23 February 2016

I first discovered Tomb Raider when I was 8 years old in the form of Tomb Raider III. I was too young (and scared) to play the game itself and for the first few years, I just ran around the Manor levels of the first three games and pretended I was jumping and climbing on the assault course with this amazing lady called Lara Croft. I instantly found a hero to look up to who remains so to this day. Now, my 6 year old brother is also a big fan of Lara. He likes to watch me play Rise of the Tomb Raider. However, because of the level of violence, there is very little of it he can watch - only the challenge tombs and general exploration to find the extras that I missed.

This gave me an idea…Lara has been reinvented over and over. Could she be reinvented again, this time for children? Even the recent more light hearted tablet/phone games, Lara Croft: Relic Run and Lara Croft GO (rated 9+), still promote gun use.
Over the years, the Tomb Raider games have been criticised for glamourising this as well harming wild animals. Of course, that can be said for any action game and film in history.

What would happen if we stripped the weapons, the death traps, the bad guys with big guns, the wild beasts trying to eat the protagonist for breakfast and make it purely about discovering and adventuring? Would it still be Lara Croft? Imagine a tablet game featuring a classic style Lara with a climbing harness in place of her double leg holsters. She takes you with her on her adventures around the world as you learn about the history and cultures of the countries you visit. Maybe join her on digs and help her solve puzzles as she tells you stories that may have relevance.

This could also be used in schools as a fun educational tool to get children enthusiastic about ancient history and the field Lara works in. No weapons, no violence. Just a strong female character for those of a young age to look up to.I’d like to start a debate about this. Let us know what you think in the comments or via our Facebook and Twitter pages and if you like, share this article with your friends.

"Disney Lara Croft" by Slatena. For more fantastic artwork and cosplays, check out her deviantArt page. Used with permission.


  1. I really like this idea! I remember watching a documentary years ago and hearing from someone that Doctor Who was originally created to be educational; that the Doctor could travel through time and talk with influential figures and bathe in the atmosphere of a time period. That idea has always been interesting to me and I wish they had explored that a little more.

    I think Tomb Raider has a similar potential; Lara can explore myths and legend as well as study historical artifacts and important dates. It could also be used as an introduction into a language or a culture or a country. That would be really fascinating too! I know there's some subjects which are taught in UK schools which could fit this style of game. Plus it would be a major help to students who remember things through engagement and visual learning rather than, y'know, "do assignments A to C from this textbook" which most of my subjects always seem to be based on.

  2. Interesting idea. The 2013 reboot was explicitly violent, including some hints of sexual violence, and had some pretty gory death scenes. So I can understand why parents wouldn't want their kids playing it. (It got an '18' rating for good reason.)

    So there could well be a market for a Tomb Raider without gore & swearing etc, with an de-emphasis on combat and emphasis on puzzle solving instead, with some educational content as well. And I think some adults would be interested in that too.

    The potential pitfalls, something Lara knows all about, are that it might come across as merely a watered down version of Tomb Raider and the feeling that kids are being given something that is good for them rather than something that's fun.

    Maybe there is a market for something based on the adventures of a younger (2013) Lara, not specifically marketed for kids, but with a more child friendly rating. And as mentioned an emphasis puzzle solving with combat being an absolute last resort, and with it being possible to avoid it entirely.

    Well those are my thoughts on the subject.