Flirting With Potential in Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Don’t Dry – PAX West 2018

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As I sat down with Malte Schmidt, the Creative Director of Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Don’t Dry, for a quick demo of the game, I didn’t know what to expect. My earliest memories of Leisure Suit Larry are filled with outdated, salacious representation of women and mini-games that involve playing as a sperm avoiding obstacles. Needless to say, a Leisure Suit Larry game today is almost unfathomable given the fact that the medium has matured and people are collectively more aware of the issues that factor into the portrayal of sex and the representation of women in video games. Comedy has evolved since the original Leisure Suit Larry’s release in 1987. That being the case, I had a morbid curiosity about what exactly Wet Dreams Don’t Dry could be.Leisure Suit Larry

In Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Don’t Dry you play as Larry Laffer, who has somehow been transported from the 80s into the 21st century. This however, isn’t really the main focus of the game. The game isn’t about how Larry arrived in the future, instead it’s about how he wrestles with modern times. Larry is still the oblivious pervert he’s always been, but in 2018. As Malte mentioned while demoing, this presents an interesting conundrum as Larry has to deal with a progressed culture. Social media plays a large role in people’s lives and in dating. People post their pictures on Instacrap which plays into the way the game delivers its narratives through cutscenes. Timber, the game’s replacement for Tinder, is the main method for acquiring dates. There is even a large focus on a tech corporation that is run by Bill Jobs who goes by BJ for short. Wet Dreams Don’t Dry is not afraid to make jokes out of low hanging fruit, which ironically could be a punchline in the game itself.

Between all of the references to technology and modern dating are sexually explicit jokes that are sprinkled throughout. BJ has a comical obsession with designing products that resemble genitalia which provided plenty of moments for juvenile comedy. The comedy was often eye-roll inducing, however once I gave in and accepted the immaturity of the game’s tone, some of the jokes did land. I admittedly laughed a couple of times during a scene where Larry visits BJ’s office and very visible to the player is a piece of modern art that resembles what I can only describe as a dick and balls.

leisure suit larry wet dreams dont dry

One thing that Malte mentioned is that the game isn’t meant to be very political at all. The game is primarily only going for comedy. In today’s day in age where it’s nearly impossible to make a piece of art that isn’t in some way political, by the end of the demo I understood what Wet Dreams Don’t Dry aims to be. The commentary that is present in the game isn’t pointed or necessarily even purposeful. The game isn’t about how political correctness has run amok or even how terrible and misogynistic Larry was in the past. The game is as lighthearted as can be. It feels like a game made for teenagers who want to show it to their friends so they can make fun of the dildo that’s dressed up as Waldo that appears in the game. Most importantly, it feels like a game that doesn’t overstep its bounds as far as what is appropriate and what is inappropriate. It’s surprisingly aware.

The thing I found the most interesting during my demo was how much of a focus there was on crafting a good point and click adventure game. Malte talked multiple times about the wideness of the screens, the mechanics, how the game will flow, and other elements that dealt with the design of the game itself. The game is developed by a German team and we talked a bit about how point and click adventure games are surprisingly fairly popular there as opposed to America. There was a refreshing amount of energy devoted to selling the fact that this was a good point and click adventure game rather than being a Leisure Suit Larry game in 2018.

leisure suit larry wet dreams dont die

Mechanically, the game appeared to be a very traditional adventure game which involves both the good and the bad. Malte said the game can be difficult and at this point in development they had not really implemented any sort of hint system. This may appeal to the more hardcore adventure game fans, however for a game that can have the potential reach of Leisure Suit Larry, casual players beware. Malte also mentioned that the game takes about ten hours to finish which is the detail that I am the most nervous about. The assets and gameplay shown off look like they could carry the experience for maybe four hours. To keep attention for ten hours seems like a huge ask for Leisure Suit Larry and while the hardcore player may find this to be a benefit, as someone with a casual interest I was a tad bit turned off.

All in all, I left the demo pleasantly surprised. What I expected to be a possible train-wreck turned out to be surprisingly okay. The subject matter of the game is focused on inappropriate humor and sticks to that as best as it can. For fans of adventure games, this very well may be an enjoyable experience. However, for those with a passing interest, it could be a bit too much to handle.


Follow all of OK Beast’s PAX West 2018 coverage here.

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