Where to start?!
My name is Laurie Scudder (aka Lori Croft), and I live in London, England. I have a degree in archaeology, but work at a national newspaper full time. In my spare time I am an avid gamer and movie buff as well as an aspiring writer. I have a vivid imagination and have several stories on the go; one day I would love to finish them and get published. I also have an obsession with pole fitness and have been going to regular classes for around 4 years now. And obviously I wouldn’t be doing this interview if I didn’t have an unnatural obsession with Tomb Raider!
When and how did you learn about the Tomb Raider series?
I got into the Tomb Raider series when I was at a friend’s house one weekend and was watching her brother play Tomb Raider on their PC. He was in the Lost Valley and was hiding from the T-Rex and I had never seen anything so awesome! At the time I had the dream of becoming a palaeontologist so dinosaurs fascinated me and this amazing acrobatic woman who was running around fighting them caught my imagination straight away. My friend also pointed out to me that she had brown hair and brown eyes like me so it was almost like looking at me as an adult (I was 11 years old at the time) so from then on I saw her as my role model. For Christmas that year (1996) I got a PlayStation and Tomb Raider and I have been hooked ever since!
Do you run a Tomb Raider fansite or blog? If so, what would you say was your biggest achievement to date?
Yes indeed I do! I am lead admin for a Tomb Raider fan site called Survivor Reborn. We have a website and a good following on Twitter and Facebook. We also have a forum which is a small community but very friendly. I would probably say having such a lovely group of people join a forum I created seems to be my biggest achievement so far. I also have a YouTube channel under my admin name Lori Croft where I’m slowly building up Let’s Play videos (my main goal is to have Let’s Play videos of every Tomb Raider game), although I’ve taken a big step back recently as life got in the way. I’m hoping to get back into it again in the next few weeks when things calm down a bit!
How has Tomb Raider changed your life?
How has Tomb Raider *not* changed my life, haha! It was because of Lara that I decided to do my degree in archaeology and why I have such a love for gaming. And if it wasn’t for Tomb Raider, I would not have met my best friend! He works for Square Enix (formerly Eidos) and we met on a Tomb Raider forum. That was over five years ago and we’re getting married next year.
Were you interested in archaeology before discovering Tomb Raider? Have the Tomb Raider games and films inspired you to learn more about ancient history?
I was always interested in history from an early age (I think Indiana Jones probably helped with that) so it’s probably why I was so into Tomb Raider in the first place, but then it also worked the other way in that Tomb Raider encouraged my love of history to eventually lead me into getting my degree.
What are your thoughts on Lara’s image? Is she simply the product of a sexist gaming industry or can she be seen as a positive role model?
Well to be honest, I think when I was younger, I was completely oblivious to any of the arguments going on about Lara’s sexuality and I always saw her as too much of a cartoon character to be portrayed realistically as a sex object. But how she looked never bothered me anyway, it’s how she acted in game and her fearless, “don’t give a shit” attitude that made me look up to her as well as her fierce intelligence and wit. As an adult, I look back and can see how she may have been exploited, but to be fair, when you compare her to other female characters in gaming at the time, I think she got off lightly! She also really stood out because she wasn’t just a run of the mill busty bimbo that was the usual image of women in games, she went against the stereotype and because of that, became the centre of attention, which obviously led to some disturbing sorts of attention, but it was still a step in the right direction and Lara was at the forefront of it all!
The Lara however from the LAU trilogy came out at a time when I was more aware of everything around me in terms of politics and sexuality etc, and some of the outfits (namely the black dress in Japan levels of Legend) I think really overstepped the mark. Luckily they managed to get things right with the rebooted Lara and I think they have gone back to making a Lara that young girls should be proud to relate to as well as look up to.
What’s your favourite Tomb Raider game?
My favourite I think will always be the first because I have such a history with it and it was my first real step into gaming. Every time I play the game, it’s like a step back into my childhood and it’s still very much my favourite way to escape the world around me. That and it will always be my definition of what a Tomb Raider game should be: in tombs, with puzzles, atmosphere and isolation. It’s perfect and it has been perfect for nearly 20 years!
Close behind is Last Revelation though, as I just love the general feeling of the game and I adore the Egyptian theme.
And your least favourite game?
Legend. Just no! Very pretty and fun game to play on that rare occasion, but it is not a Tomb Raider game in my eyes.
Classic, Legend-Anniversary-Underworld or Reboot Lara?
Classic Lara, forever and always for me.I think the main draw of Classic Lara is that she was always a blank canvas so you could portray whatever you wanted onto her for anyone to relate to. I know there are a lot of fans out there who see Classic Lara as a bad-ass psychopathic killer and they love her for that, but I never saw that side of her, and if I did, I would never have been a fan. To me Lara was all about adventure and setting out to learn more about the world and she could be courteous and polite, even a hero, unless you tried to kill her. Then it was kill or be killed!
I do love the rebooted Lara, but the whole parents issue bugs me no end! Lara is meant to be an independent and free spirit. And doing archaeology because her dad did it just isn’t right in my eyes.
Do you have any favourite Tomb Raider moments or quotes?
There are so many moments…
One that always pops to mind is the T Rex in the Lost Valley, as it’s one of my first experiences. Also the first time you hear the mummies groaning in the Egyptian levels was always a spine chiller for me.
As for quotes, I would say at the end of Tomb Raider 2, before she jumps in the shower and says “Don’t you think you’ve seen enough?!” before shooting the camera! Love it!
What about least favourite moments? Is there anything you dislike about the games/films/comics?
Probably the worst moment for me was Lara finding her mum in Underworld. After all the build-up in the three games, it was such an anti-climax. It doesn’t help that I hate the searching for mother story line anyway!
There’s not a lot I can say that I don’t like other than I said above the mother and father references, they are just not needed. That and romance. I’m no prude, but I grew up with the idea that Lara was too busy for love and she saw it as something that would just get in the way… kind of like Sherlock Holmes!
If you could change one thing about the Tomb Raider franchise, what would you change?
The only real thing I can think of is the fact there now seems to be so much focus on Lara and her backstory and the people around her. For me it always needed to be about the current and what she was doing at that moment in time. I want to figure out how to get to the next level of the game from where I am, not how Lara feels about killing an endangered animal or whatever!
Which places would you like to see Lara explore in future games?
Egypt has always been a favourite of mine, hence why I hold Last Revelation so close to my heart. I get so excited about the thought of what that game would look like in current gen graphics! That and obviously there are actual tombs in Egypt! The game is called Tomb Raider so it’s only natural that we should expect tombs! The last game seemed to have a distinct lack of them.
Oh and China would be an interesting one to revisit. But I understand there’s plenty of places she has yet to go, so it would be good to see her going somewhere new. As long as there are tombs, I’m not fussed.
Finally, if you could join Lara on one of her adventures, where would you go?
Again the answer is Egypt! Would always be Egypt as I love the art, the architecture, the history, the myths; it all fascinates me!
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