My first experience with Tomb Raider - TOMB RAIDER CORNER #2
ART SPECIAL FEATURE: Illyne
Our first experience with our favorite things stick with us and shape us as people, to an extent. For me, that favorite thing is Tomb Raider. I am a transgender woman who was not allowed to express her femininity at a young age, I was told that it was bad to act that way and that I was not supposed to. This led to me feeling very repressed in a way, forced to only find joy in things that were explicitly masculine. However, due to some sexist ideas my parents had about video games I managed to get away with expressing myself within those games. Whether that be the sims, where I could make a character and quite literally be whoever I wanted to me or whether it was sneaking onto Barbie.com to play the flash games. However, before either of these there was a game that truly allowed me to express that part of me. That game was Tomb Raider: Legend. Now, my first Tomb Raider game ever was angel of darkness but I was far too young to play it and never got very far with it, so while I loved being Lara Croft I could never be her for a very long time. Eventually, I got my hands on Tomb Raider: Legend. I remember seeing the trailer and just being completely obsessed with everything about it. Flipping around, shooting while wearing extremely iconic outfits. It stuck with me. I knew that I had to play it. The Tomb Raider youtube community at the time had tons of videos showcasing some gameplay too, and that only furthered my interest.
Playing that game for the first time felt like one of the safest, most genuine experiences I have ever had. I’m aware how silly that can sound, but as a young trans girl who was not allowed to express any type of femininity, it stuck with me. There I could have that experience, I was allowed to have it. It felt so freeing and I was so grateful for it. One element I remember loving was the unlockable outfits being selectable in Lara’s closet in her mansion, I loved that. I would often pretend that I was surviving a home invasion of some kind and pretend to warn Winston, Zip and Allistair. Unsurprisingly they never responded. Although, a medium to express femininity wasn’t the only reason I fell in love with Legend. I started to adore the environments I would explore, I loved the way it felt to scale giant structures and backflip while doing it. I loved the power it gave me to backflip off of an enemy and shoot them in the face. All of this led to my wider love of Tomb Raider. The day that I became a maniac in terms of my adoration for the franchise though, was when I played underworld’s demo disc for the Xbox360. I remember swimming around like a mermaid in the water for hours, making up scenarios, and reasons for what Lara was doing there. It felt so freeing, and like an escape from the reality of my situation at the time.
First experiences with Tomb Raider are so important to talk about and discuss. They shape what kind of fans we become and what we look for in a Tomb Raider game. It’s important to remember that within this fandom full of people with varying opinions, none of us are right or wrong. Tomb Raider is many different things to many different people, and that's what makes it so wonderful.
What are some of your initial experiences with Tomb Raider? What is Tomb Raider to you? Let us know @tombraiderinf on twitter!