in an interview this week. "I'm the perpetual optimist and I always think that things are getting better. But the gaming business has gotten very, very different in the past 10 years, and it's straining my optimism. I don't want to be an old fuddy duddy here, but on the other hand I need to see some signs of hope, and light, and enlightenment from the business."
Lowe acknowledges the shortcomings of his own library of games, but underscores a key difference between those early efforts and the sex-obsessed games of today.
"While my games were always sexist and misogynistic, they were always showing people that was the wrong way as opposed to the ideal way," Lowe explained.
Lowe's view comes from outside the industry these days, given that the creator stepped away from gaming and the Leisure Suit Larry franchise in general a little more than a decade ago. These days his primary creative outlet is his very own humor site, AlLowe.com, but it wasn't so long ago that he sought to get back into gaming. A 2006 attempt to return with a new studio in iBase Entertainment fell short after the company's first project, Sam Suede: Undercover Exposure, failed to find a publishing deal.
Lowe said that when iBase shopped the project to publishers, it received an abundance of positive feedback. However, every publisher wanted to know about comparables--previously released games like it that could be used to help create sales projections.
"When we said we didn't have any comparables because there are no other games quite like this, they all said, 'We can't publish it then. We can only look at things that sold well and try and do the same thing again,'" Lowe said. "I think part of it goes back to the big corporate mentality where the people who are making the decisions really are afraid of what's going to happen if they make a mistake."
That's not to say that humor-based games don't get made--although the new Leisure Suit Larry almost didn't hit store shelves. Dropped last summer by Activision Blizzard after the absorption of its previous publisher, Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust was released last month to excoriating reviews. Lowe hasn't played the game yet, and based on negative word of mouth, he's not sure he ever will.
It wasn't Larry's first voyage without Lowe. In 2004, High Voltage Software and Vivendi Games released Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude on multiple platforms. Lowe did actually play that game, and though he acknowledged that the developers had some good ideas when it came to updating the main character and revamping the gameplay, they ultimately missed the point.
"I think they thought the game was about sex and big boobs. While I never shied away from that, I don't think that's what the game is about," Lowe said, adding, "It's a bunch of pixels, you know? It's not real women. If you want pornography or sex, you can rent a DVD for $2 or something. You don't need to put that in a computer game. It just doesn't work. For me, it never worked at least."
As for whether or not he would ever go back to Larry, Lowe gave the E-rated quip, "Gosh, I think Box Office Bust has taken care of that answer for me."
More excerpts from the interview--including Lowe's take on the death of Leisure Suit Larry publisher Sierra Entertainment--will be included in the April 21 episode of GameSpot presents The HotSpot.
How can anyone connected with Leisure Suit Larry say that games are immature I dont really think that games are immature anyway as a handful of people have said developers have started taking less risks and I am inclined to agree if anything the industry has perhaps stagnated slightly The unfortunate thing is that original ideas or somthing a bit off the wall dont always sell well a recent example being Okami which as far as I was concerned somthing special The only way developers and publishers will start taking risks again is when it can be proved they will sell well You have to ask yourself why on earth would somone give funding for a crazy risk of a game when its so much easier to develop somthing done a million times over that sells well sadly its all about the money Take all the shovelware on the wii for instance casual uniformed gamers simply look at the box and probably end up taking it to the checkout because the box made it sound good and maybe they picked up that shovelware at the expense of say Okami or Mad World then you end up with some fantastic games not getting the recognition they should Basically the people calling the shots want what sells not always what is good and the only way to change that is to stop buying crap Inform the uninformed gamer in your life so they stop buying turkeys and have them take a chance on an original game now and again because if we are not careful all the original ideas will just stay as ideas and that would be a shame
Yeah Princess_Rectum and, much like the music and movie industries, the harder it is to actually make a profit, the inherent dumbing down of the content just gets worse and worse.I was never around to see this happen to the movie and music industries slowly over time, but i am for gaming.And it is very sad.However if the masses didn't buy the crap, every developer would try just that much harder to make a quality game.Sadly that's not the case.
