In the Spotlight: Emerson S

This week’s fan interview turns the spotlight on Emerson S, a student and avid gamer from Ohio, USA.

Emerson SSo, tell us a little about yourself.

I am a 20-year old student of applied science in automotive technology from Cleveland, Ohio. When I’m not at school or working part time as an overnight stocker at Petsmart, I am an avid gamer and movie buff.

And I play a lot of Tomb Raider. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be doing this interview!

When and how did you learn about the Tomb Raider series?

My first contact with Tomb Raider was in 2011 when I picked up a copy of Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light after receiving an e-mail from Microsoft saying that it was on sale. I was 17 at the time. I purchased Tomb Raider: Anniversary in 2012 and I got the Tomb Raider collection on Steam later that year. From then on, I was hooked.

Do you run a Tomb Raider fansite or blog? If so, what would you say was your biggest achievement to date?

I do not run a blog or fansite, but I am very active on Tomb Raider Forums and Survivor Reborn.

How has Tomb Raider changed your life?

I can’t say for sure but I think it’s safe to say that Lara has been a role model of sorts for me. It does amaze me how the first game in 1996 was able to revolutionize the 3rd person action/adventure genre. I cannot begin to describe how I felt when I fired up Tomb Raider (1996) and heard the main theme for the first time. I got chills down my spine.

In 2013, I purchased the Tomb Raider limited edition strategy guide along with the game. Included with the guide was a replica of Lara’s necklace. I enjoyed the game so much that I decided to start wearing the necklace as a sign of respect. I have been wearing it ever since.

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 have been a history buff for as long as I can remember. I loved watching the Indiana Jones movies when I was a kid, which probably helped. I was in AP or honour history classes all the way through high school. While my schooling has usually covered more modern eras of history, I do think that ancient history can be pretty interesting. The games’ exploration of the King Arthur legends and Norse mythology intrigued me, which eventually lead me to your website.

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 believe that Lara can be seen as a positive role model. While some people might think Lara is nothing more than “big boobs and short shorts”, a true gamer will know that she has always been a very interesting character, ranging from inquisitive explorer to awesome bad-ass. Sometimes being both at the exact same time! Because she is so well educated, classy, and independent, she completely went against the busty bimbo stereotype. This is a good thing, as it shows we are taking a step in the right direction, and Lara is the star of the show!

With that said, I can understand how they might have used her looks to attract young men such as myself. It does not surprise me if people start to question her representation, or misuse of it, in games and other forms of media. I must admit, they did push the boundaries on some occasions (e.g. Lara’s black dress in the Japan levels in Legend, TR2 promotional artwork). But more often than not, I feel Lara manages to remain tasteful and classy, so it’s not a bad thing that she is good looking as well. At the end of the day, she is very smart, adventurous, and a good role model that I think we can all learn a thing or two from. :3

What’s your favourite Tomb Raider game?

Tough question. I think it’s between TR2, TR: Anniversary, and TR 2013. The first one is the most enjoyable of all the classic games I’ve played and I love the music in it too. The second was a wonderful mix of old and new that I had a lot of fun playing. And the third is a wonderful refresh of the character. I was able to sympathise with Lara better in TR 2013 for some reason.

And your least favourite game?

Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness. Too many things went wrong at once. I am aware that fans have since fixed the controls and added cut content, but in its original release format, I didn’t have fun playing it.

Classic, Legend-Anniversary-Underworld or Reboot Lara?

I like Legend-Anniversary-Underworld Lara the best. Mostly because it was the LAU trilogy that introduced me to the franchise, so I have a bit of a soft spot for her in those games.

I really like Classic Lara, but I was too young to have played them when they were new, so I don’t share as much nostalgia towards her as other fans might.

I also loved Reboot Lara. I found her easier to sympathise with.

Do you have any favourite Tomb Raider moments or quotes?

Several, actually. Ascending the radio tower in TR 2013, swan diving off coastal Thailand in TR: Underworld, exploring the Maria Doria in TR2, the first time I fought the T-Rex in Tomb Raider. I have too many to list…

As for quotes, my favourite is in TR: Legend: “Death by irony is always painful. Amateurs…”

A close second is in TR2. “Don’t you think you’ve seen enough?” I just love how she completely breaks the 4th wall before shooting the camera.

What about least favourite moments? Is there anything you dislike about the games/films/comics?

My least favourite has to be in TR: Underworld, when Lara finds her mother. She spends three games searching for her mother and then she shoots her in the face. I felt so disappointed. I haven’t seen the Tomb raider films, but I plan to watch them eventually. As for the comics, I actually liked them a lot more than I thought I would. I thought Lara was a bit too cold at times, but overall, I think it was a fun, interesting twist on the character.

If you could change one thing about the Tomb Raider franchise, what would you change?

I would have made how Lara kills Larson in Anniversary less cruel. It was very difficult to complete that part. I feel it turned Lara into a cold blooded killer. I would have made Lara shoot him in self-defence instead of cold blood.

Which places would you like to see Lara explore in future games?

Being half Greek, Greece has always been a favourite of mine. Perhaps they might be able to explore more of the ancient Greek mythology in future games?

I think it would be pretty cool to have her go to Roanoke Island and solve the mystery of The Lost Colony

Finally, if you could join Lara on one of her adventures, where would you go?

If Lara were ever to revisit Greece or Egypt, I’d be more than happy to accompany her. :3

A huge thanks to Emerson S for taking part in our series of fan interviews. He doesn’t use Twitter or run his own fansite but he can be found on Facebook or over at Survivor Reborn’s forum.

You can find an archive of all our fan interviews over here.

About Kelly M

Kelly McGuire is a translator, editor, writer, and gamer with a passion for archaeology, foreign languages, cultural heritage, and wildlife conservation. She tweets under the username @TRHorizons and is the admin and chief content creator for Tomb Raider Horizons.

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