4 September 2009

It's 1997. Mario Kart has been released for the first time. For the Nintendo64 and Bungie Studios (that will later create the Halo series) has just been formed. The year also saw the release of Tomb Raider II. For the game, Eidos had released a series of advertisement that portrayed Lara Croft in a different light then the original creator (Toby Gard) wanted. In the same year Lara was involved in cross promotion with the car company; SEAT. Both promotions created some controversy. In this article the question we will be focusing on is;
How did the advertisement in 1997 effect the character now in 2009.

In 1997 Eidos was involved in cross promotion with SEAT where Lara had appeared in maxim style poses, in adverts, website sites, magazines, newspapers, interviews and more, Lara's appearance over the first few years of the series was one of the main reasons that Lara hasn't managed to lose the "sex symbol" title. In the Gametap Tomb Raider Documentary Ian Livingston admitted that it was Lara's appearance that the games sold as well as they did.

"Lara has been dubbed both feminist icon and pixelated playtoy." - Narration for Tomb Raider Documentary

12 years has passed since, however it's those first few years that people remembered the most. According to some of my friends that hasn't played the game, they weren't aware that Tomb Raider was still running, they believed it stopped in the 20th century and in a way I sort of understand why they would think that. To me the games are spilt into two groups those that are the classic games and those which are the modern games. The classic games for me are 1-4 ending in Egypt with The Last Revelation. Tomb Raider Chronicles is in the middle there, it sort of like a birthday being born near midnight on February 20th, it can be considered as Aquarius or Pieces. Tomb Raider Chronicles can be considered as a classic or a modern games. By modern games I mean that they seem more realistic and that it has a different feel from the first four. Legend, Underworld and Angel of Darkness are the games I seem to consider has a different feel when playing it. What I'm trying to say is that most people when they hear Tomb Raider they consider the first few games, and the same with my fans, to us we tend to think that Lara Croft always wears her classic outfit even though there has been three games, two movies and a animated series since then. 

What happened in the first few years of the franchise is what people most remember about the series, if you watched Gametap's Tomb Raider Documentary and the chapter called "Pixelated and Debated" there were two people being interviewed Jennifer Baumgardener a former editor at Miss magazine and Ismini Roby who is co-founder of WomanGamers.com. Jennifer was defending Lara where Ismini was against her. In the interview I noticed that Ismini Roby only brought up the classic Lara and didn't mention the latest models (2006 onwards), whereas Jennifer Baumgardener mentioned Lara through-out the series. It's interesting to see that people who dislike Lara tend to focus on the earlier games and blame the model of Lara when realism was really hard to do then the later games.

At the start of the series there was an enormous amount of media coverage of the new game. Magazines focused on her appearance, Toby Gard admitted that "Realism was impossible". Even though the latest designs are more proportioned the magazines, trailers and other media back in the mid 1990's is what people will remember.


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