""When we said we didn't have any comparables because there are no other games quite like this, they all said, 'We can't publish it then. We can only look at things that sold well and try and do the same thing again,'"" Whoa whoa whoa, you mean to tell me that the gaming business is..... a business!? NO WAY! It should come as no surprise that game developers and publishers mostly just want to make money instead of creating a game with a fresh new concept. That's why we get 'Final Fantasy 27', 'Call of Duty 12: Another Fictional Battle' and 'Leisure Suit Larry: [insert sexual double entendre here]' I think we can all agree that in this gaming market it's becoming more and more of a challenge to really turn a profit with a 3rd party game. They have to look at demographics + what helps a game sell. It's the same in the music industry. It'd be like going up to a major record label with a demo disc full of weird quirky experimental techno and hoping they'd take a risk and mass-produce and release your album.
I look through these comments and I see a whole lot of blame-dodging. When it comes down to it, there's only one person who can be blamed for the games industry being the way it is. That person can be seen quite easily, if you switch off your monitor right now. Okay so more modern monitors don't reflect quite so well. You get the idea. The simple fact is, creative games don't sell. If I look back at all the genuinely inventive games, games that just had an idea without any motivation to sell, they don't sell. You think the games industry is scared of being original because it's too conservative? That's crap. It's because in the past, when an inventive and interesting game has come out, nobody bloody bought it! I'm not one of those people who thinks that gaming was better in the 'golden years' of the NES and SNES. I much prefer gaming now. But let's face it. New ideas were much better received back then. Not only because games were cheaper to make, but because people were more willing to buy the truly new stuff. You can't blame production price, you can't blame advertising and you can't blame mainstreaming, unless you're one of the absurdly few people who would rather buy a new title than [Game] 4/5/13. Maybe if anyone had actually BOUGHT God Hand or Steambot Chronicles, or NOT absolutely lampooned the trivial flaws on inventive modern games like Mirror's Edge or Assassin's Creed, we would see developers being more adventurous. And before anyone mentions Okami: I did mention 'games that are not designed to sell'. A game that crams as much Japanese mythos and culture into a game for an era obsessed with Japanese mythos and culture does not constitute as 'not designed to sell'.
"Mindless, repetitive gameplay and a truly atrocious sense of humor help Leisure Suit Larry live up to its name--it's a total bust." **** you.
This guy makes games about a guy that wants sex, and amid awesome titles such as Fallout 3, Dead Space, COD, GOW, etc... has immatured. LOLOLOLOL
Still have my copy of LSL 7: Love for Sail..It was a fitting end to the Al Lowe contributions. Even if it did have a cliff hanger ending..LSL..In Space!!!
I do not really think the game industry is any more or less mature than it was. There is a greater need to make a quick buck, that that really has nothing to do with maturity.
Mature, immature... the point is that while games like DOTT, LLL, etc... they're gone. When developers try to recapture that magic, it turns out that our tastes run to more complex fare. These are not games that let you explore graphical or social limits... the last LLL was a bunch of laughable minigames with an anatomical theme. Obviously someone took a look at the franchise and said, "Lets milk this puppy, but it looks so dated... SPRUCE IT UP!" The tragedy follows. Games like these, such as Pac-Man, or Ninja Gaiden, need to be given the NG treatement, or the Pac-Man treatment: either a total re-imagining of the game based on its roots, or a remake that stays faithful to the original while merely enhancing that experience for modern tastes. It turns out that when people want cheap, dumb fun, they want it straight up. If I want to play a Hidden Objects game... fine! Give it to me... make it REALLY good, then worry about the flair that makes it branded. Game-makers need to look at how Movie Studios treat games, and then do the POLAR OPPOSITE. It's that simple :)
I have been playing immature games lately I guess, if that's what run and gun shooters are. The most mature game I have played lately would have to be MGS4, which is definitely not immature
I think the current technology is largely to blame for the current trend of "only tried and true formulas". It costs so much money to make games now thanks to the graphics demands of the current generation. This massive cost is also what stunts the development of indie companies. They simply cannot afford to take the risk with new ideas. And so games have become stagnant. I suggest we go back to our roots. Start publishing games on older systems to a limited extent. Indie companies would not have great difficulty making games for some of the older systems, or simply lower graphics games for the PC. With a greatly lowered cost they can then afford to take risks and tried new and original ideas. Hopefully those new ideas will help revive the creativity of the current generation.
