I was into Cloud and Sub Zero back when Lara Croft was popular and, other than one game where I learned the codes to make the poor, busty adventurer explode, I made no effort to get into the Tomb Raider games. I did watch the movies, but only to satisfy my crush on Angelina Jolie. I’m sure I’ve even read one or two of Top Cow’s comics where Lara hooked up with Sara Pezzini. In other words, I know of Lara, but never cared enough to play her until the recent reboot. Now that I’m gaming more seriously with an eye for story and character development, it seemed like a great time to get into the game.
Until they started advertising it. Nothing says “This is a great game that you should totally play” like an (almost) rape scene.
No no, said my guy friends. The game is really good! You have to try it. The thing is, I do believe said guy friends, who did their best to explain that the game is not at all what the ads tried to portray it as (and she doesn’t *actually* get raped in that scene – she kicks their ass instead so that makes the trope okay). I found it strange that I wasn’t hearing anything from lady gamers, though admittedly, I didn’t actively hunt down reviews from trusted sites that might offer the female perspective. The promotional material for Tomb Raider had sufficiently turned me off enough to keep the game low on my Steam wish list.
But Steam cannot be denied. It diligently wore me down until, with the recent holiday sale, I decided to clicky and saw this trailer. Hm. Promoting gaming as a hobby for all ages, races and genders? Promoting the empowering aspects of the character with a focus on actual game play and characterization instead of victimization? $9.99? All right. I’ll bite. Though purchase does not mean immediate play – until I learned this week that Gail Simone was writing the new comics that would go along with the new games.
Gail Simone. She does things. She does things with female characters of questionable history. She doesn’t take away their essence or even their chainmail bikinis, as with her recent reboot of Red Sonja. But she makes them work. She allows them to be feminine. She allows them to be sexy well beyond what they are wearing. But she doesn’t allow their boobs and vaginas to be a weakness they need to overcome in order to prove themselves. If they are flawed, victimized or they have traumas to triumph over, these defining elements are not necessarily bound to their gender.
I’m definitely interested in reading her comic, and now that I’ve seen her glowing review of the game, after her scathing opinion based on the initial advertising, I’ve even moved the new Tomb Raider game up on my play list.
After Skyrim, Saints Row, The Witcher….