Monday, 24 October 2016

Happy Twentieth Birthday, Lara Croft

This weekend Derby Quad held a very special birthday party (of sorts) for local girl Lara Croft, brought to life twenty years ago by Core Design and Eidos Interactive. Since then she's swung, and climbed, and shot her way through numerous adventures, climbed icy mountains, hacked through jungles, fought off dinosaurs and mythical monsters, jumped from waterfalls and swum in underground lakes, and generally proved that, if a man can do it, a woman can, too!

I've never been particularly a 'gamer' but through playing on my daughter's Playstation2 I discovered Lego StarWars and then Lara Croft, and became addicted to them both! I've tried other games but have never found that mix of adventure and puzzle-solving that the Lara Croft games have (I'm sure somebody will know of something and if so please tell me!) So when I heard about the exhibition I had to go investigate ...

To be honest, at first sight it didn't look very interesting - just a couple of rows of game consoles... but Lara only really comes to life on screen and that's where the fun was. 

There were a series of games loaded and ready to play from really early examples of games on Sega Mega Drive and Nintendo Game Cube, through PS2 and Wii, to the latest game on PS4 - and yes, I tried most of them!

The graphics on the early games probably seemed wonderful at the time, but now they look so chunky and clunky. When she moved, it was with a jerk and a hop, not the smooth-flowing life-like action expected today. At times I found it hard to make her move beyond a shuffle though that was probably my fault, not the game's!

This photo from the latest game hopefully shows how realistic things look now - this was taken on my phone and the actual screen image looks almost like a video. After a year or more of not playing games of any kind, controlling Lara up a cliff in a snow storm was tricky but with a little help from an expert I got her up to a safe spot - and re-discovered my love Lara Croft. I could have stayed there all day, just wanting to get to the next level... then the next ...
I don't have anything more modern than a Wii so buying new games isn't possible but, not having played them for a while, I'm hoping I've forgotten where the 'prizes' are hidden and the tricks to outwit fearsome beasts and armed mercenaries, and I can play my old games again as if 'new'.

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