I believe this is true for some games but not all. My big beef is with movies nowadays, they are all crap. I just saw a commercial for a movie called "Fighting".. give me a break. Watch that POS and then watch one of the old pictures starring Humphrey Bogart and James Cagney and tell me which is better. But sorry, WAY off topic.
@jglover3000 JG, I think you completely missed Al's point of what regression is. Sure, in the 80's, you were forced to make a good story with good characters, because your game looked like crap. But now that we can make good looking games, why are we using crappy narratives, stories, and characters? What is preventing us from having our cake and eating it too, aside from laziness and fear (of lack of sales)? Back in the day, there were no "comparables". Heck, even the blurbs on the backs of game boxes were almost all "innovative" features, because nothing had been done before. Now that we've run out of obvious ways to innovate, we've entered an era of formula-based games. In the 80's, a good game was often defined by its features, and that worked because there was a lot of room for improvement. Now that we've run out of features to improve upon, we have to rediscover new ways to make games stand out. Or failing that, we need to at least acknowledge that we can't make them stand out, and we should at least make them good.
The demands of the almighty dollar are primarily responsible for the immaturity of game quality. Investors aren't willing to risk on anything but a tried and true design, but "tried in true" in the gaming business means "boring." So, Mr. Lowe, for your silver lining I recommend you look in the direction of the lower budget Indies.
Very true BloodMist. If you go play Fallout 3 for example and then go back and play Fallout 1 you will be like wtf? why is Fallout better than it's sequel. That is true with most new games and that is why I have undusted my NES, SNES, Genesis, and all my old systems. Mainly because those games rocked! Actually they still rock compared to some and by some I mean most of the new games.
This guy knows exactly what he's talking about.The standards are just getting lower and lower as time goes on, and what really annoys me is that gamers are actually falling for it.Mostly because of ignorance of true quality.They simply haven't played the classics that had true genius, true spark in them.All they've played for the most part is this cookie cutter crap and they think that those games are good, when in fact they're pretty mediocre and not really worth playing compared to the true gems, which are really, really rare these days. LSL was sharp satire that made fun of how horrible people can be, much like Family Guy, and especially South Park, do the same these days.I suppose GTA has done the same but the quality of that has waned a bit.
He's right in a way... I mean its okay to have some beefy men uttering cheesy catchphrases and blowing things like in GoW but more and more games are following GoW's footsteps and the funny we get from GoW dries up pretty fast when we play these 'imitations'. Especially FPS games. You see little progress being made on its ever since the Halflife era. Whether progress has been bottlenecked by the game industry or the gamers or both, it is truly a sad affair. I'm going back to play Civilisation.
@MaccaroniGrill I think you misunderstood my comment or I misunderstood Lowe. He says his games differ in that they show people what is the wrong way but a game thats "sexist and misogynistic" (as he said) is still sexist and misogynistic even if it has a moral behind it. Such as manhunt is about killing people but the main character is forced to do so against his will so its ok.
It is only suitable in America to blow things up, shoot people, rob people or commit unspeakable acts of violeve upon humans, aliens or zombies. Any subject pertaining to or mildly refering to sexual intimacy is strictly taboo. Ironic I says since porn and sex parifinalia are king in sales in this country.
