by Sierra On-Line
(On-Line Systems folder)

Softporn was an adult text adventure, the goal of which was simply to meet and sleep with three women. Originally written independently by Chuck Benton, the game was passed around to various publishers until Ken Williams picked it up as part of the On-Line Systems library. Every other publisher was terrified to sell it, and no self-respecting retailer would admit to stocking the thing. Even so, On-Line managed to sell 20,000 copies, to about one-fifth of the registered Apple user population at the time. (Source: The Official Book of Leisure Suit Larry.) Softporn was largely a novelty product: After about the first year or so, the novelty wore off, and interest and sales dropped abruptly.

It was Sierra's only all-text adventure, not part of the Hi-Res series, and written in AppleSoft BASIC. It was also the first computer adventure to cause a controversy (Ken got hate-mail from a bunch of people, mostly self-righteous religious types), and it paved the way for Leisure Suit Larry years later.

Here it is, the infamous cover art. The woman on the right is Roberta Williams. (Yes, the creator of King's Quest, naked in a hot tub!) The other two were, at the time, On-Line's bookkeeper and the wife of Ken's assistant, though I couldn't tell you which is which. The waiter, though he looks kind of like Ken Williams himself, was hired from a local four-star restaurant for the shot. Also notice the Apple II computer in the background.

The On-Line package is the usual paperboard folder, and two varieties of cover exist, one in color and the other black-and-white. I'm not 100% certain which came first. I've seen both the Apple and Atari versions in color, but never the B&W.


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