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Lara Croft 'rape' wouldn't have caused controversy in a film

20th June 2012

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The media has refuelled its crusade against video games after the new revamp of the Tomb Raider franchise revealed what seemed to resemble a rape scene.

The showing of the game’s trailer at gaming convention E3 unveiled a younger Lara Croft in captivity, being beaten and sexually threatened by one of her captors whilst trying to escape. Since a misquoted interview was given by the game’s executive producer Ron Rosenberg, newspapers, twitter and mainstream sites have once again laid into game developers for crossing the line.

Crystal Dynamics have since reassured the media that the game does not contain any sexual violence in its move to make Lara Croft’s new adventure a little grittier than her average outing.

 It is evident when watching the trailer however, that the insinuations are there. Lara is indeed groped to some extent by one of the mercenaries less able to control himself, before she shoots him and escapes with blood splattered on her face.

Mario this certainly ain’t, but is the commotion over this small scene really justified? The media continue to insist that games must remain child-friendly and mindless, with no cultural merit and adult themes of their own.

Cue a GTA here and a Call of Duty there and suddenly people who have no personal experience with videogames insist that they are the main cause of violence and desensitisation. What these people never seem to notice is the BBFC certificate slapped on the front covers of these games before they buy them for their children.

Technology has allowed the games industry provide its fans with an experience more varied than it once was, and this variation has allowed it’s age group to widen considerably. Games are now more capable of cinematic experiences and situations that films also provide, which often aren’t suitable for everyone. Often this means more than plumbers eating mushrooms (which in all fairness was a game concept that probably should have been questioned more than it was).

The sad fact is that people in general provide games with much less tolerance and leniency than they do with other forms of storytelling. If this was a film trailer rather than one for a game no problem would there have been.

And while people are shunning the game even before its release (and with embellished truths), we similarly celebrate other portrayals of female empowerment gained from male cruelty.

One need look no further than the recently  revived The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, one of the most popular novels of the last decade and one in which the central character, Lisbeth Salander, is subjected to more than one moment of particularly gruesome male cruelty.

Tolerance for one form of entertainment, contempt for the other. Unfair much?

Do you agree? Read the other side of the argument here

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