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Review: Softporn Adventure

This old relic from 1981 is an interesting one. I’d certainly never heard of it before. On the surface it seems to be just some dull—one of many—text adventure game, but Softporn Adventure has quite the story behind it. Older than Custer’s Revenge for the Atari-2600 and the inspiration for the creation of Leisure Suit Larry, Softporn Adventure might be where it all started for the adult themed games of today.

Softporn Adventure was made back in 1981 by Chuck Benton, as a way to test if the Apple 2 was capable of database programming. After positive feedback from friends and others, he made a publishing deal with Sierra (On-Line Systems). The simple layout of a screen divided in two for description and the rest, shows the game was influenced by Scott Adam’s adventures. Apparently some of the writing and puzzles in the game are based on Chuck Benton’s personal life, making the game’s flirting style very dated. In 1986 Al Lowe—creator of the Leisure Suit Larry seriesused Softporn Adventure as a basis for Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards, giving it graphics, updated text parser and much more.

So what did people think of it? It is allegedly the first videogame to be called sexist. This was done in the exact same way as we see critics do today. By bringing up that the main goal is to get three girls to sleep with you, and reducing girls to mere “objects”, by not letting the text parser to recognize the word “woman”. The critics of that time claimed that the game “reinforces the notion that all computer freaks are emotionally underdeveloped high school and college boys”. This however did not stop people from buying the game. Sierra was said to have sold 25.000 copies of the game for the Apple 2 (of which there were only 100.000 sold) and many more pirated copies were floating around.

While playing the game, I did not think much of it. It was a regular text adventure game like Zork, but much shorter and with fewer puzzles. Taking into account the technical limitations of the time, it is a funny little game. The text parses barely recognizes anything you put in it. Most of the puzzles, you would solve by saying something like “TURN ON TV”, but it only recognizes two words. You can play two mini-games within the game—blackjack and slots. To play blackjack is probably the most fun you will have with the game, besides trying to fuck the bouncer. Slots is done in a funny way, as it switches random ASCII signs in three positions to replicate the feeling of a real fruit machine, you can almost feel the pain of the programmer who had to work that in.

In conclusion, it is fun for what it is. Sierra’s only game without graphics is where it all started. Funny descriptions and the same setup as Leisure Suit Larry, make this game a true legend that you should try to play.

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  • Funny writing


  • Limited words recognized by text parser No graphics
  • Gameplay
  • Story
  • Writing
  • Replay Value


Worth playing it at least once for the humor, but it is rather dated.

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