Almost every culture has some kind of rite of passage. Obnoxious, privileged rich girls throw lavish Sweet Sixteen parties (and apparently get simultaneous TV deals), Native American tribes send their young out in the wilderness to wait until nature speaks directly to them. It's a way to mark the transition from child to man. Or in my case, manchild. These are some of our video game vision quests.
I can't recall exactly when Larry Laffer confidently strolled into my life. But I do remember that my father always told me to "scram and while you're at it, get me another RC Cola" whenever he launched the randy PC adventure game.
But what was he cackling about? What was so damn funny? After what seemed like eons, I waited until he was asleep to slip away to the family den and boot up DOS as quietly as I could.
Unfortunately, it would take many failed attempts before I could crack Al Lowe's cryptic "Prove Your Age" questions. But when I finally did (by sheer chance), the vault was finally opened to the raunchy, perverted jokes that would make a ventriloquist dummy blush.
Following Larry in his saucy adventures made me feel like a grownup. A real man. Unfortunately, this euphoric feeling ended abruptly when I reached a point in the game where I had to order up a bottle of wine to the hotel room, but didn't know how to spell "suite" correctly.
Thanks to the demise of text-based adventure games, I won't make that mistake again.