My name is Mark Gavin and I live in a town in the UK called Weymouth. Many of you know me as GamerManMark on Youtube. I am very interested in history and archaeology but my true love belongs to being a computer geek. My interests and hobbies are building computers, reading, playing videogames, spending time with my family and friends, and talking with people from the Tomb Raider community.
When and how did you learn about the Tomb Raider series?
I discovered Tomb Raider in the year 2000 (when I was 3) when my dad got Tomb Raider 2 as a present from someone. He used to play it on the family PC and I remember the first level I ever saw was Venice. I always used to sit by him at the computer and play the game. He would direct me and I remember the first time I played it alone: I accidently saved it while she was on fire. Oopsie!
Do you run a Tomb Raider fansite or blog? If so, what would you say was your biggest achievement to date?
Sadly I don’t run a Tomb Raider fansite or blog but it is definitely something to think about in future.
How has Tomb Raider changed your life?
Tomb Raider has completely changed my life. When I was in middle school, I never used to fit in. I got bullied pretty badly and I used to just come home and play Tomb Raider. Over the years, Tomb Raider really has been my comfort and Lara Croft taught me to be more confident and to be stronger. She is my role model and Tomb Raider has really helped me through rough times.
For me, Tomb Raider has been something that has given me strength and it really shows that the people who made the games made a great success because Lara is a very positive and strong role model. Another way Tomb Raider has changed my life is through all the amazing people I have met in the Tomb Raider community. They really have supported me through some bad times in my life and they are the nicest people I have ever met.
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 too young to even know what archaeology was when the early games were around. The games have been a huge inspiration for me with regards to learning about archaeology. Tomb Raider: Underworld was my favourite Tomb Raider game for archaeology because when I was at school, I was studying history and the subject was Norse mythology. I really started getting interested in archaeology because of Tomb Raider, even without me realising it .
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?
This is quite a difficult question to answer. Lara Croft should be seen as a positive role model to everyone. She is strong and confident and while some people see her as just big boobs, a true gamer would honestly see that there is much more to her than that! I certainly think that Lara Croft’s image has certainly appealed to males because of the way they have flaunted her before. Even though they might have pushed the boundaries several times, Lara still manages to look classy and elegant.
What’s your favourite Tomb Raider game?
My favourite Tomb Raider game is Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation. I love the way Lara is portrayed in that game as it shows many sides to her. It shows true friendship and loyalty to her friend, Jean Yves. It even shows Lara making a huge mistake by taking the Amulet of Horus and her persistence to retrieve it again. It shows her as a strong character who is determined.
Another reason why I like this game is because of how creepy it gets. The game starts off pretty light-hearted but I love the twist where it gets extremely evil towards the end of the game. Also, the soundtrack is absolutely beautiful and it really fits the mood of the game. I truly believe that Tomb Raider 4 was Peter Connelly’s best work. Even though, when I was a kid, I thought that the level editor was the actual Last Revelation game, I still love this game the most.
And your least favourite game?
Tomb Raider 2013 has to be my least favourite Tomb Raider game. I am not saying that I hate the game or anything but when I played the game, it really did not feel like Tomb Raider any more. There were hardly any puzzles in the game and it just seemed like a shoot-it-up kind of game. I really didn’t feel like it was Lara Croft anymore and when I play TR 2013, I find myself missing the old Lara.
Classic, Legend-Anniversary-Underworld or Reboot Lara?
Classic Lara will always be my favourite! Her attitude and her no-nonsense approach made her one of the most lovable people in the gaming industry.
I have to say I liked Legend. The way they showed her off as classy and elegant and the levels with her bike in Legend were just amazing! I really did not like her parents’ storyline as the ending to that particular storyline (for me) was absolutely awful. Tomb Raider Anniversary was my favourite of the LAU trilogy as it made me feel nostalgic for Tomb Raider 1 and they really did a good job of making it a more modern game while keeping most of the fun and puzzles from the original game. Underworld was my least favourite of the trilogy as the storyline just dragged and the puzzles just seemed to get very boring, though I do remember Coastal Thailand having some of the most stunning graphics I have ever seen in a Tomb Raider game. But out of all those games, Classic Lara will always be the best Lara to me.
Do you have any favourite Tomb Raider moments or quotes?
There are so many so this will be pretty difficult! I have to say one of my favourite moments was when Lara finds rubbish left on the ground by Pierre and says “Pierre, you litterbug.” Another favourite moment of mine is when the guy gets hit by the bell in Thames Wharf: “You might want to mind… the bell.” Also, I love the bike levels in Legend. They were really fun and what made it even better was hearing Zip get excited every time I did some stunt on the bike: “Yeah, baby! Do that again!” and “Okay, now you’re just showing off” with Lara replying “Zip, I never show off.”
I could write pages and pages of my favourite quotes and moments but those were my top favourites.
What about least favourite moments? Is there anything you dislike about the games/films/comics?
My least favourite moments of Tomb Raider? Wow, that’s very difficult! I’m going to have to rule out the comics because, sadly, I have never read any of the comics. I have to say that I really did not like the end of Last Revelation or Chronicles because of the fact that we thought Lara was dead but then had to wait until the end of Chronicles to find out she was actually alive. I thought it was dragged out way too much and I think that they should have never even thought about killing off Lara.
Another thing I dislike right now is the way the reboot is heading. Tomb Raider 2013 is my least favourite Tomb Raider game and, honestly, to me it does not even feel like Tomb Raider. The thrill and the adventure was really taken away from me in the reboot.
As for the films, I absolutely loved the 2 films! I could not say a bad thing about them.
If you could change one thing about the Tomb Raider franchise, what would you change?
If I could change one thing, I would make them work on a remake of The Angel of Darkness because I truly feel that the game should be finished properly and it had one of my favourite storylines in Tomb Raider history. Also, I would undo the reboot and have keep the same backstory of Lara, i.e. just starting a new storyline but keeping the same Lara from the Legend and Underworld era.
Which places would you like to see Lara explore in future games?
I’m not sure. I would really like to see her visit Egypt again and go to new places there as the Egypt levels in The Last Revelation were designed beautifully! It would also be fun to see her going to new countries where she has never been before.
Finally, if you could join Lara on one of her adventures, where would you go?
Just one? I would go on all her adventures with her! As long as she killed the scary enemies like the insects and mutants! But if I had to pick one, I would go probably to the South Pacific islands. When we were done raiding, we could both have a nice relaxing time on the beach!
A huge thanks to Mark for taking part in this interview and sharing his thoughts on the Tomb Raider series. You can find him on Twitter under the username @GamerManMark and check out his Youtube channel for plenty of Let’s Play Tomb Raider and other fun videos.
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