It’s February 14th, Raider fans, so you know what that means! And to celebrate our lovely Lara’s birthday, here’s an interview with the woman behind one of the longest-running Tomb Raider fan sites on the internet.
Meet Katie Fleming!
I’m a triple graduate (Interactive Multimedia Development, Advertising, and Social Media) and have been looking for Community Management/Junior Brand Management work. I’ve been managing a community for nearly 14 years and have a love for brand management and fan engagement.
I’ve been a gamer for as long as I can remember, and started playing on a Commodore 64. My favourite games right now are Hitman, Silent Hill, Left 4 Dead, Dead Island, and, of course, Tomb Raider.
When and how did you learn about the Tomb Raider series?
I first found out about Tomb Raider about 15 years ago when browsing through a bunch of games at the store. I found a demo of Tomb Raider 1, thought it looked fun, and was hooked instantly.
Do you run a Tomb Raider fansite or blog? If so, what would you say was your biggest achievement to date?
I’ve been running Katie’s Tomb Raider Site for 14 years this coming April. My biggest achievement was winning a writing contest from Core Design for my story, Sweat, Strength, and Determination. I won a beautiful montage (only one in the world!) signed by the team and it’s my most prized possession.
Another big achievement was being asked by Eidos to be part of the Tomb Raider documentary released with Tomb Raider Anniversary.
How has Tomb Raider changed your life?
When I look back at the (nearly) 14 years I’ve been running my site, it’s hard to believe everything that has happened. I’ve been connected with other fans from all over the world, many whom I’ve been friends with since the beginning. Tomb Raider has inspired me creatively since day one: starting a website, writing, and working on many related projects.
Were you interested in archaeology before discovering Tomb Raider? Have the Tomb Raider games and films inspired you to learn more about ancient history?
I was interested in Egypt long before I discovered Tomb Raider, and loved how each of the games showcased different parts of the world. It inspired me to start my own research which lead to writing stories. Specifically I was most inspired by Tomb Raider 3 and Tomb Raider 4’s locations.
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?
I think all fans see Lara as a powerful, witty, determined, and successful character. She’s always been a role model for myself and I’ve always loved how she’s very independent, smart, and can tackle anything. I can see why people think she’s just a sex object if they haven’t played the games because of her unrealistic measurements, but it’s when you play the game you’ll quickly realise there’s so much more to her.
What’s your favourite Tomb Raider game?
I absolutely love Tomb Raider 3 – it’s by far my favourite. It has some of the best level design that still beats out games today, huge variety of locations, vehicles in each section of the game, an incredible score, and overall is a fantastic game.
And your least favourite game?
My least favourite is Legend. It was linear, too easy, and it was disappointing to see Lara’s history and her personality getting mixed up. Another huge thing was the changing of her mansion to match the one from the movies.
Classic, Legend-Anniversary-Underworld or Reboot Lara?
Classic Lara forever! Nothing will ever beat the classic games. I fell in love with Tomb Raider from the start and I will always have such great memories from those games. I miss the witty, sarcastic, no-nonsense, globe-trotting daredevil and hope we’ll see that Lara again.
Do you have any favourite Tomb Raider moments or quotes?
“I make my own luck” – Lara, Tomb Raider 4
When I think back about some of the best moments in the games, they’re always when I was stuck on a puzzle for awhile, or finally figured out where to go. It was such a great feeling. You really felt like you had accomplished something.
What about least favourite moments? Is there anything you dislike about the games/films/comics?
The thing that bothered me the most was Lara’s house being changed in Legend to match the one from the movies (not to mention the movie getting it wrong to begin with!). It never felt like hers, even in Underworld, and I was thrilled when it burned down 🙂
If you could change one thing about the Tomb Raider franchise, what would you change?
Core Design being let go so early. I desperately wanted to play the next instalment after The Angel of Darkness, and that final moment when she’s walking away marked the end of a fantastic direction for the series.
Which places would you like to see Lara explore in future games?
I’d love to see her explore Mayan temples, or lost civilisations under the ocean.
Finally, if you could join Lara on one of her adventures, where would you go?
Hard choice! I think I’d pick Egypt. I’ve wanted to go there and think it would be an incredible experience – gigantic scorpions, fire elements, deadly traps, and all!
A huge thanks to Katie for taking part in our series of fan interviews. You can follow Katie on Twitter (@Katie_Fleming) or visit her site, Katie’s Tomb Raider Site. And don’t forget to subscribe to her Youtube channel for video reviews and debates.
An archive of our fan interviews can be found here.