Game Idea A Week: Leisure Suit Larissa
Week Thirty-Five (01/06/2010)
In the idea for this week is inspired by the Game Career Guide game design challenge, Time for Change. In fact, I won the Game Career Guide Gender-Swap Design Challenge with this game, see the official results. In the challenge, you must profoundly change a game's main character by changing their gender. My proposal is Leisure Suit Larissa, an adaptation of the classic adventure game, Leisure Suit Larry. In the game, the player must help Larissa Laffer find a husband who meets her childhood checklist, before her biological clock stops ticking.
Why it needs to be made:
The original Leisure Suit Larry games were extremely fun to play, despite the obviously sexist main character and themes. This game corrects the balance by depicting the other side of the coin: how difficult it is for a successful woman to find a man in this day and age.
Larissa Laffer is a hard-working business consultant living in the big city of Now Work. She has spent all her life dedicated to her job, but on her 35th birthday she decides she needs to find a husband so she can have babies before it's too late. Ignoring the attentions of her neighbour, the boring Hewill Do, Larissa sets out to find a husband and rediscovers her childhood checklist for her ideal man.
According to the list, Larissa's ideal man only likes blue M&Ms, can roll his tongue, can breathe blindfolded, never walks on the lines on the street, can recite the alphabet backwards, and likes Martian Mud Monkeys. The player must help Larissa look for a man:
Every man Larissa meets fails her checklist somehow, so she dismisses all of them in turn. Eventually, she ends up back at the Pretentious Posers bar and meets Mr Wright Foryou. Wright meets every item on her checklist, unfortunately he dumps Larissa in a crushing scene. As Larissa picks herself up off the ground, she attempts to woo the other men she questioned, but all of them have got married or come out. Larissa has no options left except settling for the boring neighbour, Hewill Do. Except, while Larissa was off pursuing other men, Hewill got sick of waiting and gave up on Larissa. So now, Larissa must learn as much as possible about Hewill to impress him and fool him into proposing to her.
Players control Larissa by using a standard adventure game point-and-click interface. The game has two main parts: finding men and then wooing Hewill Do. When Larissa is finding men she must do favours for others so that she can meet new men. For example, to go to the wedding, Larissa must find an outfit to wear that the bride approves of, but is still sexy enough to attract a man. When wooing Hewill Do, Larissa must successfully pass three dates. Larissa must find out what Hewill's likes and dislikes, so that when he asks her questions she is able to pretend she likes the same things as he does. She can find the information by searching his apartment, questioning his friends and family, looking through his garbage and following him.
Why it will be a compelling game:
In the initial stage, players will have multiple paths to follow at once as they try to find men to question. This means that it is less likely for a player to get stuck completely. The inherent humour and light-heartedness of the game will make it enjoyable to play and the story will encourage players to keep going until they find out what happens at the end.