Pitfalls & Powerups – Perverted Ol’ Men

Hear me out. I promise I’m not condoning perverts but as such a widely used character trait during the golden age of home video games, it seemed like one of those things that you could do no right with. Back in the ’70s, a few members of the Atari team left to create a little company called Activision due to the lack of credit they were receiving by just making games under the Atari name. The success of Activision led to every developer and his dog churning out games, popping them into plastic bags and sticking them on the shelf of every game store. Thanks to no video games rating system – and no descernable quality control either – any old tosh could be sold which led to the creation of ‘adult’ games.

Adult retro games were one of those things that, I swear, if you managed to knock one out to a pixelated pair of breasticles in an ‘adult’ Atari game, I applaud you good sir/madam as that shows commitment – 13-year-old boy searching an East London park for the water-damaged shreds of a nudey mag commitment. This same kind of questionable determination to see people in their birthday suits is shared by both my retro games this week, except both main characters are older, wiser and could do with a good seeing to…


As if it wasn’t already the obvious choice, the charming Custer from the oh-so-infamous Custer’s Revenge is well-known as being the worst of the worst. Like that flasher in my local park, Custer dons nothing but a cowboy hat, bandana, boots and a horrifyingly diagonal erection. But unlike Geoff, Custer spends his time dodging enemy arrow attacks just to get jiggy with a naked Native American woman tied to a pole. Cited as one of the most offensive video games ever made, Custer’s Revenge generated such a huge amount of media attention at the time of it’s 1982 release, that it was developer Mystique’s best selling-game and they even focus grouped the game to Women’s and Native American’s associations by way of a supposed publicity stunt – classy.

If you’re not familiar with General Custer, he was an actual American man. However I’ve been reassured that he was not well-known for his arrow dodging and rape, which just makes the whole concept even more bizarre. It just makes you wonder if they had just grabbed an encyclopedia of American History, some darts and decided Lincoln’s Revenge didn’t have as nice a ring to it.



If you’re fairly new to Leisure Suit Larry’s pursuits (think Box Office Bust) then you’re probably shaking your head at my choice of the nerdy, balding sod as my ‘good’ choice. However, if you were lucky enough to play the first game – Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards – then you were treated with comedy, innuendo and sex all wrapped up in a hilarious adventure game package.

 The titular character – Larry Laffer – is a 40-something with a raging libido and a polyester suit who has only a single night to find love in the city of Lost Wages. The game itself, designed by the iconic Al Lowe, is a direct adaptation of the earlier adult-oriented, comedic text adventure called ‘Softporn Adventure’, except graphical, using the Adventure Game Interpreter Engine that was most notably utilised in the King’s Quest games. Publisher Sierra On-line decided to release the game with no advertising whatsoever over worries of how the game would be received which – alongside retailers refusing to sell the game due to it’s adult content – unsurprisingly led to extremely low sales. But thanks to  word-of-mouth, sales eventually picked up and by the end of 1987, it was a critical and commercial success despite notoriously high piracy rates (reportedly pirated copies were 6:1 compared to legitimate versions).

Land of the Lounge Lizards was a bold mix for its time that really held its own above all the Custers that littered the market with unique elements such as a tongue-in-cheek, adult-only quiz at the beginning of the game that would only allow you to play the game once completed and the ability to hit a game over straight from the off by having unprotected sex with a hooker – ensuring you contract a fatal STD. With his gambling, womanising ways, Larry is certainly no angel, but he’s the best we can hope for.

So, remember, kids: stay safe, use a condom and if you see a naked woman tied to a pole, untie her, I’m sure she’d appreciate it.







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