I always wondered if there was a text based game about the pursuit of sex would it be almost like sexting is today. So, how many of you know On-Line Systems, perhaps you know them under their more famous name Sierra On-Line. Before we were introduced to the iconic Leisure Suit Larry, there was Softporn Adventure.
Designed by Chuck Benton, the game was produced for the Apple II in 1981 and was a text based game where you played as a down on his luck party animal. The gameplay consisted of you trying to collect certain items that would win the affections of various women.
So let’s back up a little. This is a text game and for those not familiar with text based games, they kind of worked like a mix between a Dungeons and Dragons game with real life dungeon master and a, Choose Your Own Adventure book. You would start off with text telling you where you are and enough information to get you started. From there, you would enter commands to get an idea of your surroundings and what to do.
An example would be typing, “LOOK” to get a description of where you are and, “INVENTORY” to be told what you have on you. So the game starts off like this;
I’m in a sleazy bar. Behind the bar sits the bartender. A sign hanging over
him says ‘BEER-$100 WHISKEY-$100’. The Place isn’t furnished too well. A
curtain hangs on one wall. There’s a button on the wall next to it. A fan
whirls slowly overhead moving the stagnant air around.
Here you would type something like, “Order Whiskey” and go from there. It might sound boring to some, but text adventures were just as engrossing as a book and for a gamer even more so.
Now this game had a lot of controversy for being so racy and it is said it was copied and distrusted to a lot of high schoolers not interested in Math Munchers and more interested in reading forbidden text such as;
She says, ‘Lay down, Honey- Let me give you a special surprise!’ I lay down
and she says, ‘OK- now close your eyes.’ I close my eyes and she starts to
go to work on me. I’m really enjoying myself when suddenly she ties me to
the bed!! Then she says, ‘So long, turkey!’ and runs out of the room!!
Well- the score is now 1 out of a possible 3…but I’m also tied to the bed
and can’t move.
Sure, this is nothing compared to the scenes in games like Mass Effect and Heavy Rain, but for its time, it was enough to get computer geeks like myself a little hot under the collar. Now for those who played the LLL games you will notice the first game, Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards, is pretty much exactly like Softporn Adventure, but in graphical form.
Now the game was not just controversial because of the racy subject matter, but the cover as well. Here is the info on it straight from the Wiki;
The game’s cover features three nude women and a male waiter in a hot tub. The hot tub is actually that of Sierra’s owners, Ken and Roberta Williams. From left to right, the first woman is Diane Siegel, On-Line’s production manager. The second is Susan Davis, On-Line’s bookkeeper and the wife of Bob Davis, the creator of Ulysses and the Golden Fleece. The waiter was Rick Chipman, an actual waiter from a local restaurant, The Broken Bit. The woman on the far right is Roberta Williams. The ad was considered somewhat scandalous at the time because of the degree of nudity displayed.
To me that is the most awesome thing about this, putting real people from your own company on the cover in such a manner. I couldn’t imagine that happening today.
“Hi, you’re an intern for EA right, so yeah, we have this new game called EA Semi Nude Tennis and we need some sexy women for the cover. Sure, we could have hired some models, but you want to make it in the business right? So, go ahead and put this bikini on, don’t ask how I know your size and report to studio A.”
This was one of the first instances of sex in a video game even though you never got to “see” anything. As far as the game itself you can actually play it online, but before that, here is an interview from Chuck Benton himself on Softporn Adventure.
Here you can view a Walkthrough for the game, thanks to Game FAQ’s for this.
Last but not least you can play it here: Softporn Adventure.