Creator of Leisure Suit Larry to open the Festival of Games

UTRECHT– March 24, 2011– Al Lowe is perhaps one of the most well-known game designers in the games industry. During the Festival of Games on April 28-29, 2011 he will present the opening keynote and will share all ups and downs from his 16 year career at Sierra Entertainment. With the Leisure Suit Larry series, first published in 1987, he is in the same league as the creator of the game Pong, Ralph Bear, and the creator of Pacman, Toru Iwatani who were both opening keynotes at previous editions. But unlike his peers, his games were not about skills with a game controller, but fun adventure puzzles to solve. Lowe’s Leisure Suit Larry series have a cult status now and still inspire many game designers today.

Al Lowe, a former high school teacher, had carved a niche for himself at Sierra with his work on Disney-licensed edutainment titles. The Leisure Suit Larry semi-erotic adventure series were Lowe’s next step and published by Sierra from 1987 to 2009. Larry Laffer, main character in these series, is a balding, dorky, double entendre-speaking, leisure suit-wearing (but still somewhat lovable) "loser" in his 40s. The games follow him as he spends much of his life trying to (usually unsuccessfully) seduce attractive women.

While making In the Land of the Lounge Lizards, Sierra On-line staff had to decide the character's name. They agreed that he should be named after Al Lowe's friend, Jerry, who had visited him at work and became well known in the Sierra studios. Jerry thought of himself as a great lover. He became an infamous point of comical reference among the staff, so the game creators agreed that since Jerry's character suited the game's "hero", they should jokingly tribute him. However, since they thought it would cause the real Jerry offense, "Jerry" was than altered to "Larry".

Unsure of how the game would be received, Sierra's management chose to release the game without any publicity or advertising budget. Unsurprisingly, its first-month sales were lower than any new Sierra product launch in years; many large computer chain stores refused to sell it, finding the adult content unacceptable. "My initial reaction was that I had wasted six months of my life." according to Al Lowe. However, word-of-mouth quickly spread; by year’s end, Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards became a critical and commercial success, being named the Software Publishers Association’s "Best Fantasy, Role Playing or Adventure Game of 1987" and selling over 250,000 copies. According to marketing director John Williams, "Obviously lots of retailers were selling lots of Leisure Suit Larry, but no one wanted to admit it."

During the Festival of Games, AL Lowe will share all his experience while developing Leisure Suit Larry and many other games during his 16 year career at Sierra Entertainment. Currently, the App Store offers Al Lowe's CyberJoke 3000™, a new new joke-telling app for the iPhone/iTouch. His session at the Festival of Games will be very exciting since Al has a proven track record in being a comedian.

THE FESTIVAL OF GAMES

The Festival of Games takes place on April 28-29, 2011, at the Jaarbeurs Utrecht in the Netherlands. The 2010 event attracted over 2000 visitors, with 180 companies from 25 countries.

The Festival of Games is the most effective games industry event, that combines a conference, the international matchmaking event called Pitch&Match, a business Expo for trade visitors, and the largest games industry Career Fair of Europe. The Conference in 2011 is powered by GamesIndustry.biz and Gamer.nl

With the 2011 edition entitled "Games Anywhere", the Festival of Games will be all about how the eruption of games in every sector of the consumer market has interacted with the videogames business. The two-day Conference on April 28-29 will have a strong focus on convergence and transmedia, with the speakers Tom DuBois, Executive Producer at OnLive, Nils-Holger Henning, CCO at Bigpoint, Patrick Liu, Producer at DICE EA, Dan Winters, VP Developer Relations of Activision, Nicholas Francis, co-founder of Unity, Jurian van der Meer, Managing Director of Endemol Games and Scott Steinberg CEO of Techsavvy Global recently announced.

The Festival of Games is organized by the NLGD Foundation and is made possible by the Dutch ministry of Economic Affairs, the province of Utrecht and the city of Utrecht.

Not for publication

For more information please contact:

Mr. Fedor van Herpen

Marketing&Sales Manager

Festival of Games

Tel: +31 (0)6– 12 42 68 84

E-mail: fedor@nlgd.nl

Website: www.festivalofgames.org 


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