I've never been a big Tomb Raider fan. In fact, I don't think that I've played Tomb Raider since the PS1 games, and, even then, it was never for more than a few minutes. So it should come as no surprise that I haven't really been keeping up with all of the latest news about the upcoming Tomb Raider game. I watched the original trailer that was released for it, and thought that it was interesting that they seemed to be taking the series in a new direction, but I haven't been keeping up with it much since.
That is, of course, until this year's big E3 reveal, where they announced that the game was going to be sexist. Not being a fan of the game, I didn't actually realize that that's what they were announcing. All I saw was a new trailer for the game. It wasn't until several days later that a bunch of angry people on the Internet explained to me that the trailer was about how the game was sexist now, and they were even nice enough to explain it to me without my asking or wanting them to do.
This actually sparked my interest in the game. Could the game that so many people grew up masturbating to really be sexist now? And, if so, how? Is Lara now only getting paid a fraction of what Nathan Drake makes for starring in a similar game? Is there a controversial scene in the game where Lara gets a stupid Barbie toy with her McDonald's Happy Meal, while her brother gets a much cooler Hot Wheels toy? Is no one forced to pay for Lara's birth control?
It turns out that it's something much worse than all of those. They've made Lara Croft weak. The once strong, positive female role model who millions of girls weren't allowed to leave the house looking like has now been reduced to some dainty damsel in distress who can't even properly aim a bow and arrow without apologizing to the innocent creature she's about to brutally murder with it. At one point, Lara even declares how she hates tombs, presumably because tombs have no mirrors for her to powder her nose in.
Of course, not everyone is offended by this new, blatantly sexist take on Lara Croft, and that's okay. Everybody is right and wrong in this situation. It's all a matter of perspective. The people who aren't offended are simply looking at it from the perspective of people who hate women. And that's fine. Like I said, no one is right or wrong here. Or did I say that everyone is right and wrong? I don't remember. All I know is that either everyone or no one is right and wrong.
Still, it's not unreasonable to ask that those who don't think that women should be treated as equals understand where the other side is coming from. Try putting yourself in their shoes. The ones that you won't allow them to wear because you think that all women should be barefoot and pregnant while standing in the kitchen. It won't kill you to look at somebody else's point of view. It doesn't mean that you have to agree with them, or that you have to renounce your belief that Rihanna was asking for it.
If you'll take the time to examine the game from the perspective of those who are offended by it, I think that you'll find that their point of view, while seemingly retarded at first, second, and ninety-fifth glance, actually makes a lot of sense.
All of this Tomb Raider controversy starts making perfect sense once you realize that the people who are offended are total bad asses. Only then can you begin to process statements like, "I like to project myself onto the character, and you made her weak." Yes, because the average gamer is so much tougher than Lara Croft is portrayed as being in this game. That's why they aren't impressed by seeing a woman heroically fend off an attacker before wrestling his gun away from him and shooting him in the head. They do that all the time. Hell, they did it this morning, but you don't see them starring in a video game about it like some kind of drama queen.
They need a protagonist who they can relate to. Someone like Batman in Arkham City. Most gamers play Arkham City and think, "I can really relate to this game. This is exactly the way that I usually single handedly take down gangs of murderous thugs in real life." That is, of course, when they aren't too busy ripping an elephant man's brain out with their bear hands. And, yes, I did mean to say bear hands. That's because these gamers are so tough that their hands are actually much more bear-like than they are human. They're the demographic that Kinect appeals to, because their bear hands are too misshapen to hold a controller. So it's understandable why they'd be offended by a weak protagonist like Lara Croft, who has a difficult time even handling a simple task like overcoming overwhelming odds stacked against her. That's why it's not unreasonable for them to be mad over basically nothing, and to dismiss this game before even having given it a chance.