Today’s interviewee runs and moderates Brazil’s largest Tomb Raider Facebook community and translates blog posts for the Portuguese-language version of the popular fansite Perusing Pixels. Say “hello” to Lodair Junior!
My name is Lodair Junior, I’m 26 years old, and I live in Brazil. I work as an administrative assistant and do translations from English to Portuguese, mainly as a hobby. The reason for that being that I really like the English language and find translating a really good way to improve my vocabulary, get to know new expressions, idioms, etc. I like reading, listening to music and, of course, playing video games, especially Tomb Raider, which is my favourite game series ever.
When and how did you learn about the Tomb Raider series?
This may seem a little odd but my first contact with the Tomb Raider series was watching the second live-action film, Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, in 2003. Up to that point in my life, for some indiscernible reason, I’d never heard of the video game series or Lara Croft. However, after I watched the film, I was so thrilled about it that the first thing I did come morning was buy a Tomb Raider game, namely The Last Revelation, following a recommendation from a guy I studied with (who was also a fan). From the moment I turned my console on, it was love at first sight (or rather, at first play-through). All those scenarios, the extremely well-recreated real-life monuments, the story, and mostly, the way Lara interacted with all of those things, simply blew me away. I’d never been so attracted by a game before and since then, I caught up with the entire series and became pretty much a die-hard fan.
Do you run a Tomb Raider fansite or blog? If so, what would you say was your biggest achievement to date?
I currently own and moderate a Brazilian Tomb Raider Group on Facebook called “Tomb Raider Brasil”. I founded it along with some other guys as a Facebook equivalent of another group with the same name that we have in a social network called Orkut (which was really popular in Brazil until 2009/2010). It’s a closed group but welcomes anyone who might be interested in joining it and speaks Portuguese. Also, as I mentioned earlier, I like to work with translation as a hobby and that has always involved Tomb Raider to some degree. I normally translate articles and news and share them on Brazilian fansites.
In addition to all of that, I’m also responsible for the Portuguese version of the English-language blog Perusing Pixels, originally written by blogger and Tomb Raider fan Twin Pistols, which I have been translating into Portuguese since the beginning of 2012. It’s called Examinando Pixels, in case anyone might be interested in reading it.
As for my biggest achievement to date, I’m not sure if that counts, but I guess it was having the opportunity to visit Square Enix Europe studios in London. Being where the Tomb Raider games and other titles I love were produced was sure mind-blowing! And I was presented with a lot of really cool official material from those games!
How has Tomb Raider changed your life?
Since the first time I played Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation, Lara has become a sort of role model to me. Her bad-ass attitude, the fact she doesn’t need anyone but herself, is successful in her “profession”, and travels around the world, visiting really cool places always served as sort of “guidelines” I’ve since then adopted and tried to live up to.
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 had always been interested in archaeology, even before knowing the Tomb Raider series, mostly due to the fact I’ve read Uncle Scrooge comic books since I was a kid (having practically learned how to read from these comic books), and in many stories Scrooge and his nephews seek long-lost treasures around the globe, visiting exotic locations and having to deal with traps and pitfalls, especially in those stories penned by Uncle Scrooge creator, Carl Barks, and his successor, Keno Don Rosa. But there is no doubt that the Tomb Raider series had a great role in cementing this interest in me, in particular because the games have always recreated the scenarios that Lara visits in an extremely realistic way, giving us players the sensation of really being there, of being the explorer.
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?
Although I believe it would be naive to deny that Lara’s image was created to appeal to a heterosexual male audience judging by their decision to keep her breasts large (even though what lead them to be so large was an “accident”), her sultry look and poses, etc, I’ve never believed that had a bad effect because Lara was never shown, not even once, to rely on her looks to get what she wanted. She always kicked ass and was super athletic, cool and intelligent, regardless of her appearance. And if their purpose in making Lara sexy was appealing to a heterosexual male audience, I’ve gotta say they’ve kind of failed, because a large part of the Tomb Raider fandom is comprised of heterosexual females and gay males, who like Lara because of what she represents, not because she has big bouncing boobs.
