We’re ending this year’s batch of fan interviews by turning the spotlight on Steve, known to many within the community by his online alias, Rident. Here’s what he has to say about Tomb Raider, the fan community, and his SpecialEffect fundraising efforts.
Hi, my name is Steve, known in the gaming community as Rident (which was a random name generated for an MMO I was playing). I’m 30 years young and live in sunny (or not so) England, the home of a certain Miss Croft. I’m generally pretty active on social media, such as Twitter, and talk about pretty much all things gaming related.
When and how did you learn about the Tomb Raider series?
I learned about the Tomb Raider series right from the beginning really. I was a bit of a Sega fanboy back in the day and used to read all kinds of games magazines. I remember the first news and images of Tomb Raider, which was coming to Sega Saturn as well as the new Sony console, and it immediately had my attention.
As a bit of an Indiana Jones fan, the thought of playing through a 3D adventure armed with an arsenal of weaponry, encountering dangerous animals, tombs, artefacts, traps, all of it just seemed my kind of game and was exactly what I wanted to be playing to break up all the side scrolling, first-person and point-and-click adventure titles I was addicted to. I could identify some similarities with Indiana Jones and the kind of globetrotting adventure in search of mysterious and powerful relics. Was also nice and fresh to see a female in the front line too, though also a little strange (not in a bad way) being outside of the norm.
Do you run a Tomb Raider fansite or blog? If so, what would you say was your biggest achievement to date?
While I have been a fan since the beginning, I have never run any Tomb Raider specific fan-sites or blogs. I do have so much passion for the series and characters, but my game love extends pretty wide to focus on one franchise. Forums have never really been my thing. I always found them quite intimidating, so I never joined sites such as Tomb Raider Forums before. In general, though, I prefer to stick to social media and collect all my various information from just a few places
I have, however, joined and contributed to one of the newer forums, Survivor Reborn, which launched in the build-up to the more recent Tomb Raider title and I must say I have had fun there interacting with fellow fans and sharing some of my own experiences with the series. I have done a few “Let’s Plays” and live-streaming of Tomb Raider games on Twitch. One of my favourite and maybe biggest achievements with this has to be the 24-hour charity stream I did back in February 2014, where I played through the entire Crystal Dynamics trilogy back-to-back, plus I got to throw in a little Guardian of Light at the end. That was great fun interacting with the community and made a great impact on helping to raise funds in support of the SpecialEffect charity.
How has Tomb Raider changed your life?
Difficult to say really. I would maybe say it has enhanced my personal sense of adventure and given me itchy feet to explore some of the fascinating countries and locations Lara has encountered during her global escapades. Getting to know the community in recent times has also granted me many new friends on social media to chat to about all things Croft as well as other gaming and general banter.
Were you interested in archaeology before discovering Tomb Raider? Have the Tomb Raider games and films inspired you to learn more about ancient history?
A little bit, yes. History, especially ancient history, fascinated me as a child. There was always a lot of interesting mythology and tales in ancient history. When growing up, I was mostly in love with Egyptian and South American tribal history. I remember trying to replicate relics and pictures through play craft, such as salt dough and paper modelling.
The later school years based all history lessons on more modern war history, so the Tomb Raider games were a nice way to reignite that love. There were also other movies and books that inspired me to want to learn more, but I’ve never really stuck at it due to other studies and distractions.
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?
A mix of both, to be honest. When she was introduced to the gaming world, I was about 12 or 13, so a young lad. I never really saw that side of her during the first game launch. However, the marketing for the second to fourth titles depicted her in a more sexual nature which, as a young teen, was quite a cool thing. It wasn’t what sold me to the games, but it did make me want to have the merchandise and posters at the time. Looking back at it n,ow however, I feel it was probably a little in bad taste, which is a real shame as I did always feel her character in the games was strong, stubborn and intelligent and quite fitting as a role model. She had goals and would do all she could to achieve them.
What’s your favourite Tomb Raider game?
This is a tough one. For many years I have rated Tomb Raider II as my favourite in the series. However, after a few nostalgic re-plays of the Tomb Raider series, I’d probably now say Tomb Raider III would be my favourite and that is spurred by just a few sections of the game: India, South Pacific, and Nevada. Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation would be a very close second and is a game I feel really captures the essence of Tomb Raider through its locations, story, intelligent puzzles, and traps.
And your least favourite game?
Again, a tough one as I love each for different reasons. But if I was to draw out a least favourite game of the series then it would likely be Angel of Darkness. While it is not really a bad game when you get to the core of it, there were just too many issues I had with it, mostly being the controls and camera angles. The Kurtis Trent sections weren’t all too great either.
Classic, Legend-Anniversary-Underworld or Reboot Lara?
For model and control, I’d likely go for the Crystal-era Lara, though for attitude it’s all about going classic. Reboot was okay, but was just not the Lara I have grown to love, with too much reliance on others.
Do you have any favourite Tomb Raider moments or quotes?
Another tough one as there have been many great moments in the Tomb Raider series, though two particular moments come to mind when I think of Tomb Raider. The first is when Lara gets to the front of the underground Sphinx in the Sanctuary of the Scion level. That had me in awe the first time I got there. The other moment for me is much more recent, in the Coastal Thailand section of Tomb Raider Underworld. It’s that point when you get the most beautiful view of the area as you get to the ruins. I find myself just standing at the edge admiring the surroundings every time.
What about least favourite moments? Is there anything you dislike about the games/films/comics?
Through most of her adventures we’ve seen Lara as a strong, intelligent and independent woman facing all kinds of challenges. Some of that was stripped away in the Crystal Dynamics era when the likes of Zip and Alister were introduced and she relied on their knowledge to solve puzzles and interpret writings and myth. Other than that issue, I did quite enjoy those games and the places they took her. I’m also not so keen on what may be a new trend in Reboot and the comic series, where her goal is constantly saving friends as opposed to discovering ancient secrets.
If you could change one thing about the Tomb Raider franchise, what would you change?
With the direction Reboot went, I would love to see more of a return to form in future instalments. I’d love to see more globetrotting, trickier puzzles and more ancient tombs, temples and ruins. I’d welcome back the booby traps, spike pits etc, as well as swimming and underwater sections. There was a concept video with Lara on a horse. I’d love for this to be a feature even if just for a short section of the game.
Which places would you like to see Lara explore in future games?
There are not many regions Lara hasn’t covered, though I’d quite like her to go through a story involving China and the Han Dynasty era. There is a lot of myth mixed with fact within the tales of the Three Kingdoms. I would also love to see her return to Egypt or even the Middle East as there is plenty of ancient history still to be explored. Another suggestion would be ancient Japan, but I feel the tales of Yamatai are still a bit too fresh.
Finally, if you could join Lara on one of her adventures, where would you go?
That’s easy! It would have to be Peru.
A huge thanks to Steve for taking part in our series of fan interviews! Feel free to check out his Youtube channel, follow him on Twitter (@RidentFFXI), visit his Tumblr blog, subscribe to his Twitch channel, or watch his livestreams on Hitbox.