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Windows 95 Tomb Raider

video game

Developed by Core Design in 1996, Tomb Raider represents both the blueprint for and the popularization of 3D action-adventure video gaming. With its revolutionary graphics, a break-out main character, and creative gameplay that combined some of the best genres of the time, the first Tomb Raider paved the way for an iconic franchise that is still going strong today. Tomb Raider was far from the first action-adventure video game, but its popularity can be traced to the game’s unique combination of elements that present players with an experience unlike anything that had come before. Inspired by earlier games such as Prince of Persia, as well as the interlocking structure of rooms found in Egyptian burial sites – particularly the tomb of Tutankhamun – developers created a cinematic, multi-leveled three-dimensional environment that allowed players to jump and climb their way across the game. Prior to Tomb Raider, this was only possible in 2D environments, while those in 3D were restricted to a single level. Unlike other action-adventure games of the era, Tomb Raider was reminiscent of earlier platforming games, with a high level of focus on puzzle solving and difficult jumping maneuvers. The new game engine created for Tomb Raider also allowed for a high degree of interactivity with the player’s surroundings, with the ability not only to run, walk, and jump, but also allowed side-to-side stepping, rolling, swimming, and hanging off ledges. While the game’s unique technical elements would have been enough to appeal to gamers, it was the main character, Lara Croft, who helped Tomb Raider appeal to gamers and non-gamers alike. Styled as a female Indiana Jones, Lara’s tough persona and no-nonsense attitude propelled a female main character to a popularity virtually unseen before in the gaming world. This beak from the typical male action hero allowed her to become a video gaming icon and a cultural phenomenon all on her own. She even appeared in several marketing campaigns for such companies as Timberland and Visa, and she graced the cover of Time and Newsweek, as well as the British style magazine The Face. The character is not without controversy, however. Along with being hailed as a strong female role-model, she has also come under fire for her icon as a sex symbol, which was played up in early game marketing. Her unrealistic proportions and often skimpy outfits lead some to claim she is simply another example of how women can only be popular in video games if they exude sex appeal. Despite this, Lara Croft is still seen as one of the most iconic female video game characters of all time. The character alone holds six Guinness World Records, including “most recognized female video game character.”

  • Material: printed paper | plastic
  • Origin: USA
  • Object ID: 116.2075
Creative Commons License