Why Tomb Raider fails to live up to its standards

Posted by PaulRevere (206 posts) -

Tomb Raider 1 - 3 had me enthralled as a kid. They were some of my first games because my mom thought Lara Croft was a good role model for me. Well, I suppose that's not the best way to phrase it, but she liked the idea that her daughter would be able to play as a strong, intelligent woman. Ever since 1996, I've been a Lara Croft fangirl. What couldn't the woman do? She knew how to jump and bound around, all the while shooting guys and taking shit from exactly 0.0000 people. In my world, that was the most awesome thing I'd seen a woman do in any media.

How many girls felt/feel the same way? How many are excited for this new "origin" story?

And now how many do you think are excited after these comments?

Once again, let's argue about women in games...

What fun.

Let me set something straight... I thought the outrage over her moaning last year was ridiculous. I actually found it worse that people (mostly men IMO) thought they were "sex noises." The moans themselves meant nothing to me and I wouldn't have noticed if certain people hadn't pointed them out. But I quickly got over that. Nothing was going to keep me from a new Tomb Raider.

Fast forward to the new outrage that is slowly dividing the gaming community down the center (at least those interested in the game). Sexism is never a great topic and can be debated until blue in the face, but I don't think it's very easy to make the argument that defends this bullshit. I'm not a feminist by any means, but what was said was completely batshit crazy.

"When people play Lara, they don't really project themselves into the character." Ron Rosenberg, you just lost a bit of your audience. As a woman, I project myself into the character much in the same way a man can project himself into pretty much any and every other character out there.

"They're more like 'I want to protect her.' There's this sort of dynamic of 'I'm going to this adventure with her and trying to protect her." Yes, Lara needs some help this time around as she's young and inexperienced. But I sure as shit don't need to protect her. I need to help her, the same way I helped John Marston or Commander Shepard.

"She's definitely the hero but— you're kind of like her helper... When you see her have to face these challenges, you start to root for her in a way that you might not root for a male character." Fair, he admits that we are helping her. Okay, but why am I rooting for her more than a male character? Because she's a woman and I have to suspend reality more to accept that she could overcome this? Because men do this every fucking day but hell freezes over before a woman shows strength?

[Referring to the "rape" scene] "She is literally turned into a cornered animal... It's a huge step in her evolution: she's forced to either fight back or die." Honestly, I get why there'd be a rape scene and I am not necessarily offended because realistically, that could happen if the circumstances were real. But when this is combined with the whole 'protect her because she's a woman thing,' it comes off as almost condescending. I can't really put it into words, but I'm not super offended, I just didn't like the sentiment.

Then this comes out denying the rape scene. I don't give a shit if there's a rape scene or not. Rosenberg says it's rape, the company says sexual assault is not covered in the game. What needs to be expressed more plainly is that the killing of another person is what changes her, not a fucking attempted rape.

If you ask me, rape is a lame attempt at character development. Have a female come close to getting raped and all of a sudden she's better able to protect herself. Wow, you guys are SO creative. Toss out the idea that she HAS TO SURVIVE IN THE WILD or that people are trying to kill her. No, that has nothing to do with characterization, it has to be something about a man's domination over a woman.

What I'm saying is, this is what I got from Rosenberg: Lara is not to be seen more than just a sympathetic sprite that men are supposed to shepherd through trials and danger so she can emerge in one piece and because of this, she as a person is now stronger. How can you give us such a shitty description of your Lara Croft origin story? Like any work of fiction, the audience (generally) is not a part of it. As an origin story, we should be watching this happen, not omnisciently protecting. I know, all games are technically the player omnisciently helping, but I don't like that it's pointed out so blatantly. Suspend reality for a second.

I will play the game and I will probably like it (barring shitty controls or something like that). Because I doubt the game is as sexist as Rosenberg made it seem. It's just one guy's (lame) take on it. The game itself won't address the idea that you're a protectorate or whatever the fuck they want you to be. The game will take you on a journey with Lara, same as the other games (except with way more quicktime events unfortunately). It will give you new insight into what makes Lara tick, and that's the most important thing to me.

TL;DR The comments made about Tomb Raider were wrong and pretty dumb, but the game hopefully isn't affected by it.

