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CHANGING FACE OF LARA CROFT
Copyright 2001 www.tombraiderchronicles.com

[ February 12th 2001 ]

With the advent of Sony's multi-million selling Playstation enticing a larger mainstream audience encapsulating both sexes, an increasing number of female game designers are applying more thought to their characters, a report in The Guardian announces today.

"Lara Croft may be the best-known woman in games, but if she were real it is likely her oversized chest would see her toppling over rather than raiding tombs. Could it be because she was designed by a man? Historically, few women have been involved in game development. Games were generally viewed as being made for men by men, with the representation of female characters - there to be rescued or ogled at - hardly enticing women to play."

This trend now appears to be changing, according to British Graphic artist Caroline Green, who says the number of women entering the gaming industry has increased significantly with the processing power of today's platforms significantly increasing the graphical sophistication leading to more realistic titles and ultimately moving away from the traditional over-emphasised cartoon-character style genre. The target of The Guardian's report is the impending release of Shadows of Memories, a new adventure game from Konami aimed for the Playstation, in which the female influence on production has rendered the title "more normal," veering away from the typical "mini-skirted stereotypes usually associated with games."

Game company Supedo's Catherine Skinner says: "The PC/console games industry is beginning to converge with many other industries - web, interactive TV and telecoms. Industries like TV and the web have high proportions of female production staff, and as these different production skill sets become integrated into the games industry, so will the men and women who work in them." The article graciously concludes with the suggestion that the traditional "Boy's making toys for other boys" era is coming to an end, and that the future of Lara Croft may gradually appear more proportionate.

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