Today, Al Lowe, one of Sierra On-Line's game designers and programmers, has put the source code for Leisure Suit Larry 1 and Leisure Suit Larry 2 up for auction on eBay.
The reason that Lowe has the source code (and not some company or private collector) was because back in the late '80s, Sierra On-Line (and pretty much all the industry) did not especially care to maintain the source code for their games. Because of this, Lowe had to take matters into his own hands:
When I finished creating Larry 1, I thought I should keep a clean archive of everything needed to recreate the game, so I copied all the source code, text, animation, background art, music, sound effect… everything I could to these floppies. I then packed them in a box (that once contained blank floppies that I bought to produce my games before my Sierra days). I then put that yellow box into a black storage box where it sat, undisturbed, for over 30 years!
Why is he selling the source codes? Simple: Lowe is selling the source codes because they have gathering dust for the past thirty years. Because of this, Lowe is convinced they are worthless, but not convinced enough to at least try and not get something for it. Good thing for Lowe is each auction is doing pretty good at the moment, with both auctions floating around $2220 US at the time of publishing. That's only 8 hours into the bidding, and with nearly ten days remaining, it looks as though Lowe will be making a pretty penny from the auction.
It is important to note that whoever owns the source code for either game means that they do not own the intellectual property rights to the game, the code, the art, or anything related to the title besides the source code. By Lowe's reckoning, they are now owned by a "German game company."
Also important to note is that Lowe currently only ships to the US. Bad luck for worldwide fans, but shipping worldwide is somewhat tricky. Plus, it's his stuff--he can do whatever he wants with it.
Quick TakeWhile I've never actually played more than a few minutes of any Sierra On-Line's titles, the impact they had on the gaming industry is immeasurable. To actually have the source code for Leisure Suit Larry 1 and Leisure suit Larry 2 is huge, and we can only hope that whoever wins either auction uploads it to the internet for posterity. Those source codes belong in a museum!
Have you ever played any of the Leisure Suit Larry titles before? How about any of Sierra On-Line's titles? Let us know in the comments!