For game enthusiasts everywhere, the ultimate fantasy, Tomb Raider's Lara Croft (1967-) totally transformed one million realities. A British heiress, the fantasy maiden was a cross between James Bond and Indiana Jones.
At the age of 21, returning from a skiing trip, her plane crashed in the Himalayas. She learned wilderness survival and craved more adventure. A writer who turned to world exploration, Croft had the Ark of the Covenant in her living room and visited exotic locations for more treasures... provided the person pushing the game buttons was good enough.
A femme fatale, with ample breasts, tiny waist, and short shorts, Croft was created by Toby Gard, a 21-year-old graphic artist. "The perfect girl" debuted in 1996. Stunning, she performed her trademark sideways back flip, climbed mountains, and killed killers. A better Barbie doll for the 21st century.
As artist Andy Warhol once observed, "Fantasy love is much better than reality love."
Eidos Interactive executive Gary Keith explained that both men and women liked Croft. "The core audience, males in the 13-35 age bracket, love to see this beautiful, buxom woman running around." He added that women, too, enjoyed Croft "because they perceived her as a role model: she was not only adventurous but very well-educated."
In 1997, the Uzi-packing digital version of Croft gracefully leaped off the video screen and appeared on the PopMart tour with rockers U2, interacting with lead singer Bono. "The fact that Lara is synthetic does not lessen her appeal. Indeed, her fans would have it no other way," explained a 2000 Economist article.
Lara Croft, Angelina Jolie on the big screen, was a digital dream, a cartoon, and a solitary fantasy, if one was lucky.
A solitary fantasy can transform 1 million realities.