Tomb Raider

Who is Lara Croft

Two words: Lara Croft. OK, stop there. What did you see? An image will undoubtedly have flashed into your mind. She is, after all, one of gaming's most widely-recognised characters, so you almost certainly have an idea of who 'Lara Croft' is. Yet her appearance and personality have changed so dramatically over the past 19 years, there is arguably no single Lara Croft.

Gamesradar+ Think you know Lara Croft? Don't be so sure...

Oh thank you, dear Justin Towell - this is such an interesting topic. 

So, who is my personal Lara Croft? It is certainly not the innocent girl in the reboot - who needs to be nearly raped in order to become a mass murderer. Don't get me wrong: I think the "reboot" called Tomb Raider is a fabulous and fun game with an intense Tomb Raider-feeling - but it has little to do with "Lara Croft".

For ME, the most defining Lara Croft was the one from Tomb Raider comics I read in the early 2000s. Here, Lara is a mix between the women in Tomb Raider 1 to 3: Highly educated, rich, privileged - i.e. she does what she does but not for money nor fame - she is not corruptable, but so dawn curious and ambitious that she travels the world, risking everything for an object or story that just is interesting for her. Saving the world - if necessary .
Sometimes she has a bit of James Bond - but in general she is just an adventurer with the heart on the right spot.
And: sometimes she is more ruthless when it comes to enforcing the victory than the other famous adventurer and archeologist, Indiana Jones (who was not so innocent at all).
I think that was the heroine who was able to become worlds most known female computer game character, as she was different than any other. Beautiful and sometimes oversexed, yes, but there are a lot of beautiful and sexy women in gaming. It needs more to become Lara Croft.

What's it like to be a female game character, Lara Croft?

Diana Maria.jpgLast weekend I bought a collection of 11 Tomb Raider games via humble bundle and am quite happy as I missed some of them like old friends - especially the first level of TR 2 which I played hundreds of times as a demo on my first iMac back in 1999. As a matter of fact, I still know every detail of the first minutes with a degree that is only compareable to Super Mario Bros 1-1 and the first level of Mirror's Edge. Well, saying this, I stumbled upon this really interesting interview with game character writer Rhianna Pratchett, known for Faith from Mirror's Edge and, of course, Lara Croft in the first part of the reboot. It deals with a wide range of topics like the differences between male and female characters, guys with boobs, LGBT character designs and cultural baggage:

I didn’t want to just make Lara a male character with boobs. It’s always kind of a…it is a human story at heart. But there things—the language she uses, or the way that she interacts—that could be said to be more feminine. I’m very much not talking about her sense of vulnerability or being scared. That again has been rolled out as: male characters aren’t shown as being scared or vulnerable, why should female characters? Well, just because it hasn’t been done with male characters doesn’t make it wrong! It’s probably more of a problem of the way we depict male characters.

Kill Screen: Tomb Raider writer Rhianna Pratchett on why every kill can't be the first and why she hoped to make Lara Croft gay

Image: „Diana Maria“ von Lara Croft Double Diana Maria Dorow - Diana Maria Dorow. Lizenziert unter CC BY-SA 3.0 de über Wikimedia Commons.


History of Tomb Raider

With the exception of Tomb Raider for Gameboy I think I have played and finished every game of the Tomb Rader series. Not even my beloved Zelda games may claim this fact. So it is a very interesting travel through my personal gaming history, remembering all the games featuring famous adventurer Lara Croft.

In the pantheon of popular video-game characters, Tomb Raider heroine Lara Croft has carved out a place for herself as one of the industry’s most accomplished and successful icons. Since the release of the very first Tomb Raider back in 1996, the globe-trotting adventurer has starred in more than a dozen games, a pair of big-budget Hollywood blockbusters, a long-running comic-book series, an animated series, and even a set of amusement-park rides.

Digital Trends: History of Tomb Raider: Blowing the dust off 17 years of Lara Croft

SpOn: Story Telling in Tomb Raider

Der Spiegel Online Artikel Game-Autorin: Wie Spielgeschichten besser werden beschreibt, wie die Autorin Susan O'Connor die Story des neuen Tomb Raider Teils (der im Moment ganz massiv durch die Medien getrieben wird) "gerettet" hat und spricht einige wichtige Punkte an. Ich hatte vor ein paar Wochen schon etwas zum Story Telling in Tomb Raider gebloggt und dabei auch darauf hingewiesen, dass Rhianna Pratchett - die Autorin, um die es dort ging - auch die Story für Mirror's Edge geschrieben hatte. Das Spiel ist geradezu ein Paradebeispiel für eine zwar potenziell geniale aber letztlich geradezu dämliche Storyline. Brauchte das Team von Tomb Raider deswegen noch eine "Retterin"?

Es ist letztlich wirklich so, wie O'Connor sagt:

"Bei Spielen wird noch viel zu oft erst an der Technik gefeilt und dann drumherum eine Geschichte gebaut", sagt O'Connor. Das führe dazu, dass die Geschichten nicht richtig funktionierten. Der Spieler werde zwar mitgerissen, erlebe starke Emotionen wie Angst oder Wut. Doch seien diese Reaktionen bisher eher zufällig, von Szene zu Szene, und sie seien nicht besonders komplex.

Der Hinweis auf das Fernsehen, den sie gibt, ist aber nur bedingt nützlich: Die Nichtlinearität vieler Spieler erschwert gutes Storywriting ungemein.

Rhianna Pratchett reinvented Tomb Raider

"I grew up playing Tomb Raider, uncovering the world's secrets and unearthing its treasures; I have lived and died as Lara Croft, but nothing comes close to the challenge of re-writing her," said Pratchett in a press release. "Seldom do we get the opportunity to reimagine and reinvent a legend, so getting my narrative hands on Miss Croft was a once-in-a-life-time opportunity."

'Tomb Raider' penned by 'Mirror's Edge' writer Rhianna Pratchett

Rhianna Pratchett

Interview: Nora Tschirner ist Lara Crofts neue deutsche Stimme

Mehr Kleidung und Charakter, weniger Oberweite: Für den neuen Teil des Actionspiels "Tomb Raider" wurde Hauptfigur Lara Croft ordentlich modernisiert. Auch die deutsche Stimme ist neu: Nora Tschirner spricht die Heldin und mit SPIEGEL ONLINE über Brüste, Katastrophen und ihre eigene Nerdhaftigkeit.

"Lara Croft"-Stimme Nora Tschirner - Schreien, stammeln, stöhnen