@ hatieshorrer "While my games were always sexist and misogynistic, they were always showing people that was the wrong way as opposed to the ideal way," Lowe explained. Sounds like an appropriate support for his claim, wouldn't you say?
Anyone notice that he never explained what makes the Leisure Suit Larry games less immature then the current ones in the hands of other game designers. Also I think the problem is relationships between game characters has matured beyond the point of games like Leisure Suit Larray and Sam Suede Undercover Exposure. I have recently started playing RuneFactory2 which covers every aspect of a relationship accept sex. Gamers can go as far as getting married and having children and other games go even farther then that.
hmmm...... personnaly I have never played a Larry game before, only a demo, but from what I gather they really arent all that good, maybe some people love them though I dont know, but what gets me is if a guy like this calls other games immature then I think that the most immature games e.g. Halo 3, Bioshock, Half-Life, Brothers in Arms and the like really need to start acting like mature games like this larry fellow and all his games, come on people, all act mature like that from now on. GP
It's pretty clear that alot of people have no idea what a "mature" game is. Gears, for example, sure as hell isn't.
firstname.lastname@example.org is his personal e-mail. He's one of the greatest people on that planet, like the Woz, and tells it like it is.
I'm a big fan of Al and I absolutely loved all the old Sierra adventure games ("Larry" being my favorite). It's not that gaming has "immatured", it's a simple matter of the changes in the times. When Larry first appeared as a mass of white pixels, the crude humor and sexual undertones were just that....undertones. The entire series used innuendos and the like to achieve it's goal. If anyone ever played these games on their Amigas (now I feel REALLY old), then they will remember that the game was as filthy as your mind made it. Even theatrical comedies were tame in comparsion to what we get today. Today's gamers don't want that. We want bold, in-your-face-visuals and storytelling. We want the blood, the gore, the disturbing, and yes...the titillating. Only when we see it played out on screen in front of us in glorious HD, do we really know what kind of reaction the game is going for. Al, we love you for your contributions, and those classic Larry games will live forever, but this isn't the 80's anymore. My tastes have changed, and I know what I want out of my games these days. Maybe if you were directly involved with the newest Larry titles, they might actually be worth playing. Don't blame the state of the gaming industry, blame those who took a beloved character and completely missed the mark.
The last LSL game that was great was Love for Sail. Magnum Cum Laude (did I spell that right?) was a stain upon the franchise. I never even bothered to check out the latest one.
I see LSL as the precursor to Grand Theft Auto... They just took Larry's little lameness and turned into a more exciting storyline. The plot is the key....which the point I believe he was trying to make. If you don't tell a good story and have fun gameplay physics...the graphics do not matter, the pictures do not matter and you end up with a huge bomb of a game....
Aside from some horrible renditions of a franchise he created, I don't see him giving any examples here. I can't think of a single game that was a mainstream success that took a mysoginistic view on things. In fact, most of those types of video games bomb. DOA:EBV, that BMX porno game, even the examples he gives are commercial failures. That's in stark contrast to, say, the video industry where anyone can make a teenage or college sex romp with a horrible plot and even worse humor and have it become a so-called cult classic. You're going to get people releasing that kind of crap with any medium, the difference I see with video games is that the audience seems to be more discerning regarding this type of material and whether or not they're willing to buy it.
Sexual content is sexual content, whether its in Dead or Alive, or LSL. This guy, being the creator of the latter, has an invalid point.
Content you might like…
Users who looked at this article also looked at these content items.
Emmy-winning writer Jon Vitti, who penned "Mr. Plow" episode of The Simpsons, working on 2016 film based on Rovio's game. Full Story
- Posted May 21, 2013 3:23 am SST
Bankrupt publisher hoping to bring in at least $22 million from upcoming asset auctions. Full Story
- Posted May 24, 2013 12:43 am SST
Network journalist acknowledges one-sided violent video game report; invitations to Bungie and the Entertainment Software Association were declined. Full Story
- Posted May 21, 2013 1:45 pm SST