I was checking out the new Larry game. It returns to some of the places from the original. The original Larry, despite it’s comedic values, was actually a pretty dark game. It took place at night, in sleazy locations, it was full of unpleasant people who took advantage of the hero, sometimes in nasty ways. Over the years, the series took a turn to much lighthearted entertainment, culminating with Love for Sail, not a bad game, but a very mainstream, commercial, sanitized experience compared to Larry 1. The new one? It’s even worse. It looks like a slightly naughty Disney cartoon version. That doesn’t mean the game is bad, but it sure lost lots of edge (actually all of it).
It made me think about other beloved series that started with dark comedy vide. Maniac Mansion, the ultimate B-grade movie horror influenced game, turned into kids friendly, wacky DOTT. MI and MI2 were also pretty dark in my opinion. Some of the stuff was bit unsettling when I was a kid and graphics certainly helped to enhance this mood. This changed a lot with Curse (Monkey Island, the Sunny Beach Edition) and culminated with Escape, a terrible candy land nightmare, that would be too sweet (or too cheesy?) for Micky Mouse. Even the remastered version of MI2 also looked much more colourful and kid friendly than the original.
Obviously stuff like this happens in other mediums as well. Look at the original Nightmare on Elm Street and part VI. Loosing a dark edge is a way to make the product more commercial.
I’m curious if you guys are also bothered by this and what kind of examples would you name. Maybe there are some games that went the other way?