Bits from my personal collection – Softporn

Created in 1981 by Charles Benton for the Apple II. Softporn initially was an exercise for Benton to teach himself Applesoft Basic. Friends who tried this comedically adult oriented text adventure really enjoyed it and encouraged him to selfpublish it.
Under the name “Blue Sky Software” Benton sold around a 100 copies of the 1000 that were produced.
At a tradeshow sometime in 1981, where Benton was promoting and selling his game, he encountered Ken Williams co-founder of On-Line Systems (Later Sierra On-Line), who eventually decided to publish the game under the On-Line Systems name, an estimated 50.000 copies where sold and Ken estimated that Softporn temporarily doubled On-Line’s sales – Not a bad feat.
Softporn is On-Line Systems only text adventure.

A “modern” remake

When Sierra lost their Disney license in 1986, Al Lowe suggested a remake of Softporn, using their improved tools – layout and puzzles were the same as in Softporn, but Al introduced a protagonist, Larry Laffer.
Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards was released in 1987 and like Softporn it was met with controversy due to the adult nature of the game.
Unsure of how the game would be received, Sierra’s management chose to release it with no publicity or advertising budget. Only around 4.000 copies where sold upon release but by the end of the year it had surpassed 250.000 copies.
My Leisure Suit Larry collection can be seen here.

Below we have my On-Line Systems Softporn folders
On the right we have the better known black folder with the infamous hot tub scene, featuring none other than Roberta Wiliams, a couple of other On-line Systems employee and a waiter from a local restaurant. The photo was taken at Ken and Roberta’s house.
On the left we have a much rare version featuring Charles Benton’s own artwork, the same used on the earlier “Blue Sky Software” release (Benton’s self published release).
This white folder version is believed to be used for a very brief time before On-Line Systems had the black folder version ready for shipment – Not much info is  available, if anybody has more info I would love to hear it – In my 15 years of collecting I have only seen a couple of copies of the white folder, all of these had a different placement for the label on the floppy – The reason why I mentions this is because usually the label can help us establish a version, a specific period in time etc. but with Sierra’s early titles labels just seems very random – Hopefully I’ll get a lot clever on the topic as I dig deeper into it.
-I do have the Blue Sky Software release but only the folder, it’s stored away at the moment.

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