Lara Croft and her blockbuster franchise paved the way for female game characters. She was considered the first video game sex symbol and she regularly tops and appears on various lists of -- sigh -- video game hotties.
And before we come down on them too hard for what is clearly some of the most blatant sexism and objectification in entertainment history, you have to remember that it was still a step up -- before Lara, female characters were either hostages or not featured at all.
She's the one on top, getting her ass sniffed by the Kong.
Sure, Samus Aran of the Metroid series came first, but her gender was kept a secret from anyone who didn't beat the game -- the iconic image of the character was somebody hiding behind a bulky metal suit.
Lara is strong, independently wealthy, beautiful, smart and great at what she does. If it took a 150 percent inflated chest to blaze that trai, well, maybe that's just the way it is. Meanwhile, Lara led the way for 3D gaming (along with Mario 64). The first Tomb Raider sold millions of copies, reinvigorating a platforming genre that had been written off as Mario-style kids games for years. All thanks to the slip of a mouse.
Via Wikimedia Commons
"You're welcome, polygon booby lovers!"