Leisure Suit Larry Creator Says DRM Has Been Misguided Since 1982

Leisure Suit Larry Creator Says DRM Has Been Misguided Since 1982

Not long ago I had the pleasure of having a long talk with one of my all time favourite game designers, Al Lowe. The godfather of sleazy adventure gaming had plenty to say about the past, present and future of his famous polyester protagonist, but also had some very interesting thoughts about the way we protect our digital rights these days.

According to Al, the whole system of DRM or digital rights management that gamers seem to be getting so up in arms about over the last few years has been a flawed concept since he first saw in introduced way back in the 80s!

I refuse to buy products that have DRM. Ya know I’d rather pay for a CD and rip it than download protected music. To me it’s just misguided and it has been misguided since my first involvement with it in 1982. It never was protected from those people who wanted to break it. It was always breakable. All it did was hassle people who paid for the product. And those are the people that you want to be nice to! Be nice to the people who pay and ignore the pirates, because they do what they’re gonna do anyway.

I couldn’t agree more.

As for what Al has to say to the people who are going to pirate his upcoming remake of Leisure Suit Larry 1?

“You Suck!”


  • Any funds diverted to anti-piracy measures are inevitably going to impact funding available for development and promotion. It’s only in recent times that the actual games we’re getting are inferior products as a result, though, with Blizzard leading the way.

  • um no its actually valvue with blizzard coming in second.

    Im still pissed every time I buy a PC game to then find the ‘online activation’ required turns out to be encrypted steam files on a disc.

    Not wanting to play into their drm malware system, thats another 5 minutes I have to waste returning the game and buying it on ps3 where it is COMPLETELY drm free (and if it isnt its just a serial for online play LIKE PC GAMES USE TO BE.)

    • Theres so much wrong with this statement. I think I’ll just leave it at calling you an idiot. Yeah.

      • I’m pretty sure this guy is a troll. If we were on Reddit I’d say downvote and move on. 😉

        • I think im going to apply that strategy to Kotaku as a whole. Too many “look what I found on Reddit” articles and dropping the F bomb everywhere for no real good reason. Just isn’t quality.

    • Consoles have far stricter DRM than traditional computers.

      Consoles are default-closed, where any software that doesn’t have the right signatures won’t run. In contrast, a PC will happily run any software you throw at it: it is up to that software to prevent itself from running in situations it doesn’t like.

      • That’s debatable. Sure. consoles do have DRM, but they usually don’t require online activation, always on connection to “phone home” or activation limits. In other words, it can be argued that while present, console DRM is unobtrusive.

        It really depends on what bothers you the most. Personally I find PC DRM (when present) unsufferable (is that a word?)

        • If they implemented console-style DRM on a PC, I’m sure you’d find it quite intrusive. You might lose the online activation hassles, but instead find that half your software would refuse to run because it hadn’t been signed by Microsoft.

          Current PC DRM may suck, but consoles are no panacea.

          • Agreed, DRM is never a good thing.

            As you very accurately point, console styled DRM would never work on PC, which is why they resort to other schemes.

            My point was that console styled DRM, on a console, its pretty much invisible unless you want to do something that is actually illegal.

          • Console DRM only if your doing something Illegal?

            You mean like try and play a game from Jp or US that I legally purchased online but can’t because of region locking? As people have said Console DRM may be “invisible” but its there, still damned annoying and much more draconian especially when its stopping me from playing games I legally purchased which through no fault of mine is not available in my region.

  • Thats funny because I remember the old Larry games having a age verification system that was a series of questions at the beginning of the game quite similar to early DRM that would ask questions that needed the game Manuel to answer.

    Expect these questions relied on general knowledge,well history and pop culture such as who was president in 1968 or who where the brothers in the beachboys.The theory being that kids wouldn’t know the answers , and if you scored low then you would get a censored version of the game.

    The only problem was the questions were very American biased, and although I was just turned 18 I didn’t know most of them.Wikipedia would render this system useless now of course.

    • I guess we differ on the definition of what’s more draconian. I would agree with your region argument. But I can’t see how that’s worse than “you can only install five times” or “keep your internet connection on so we can check you’re not stealing from us”.

      I have been in the position of having PC software, legally purchased, on the right region, below the installation limit, all boxes ticked that refuses to run because the DRM is having issues.

      As I said originally, it boils down to what annoys you the most.

  • Leisure Suit Larry 2 required you to have the manual as it showed you a picture of a girl and you had to enter the corresponding phone number that was on her pic in the book

    • Yeah, I remember, but that wasn’t probably his call. I’d bet we was ordered to put “some form of verification” by Sierra.

      Given the conditions, I think he did a fine job of making in funny and in tune with the game.

      • Indeed he did! He somehow kept it within universe, moreso than EA and their Origin crap for Mass Effect. Cerberus Network worked fine for ME2, but ME3 broke the illusion with on screen text about EA servers.

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