Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Tomb Raider anecdote, and attracting wider audiences

This is an anecdote, not data, so take it at that. Still, it's a story I like telling.

Years ago, while at Matrox, when the first edition of Tomb Raider came out on PS1 and PC. We and other graphics hardware vendors all helped Core Design do custom builds of the game ported to our proprietary 3D APIs (these were the days before DirectX, or at least before DX was deemed viable). A couple of the engineers on my team there did the port, and I even got in and helped a bit (it remains the only commercial game for which I actually worked on the source code).

Anyhow, the end version, running on the Matrox Mystique, was something I was quite happy with and showed my wife (then girlfriend) at home, despite the fact that she doesn't play games - certainly 3D action adventure ones.

She was smitten with it! A female lead character, exotic environments, exploring. Wow! She asked to play.

I sat her down and helped her through the tutorial. This is how you turn... look... jump... climb... swim. She wouldn't get out of the damn pool on the tutorial. "Ok, you can get out now". "but it's so pretty! This is so cool!"

She finished the tutorial and started the first level. A pack of wolves is the first threat you encounter. I tell her what to press to draw pistols and fire. A loud yelp as the attacking wolf falls to the snow-covered ground.

"You have to SHOOT A DOG?! I don't want to play this anymore"

Needless to say, she has not purchased Tomb Raider's 2-through-N.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hilariously, I had just finished reading this quote from the Tomb Raider Legend postmortem (via Lead Artist):

Piggyback: What was the first Tomb Raider game you played? Were you a fan?

Drew Medina: I've only played the first two and I love the first one - my favorite moment was fighting the dogs. I don't know why, just shooting the dogs was pretty fun for me. The thing that stuck out about the game was the traversal. I loved jumping from ledge to ledge and climbing. There weren't too many games that were purely adventure at that time - just exploring adventure, like Myst, pre-rendered images that looked great but it didn't feel immersive to me.