What’s your favourite Tomb Raider game?
Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation, without a doubt. This is partly because it was the first Tomb Raider game I ever played and partly because I consider it to be the best entry of the series so far, having the most intricate and varied levels, top-notch puzzles, a really good story and an excellent musical score.
And your least favourite game?
Tomb Raider: Legend. I’ll give kudos to Crystal Dynamics for having saved the series from the abyss it had been thrown in (by Eidos and its hurry, not Core Design, I must add) and I’ll also say I did enjoy Legend’s controls and graphics. Its Lara remains one of the most beautiful Laras in the entire series. However, I really didn’t enjoy the game being so short, so linear, its total lack of challenges, and Crystal’s alteration of Lara’s original biography. This last bit is the factor that makes me dislike the Legend-Anniversary-Underworld trilogy. In my humble opinion, Lara going on adventures just to find her mother was waaaaaaaay too soppy and quite disrespectful to her original reason to become an adventurer (“I just play for sport”).
Classic, Legend-Anniversary-Underworld or Reboot Lara?
Classic Lara all the way for all the reasons mentioned above. She was bad-ass, she was intelligent, ironic and clever, she went adventuring because she wanted to have fun (not to find some goddamn missing parents and/or friends), and her background was much more original, and way less cliché.
Do you have any favourite Tomb Raider moments or quotes?
I could write a gazillion of moments and quotes I love, all of them taken from the Core Design’s Tomb Raiders, but for the sake of brevity, I’ll limit myself to one quote per game: “I’m sorry. I only play for sport.” (Tomb Raider I), “Pardon me, if that was just your way of trying the doors for me.” (Tomb Raider II), “Your perception of good timing is… bad!” (Tomb Raider III), “Over my dead body.” (Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation), “Don’t let me hold you up.” (Tomb Raider: Chronicles), and “If I had a coconut for every time some lunatic said something like that.” (Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness).
What about least favourite moments? Is there anything you dislike about the games/films/comics?
The Crystal Dynamics’ Tomb Raiders have somehow managed to come up with an infinitude of awkward/cliché moments so far but the ending of Tomb Raider: Underworld sure takes the biscuit. We literally waited three freaking games to discover what’s happened to Lara’s mother, only to being told she turned into a troll?! I don’t know about you, but to me whoever wrote this ending thought “Oh bugger, we’ve put Lara’s mother into this mess and now we gotta find a way to get rid of her, otherwise Lara will quit tomb raiding, because if her mother is alive, she’d rather stay home and enjoy Amelia’s company than go raid some dirty tomb. Oh, I know, let’s have Lara find out her mother became a troll, and being forced to ‘kill’ her! Brilliant!” Seriously, I dislike Tomb Raider: Legend much more than I dislike Underworld, but at least Legend’s ending was climactic. It did have a big and unexpected revelation (“AVALON! It’s not a myth!”), and was very well-written, dialogue-wise. So yeah, Underworld’s ending.
Oh, and Lara punching a bloody shark in the second Tomb Raider film. Seriously, what the hell was that?!
If you could change one thing about the Tomb Raider franchise, what would you change?
I would surely have given more time for Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness to be finished so that maybe we could still be enjoying Core Design’s ingenious Tomb Raider games nowadays.
Which places would you like to see Lara explore in future games?
I would really love if Lara visited Brazil! I mean, we do have the largest rainforest in the world (or at least a big portion of it), and a lot of other beautiful and stunning places where she sure would be able to find a good ol’ mystery!
Finally, if you could join Lara on one of her adventures, where would you go?
Egypt! I’m really fascinated by the history of Ancient Egypt and being there with her would be all sorts of awesome. Actually, being practically *anywhere* with Lara would be extremely awesome!
A huge thanks to Lodair Junior for taking part in our series of interviews. If you’re a Portuguese speaker, check out his Facebook group Tomb Raider Brasil and/or his blog Examinando Pixels. You can also find him on Twitter under the name @LodairJunior.
You can find an archive of all our fan interviews over here.