In this series of posts I want to explore games from my past. In doing so I aim to not only highlight pieces of game history (good or bad), but also examine my personal relationship to gaming.
Since Tomb Raider, and by extension Lara Croft, is celebrating its 20th anniversary I thought it would be fitting to look at this famous series. I have a lot of fond memories of the games, and a lot of scary ones too.
Tomb Raider played a big part in my gaming history – as a family we played all the Tomb Raider games together. Our Playstation was in the living room, my dad was the main player and I’m fairly sure he wasn’t allowed to play the game without me or my sister present. Our job was to read the walkthrough, which always came from Stella’s Walkthroughs. My dad would print out the WHOLE game’s worth of walkthrough at work and bind it. My memory is of these huge tomes of tomb raider secrets. I had the additional job of doing the difficult jumps my dad couldn’t (I guess I have better hand-eye coordination). As the ones watching, my sister, mum and I also had the role of looking out for things my dad missed and providing suggestions when he got stuck. Not that he would listen the first time…
This is something I miss when gaming with friends, that feeling of playing games with other people right next to you, participating, even if they are not necessarily playing. When I think back to my childhood experiences of console gaming, this is the dynamic I think of. I enjoying playing games at my parents house because I still get to experience this – my dad and sometimes my mum will watch me and make suggestions and cheer me on (even when they have no idea what game I’m playing).
Lara herself was something of an idol to me, she was everything I wished I could be. She was smart, fierce, beautiful, strong, brave and exciting. She went on amazing adventures, solved ancient puzzles, performed death-defying feats, fought dinosaurs, and still had time to put in a witty quip. I one thousand percent wanted to be her.
I haven’t revisited any of the old Tomb Raider since we first played them. I’m worried they won’t live up to the image of the I have in my head. Between the graphics, old consoles and limited spaces and movement, maybe I wouldn’t enjoy them anymore. I’d rather not touch them if it meant keeping them in my head as the most exciting adventures available.
One other thing I have to mention on the impact Tomb Raider had on me: I am terrified on swimming in water outside a pool. I can do it, I do know how to swim well. It’s just…I’m afraid a shark or a crocodile or some piranhas will appear out of nowhere and eat me. And this is definitely down to this game. Those underwater levels filled me with dread and made me feel so powerless – a feeling I have transferred over in real life.
Please share with me your feelings on nostalgia and the key games of your childhood – I’d love to hear your fond memories of the Tomb Raider games and Lara Croft.