Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude — The Funniest Game Ever… and Nobody Knows It
College Culture of Early 2000s America
Once upon a ti… actually, that’s a terrible way to start an article. But in any case, Leisure Suit Larry is a series that is both remembered and forgotten at the same time. The first game, Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards, was released in 1987 and gradually made a name thanks to the strong sexual themes present in the games. But over time, the series has failed to find a contemporary audience due to its outdated adult humour, and it shows with some of the recent entries in the series, which are either bad or just failing to meet expectations. Regardless, the series struggles to make a proper comeback that would put it back to the mainstream. But one of the games in the series just happens to be the funniest game ever that nobody talks about. I know that I was tearing half of the time because of how hilarious the game is because I played it.
But what is Leisure Suit Larry about? Basically, it tells the misadventures of one Larry Laffer, which usually include him trying to hit on beautiful women, and whether this gets him laid or not, I can’t say because I didn’t play any of those games. The one game of the series that I played from start to finish is the one I have previously alluded to. I know that a lot of people would say that the funniest game ever is probably that one game with Deadpool, or maybe Portal, or probably that South Park game. All of these answers are wrong because the funniest game ever is Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude.
In a new twist to the series, this instalment replaces Larry Laffer as the protagonist with a new one, Larry Lovage, who also happens to be his nephew. So if it’s a new guy, what’s his story? He’s a college student who is unlucky with the ladies and who participates in a dating game show in the hopes of finding the girl of his dreams. In truth, all he wants is to get laid because it wouldn’t be college if he didn’t. Also, there are several girls, not just one, because again, college. So as he tries to get lucky with at least one of them, he goes on all kinds of sexual escapades in a style that’s reminiscent of how non-Americans perceive American colleges after watching one too many American Pie movies. Despite its outrageous yet clever humour, the game was met with mixed reception, praising the dialogue yet criticising the repetitiveness of the mini-games. It’s true that most mini-games got tedious eventually, but the jokes and the laughs followed by the aching ribs was more than worth it. Besides, one mini-game in particular never got old. Why? Because it just made the game all the funnier.
This game is vulgar
I already mentioned that the sexual themes in this series are strong. In the case of Magna Cum Laude, they take it up a notch since the year is 2004, which had less censorship than the 80s (and there’s even less censorship today!). Combine that with the setting of a stereotypical college, and you can expect some ostensibly risqué material, but the jokes are all worth it. But as I said earlier, there’s this one crucial mini-game that makes Larry’s character all the more hilarious.
Typically, “Magna Cum Laude” means “with great honour”, a term used by universities and colleges to denote graduates who excelled at their studies. Of course, one cannot ignore the peculiar writing of the term, which was also probably why it was chosen as the subtitle for a conspicuously vulgar game, and this is no more apparent than the most important mini-game in the game. The game has Larry talk to several girls throughout the game, and every time he engages in a conversation with them, a box at the bottom of the HUD shows up where the player assumes control of a sperm cell with a face (I’m not kidding) swimming through water. As it swims, the conversation with the girl unfolds, and the player is prompted to swim through several points of interest, and depending on what it hit, Larry will say different things. And that’s the best part because the unfolding situation is for the player to manipulate; Larry will either hit or miss depending on what he says. But get this, and this is the “real” best part of the game: Magna Cum Laude is one of the few games ever where it is actually fun to lose because by choosing the ill-advised dialogue choices, Larry will say some of the funniest things ever uttered by any video game character. For this reason, I’m convinced that this game is, in fact, the funniest game ever, and I don’t think anyone will convince me otherwise.
With that being said, I don’t think there’s really a problem I’m searching for in this game. If anything, the problem is that no one has ever replicated this feature in any game that came afterwards. Not that I know of…
I want more games with a focus on hilarious dialogue
As much as I want to keep talking about how there need to be more games that emphasise hilarious characters and clever dialogue, I have to keep this focused. Frankly, there isn’t any proper solution to what I presented, other than to just say “there should be more games like this”, and frankly, that would be a good idea since I haven’t passed on another game like this.
And since we’re already on the subject, it would be cool to see a game like this in multiple languages or incorporate a multilingual feature such as needing to know Spanish if you want to talk to that one Mexican girl. The setting doesn’t have to be an American college… just sayin’.
I wonder if I could be a writer for a game like this…
Did you play this game?
Because that would be cool, having someone to share that sentiment with and what others thought of the game. And as I continue to wait for people to speak out, and I am still contemplating on what to do with this section, as it has already become a running gag for me to say that it should be turned into something better, and that’s one thing I don’t have a solution for.
Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude is an old game that nobody talks about today. It is obscene and vulgar, and the mini-games are repetitive, and some people might find it distasteful. But I still believe that it is among the funniest games ever and if you enjoy a good comedy, you should give this a shot despite its downsides. And back then, adult material in video games was a bigger deal, but the kids today probably won’t get it.
And yes, I wish to see more games that allow you to control the dialogue in challenging ways, with hilarious results. Don’t know if that will ever happen, though.
On a side note, I hope this article wasn’t too vulgar for anyone considering the subject. Anyway, have a nice day, everyone.