#1 Posted by PaulRevere (206 posts) -

Tomb Raider 1 - 3 had me enthralled as a kid. They were some of my first games because my mom thought Lara Croft was a good role model for me. Well, I suppose that's not the best way to phrase it, but she liked the idea that her daughter would be able to play as a strong, intelligent woman. Ever since 1996, I've been a Lara Croft fangirl. What couldn't the woman do? She knew how to jump and bound around, all the while shooting guys and taking shit from exactly 0.0000 people. In my world, that was the most awesome thing I'd seen a woman do in any media.

How many girls felt/feel the same way? How many are excited for this new "origin" story?

And now how many do you think are excited after these comments?

Once again, let's argue about women in games...

What fun.

Let me set something straight... I thought the outrage over her moaning last year was ridiculous. I actually found it worse that people (mostly men IMO) thought they were "sex noises." The moans themselves meant nothing to me and I wouldn't have noticed if certain people hadn't pointed them out. But I quickly got over that. Nothing was going to keep me from a new Tomb Raider.

Fast forward to the new outrage that is slowly dividing the gaming community down the center (at least those interested in the game). Sexism is never a great topic and can be debated until blue in the face, but I don't think it's very easy to make the argument that defends this bullshit. I'm not a feminist by any means, but what was said was completely batshit crazy.

"When people play Lara, they don't really project themselves into the character." Ron Rosenberg, you just lost a bit of your audience. As a woman, I project myself into the character much in the same way a man can project himself into pretty much any and every other character out there.

"They're more like 'I want to protect her.' There's this sort of dynamic of 'I'm going to this adventure with her and trying to protect her." Yes, Lara needs some help this time around as she's young and inexperienced. But I sure as shit don't need to protect her. I need to help her, the same way I helped John Marston or Commander Shepard.

"She's definitely the hero but— you're kind of like her helper... When you see her have to face these challenges, you start to root for her in a way that you might not root for a male character." Fair, he admits that we are helping her. Okay, but why am I rooting for her more than a male character? Because she's a woman and I have to suspend reality more to accept that she could overcome this? Because men do this every fucking day but hell freezes over before a woman shows strength?

[Referring to the "rape" scene] "She is literally turned into a cornered animal... It's a huge step in her evolution: she's forced to either fight back or die." Honestly, I get why there'd be a rape scene and I am not necessarily offended because realistically, that could happen if the circumstances were real. But when this is combined with the whole 'protect her because she's a woman thing,' it comes off as almost condescending. I can't really put it into words, but I'm not super offended, I just didn't like the sentiment.

Then this comes out denying the rape scene. I don't give a shit if there's a rape scene or not. Rosenberg says it's rape, the company says sexual assault is not covered in the game. What needs to be expressed more plainly is that the killing of another person is what changes her, not a fucking attempted rape.

If you ask me, rape is a lame attempt at character development. Have a female come close to getting raped and all of a sudden she's better able to protect herself. Wow, you guys are SO creative. Toss out the idea that she HAS TO SURVIVE IN THE WILD or that people are trying to kill her. No, that has nothing to do with characterization, it has to be something about a man's domination over a woman.

What I'm saying is, this is what I got from Rosenberg: Lara is not to be seen more than just a sympathetic sprite that men are supposed to shepherd through trials and danger so she can emerge in one piece and because of this, she as a person is now stronger. How can you give us such a shitty description of your Lara Croft origin story? Like any work of fiction, the audience (generally) is not a part of it. As an origin story, we should be watching this happen, not omnisciently protecting. I know, all games are technically the player omnisciently helping, but I don't like that it's pointed out so blatantly. Suspend reality for a second.

I will play the game and I will probably like it (barring shitty controls or something like that). Because I doubt the game is as sexist as Rosenberg made it seem. It's just one guy's (lame) take on it. The game itself won't address the idea that you're a protectorate or whatever the fuck they want you to be. The game will take you on a journey with Lara, same as the other games (except with way more quicktime events unfortunately). It will give you new insight into what makes Lara tick, and that's the most important thing to me.

TL;DR The comments made about Tomb Raider were wrong and pretty dumb, but the game hopefully isn't affected by it.

#2 Posted by haggis (1677 posts) -

I just chalk it up to largely male game developers not knowing how to talk about women characters to a largely male audience. I think because women gamers are used to the gender disparity (since most game protagonists are male) they don't get hung up on this. Then again, many of us male gamers play female characters (my Commander Shepard is a female, for instance). I don't think there's much doubt that women in games tend to be little more than juvenile fantasy (there are, of course, exceptions), but the Tomb Raider reboot looks to be trying to do more than that, despite the clumsy and silly description.

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