Your humble author cosplaying as Lara, GenCon 2014
Kotaku recently put up a post about StudioFOW, the creators of long form pornographic movies featuring rape made out of digitally created models of famous female video game characters.
Of course, no one will be surprised to learn that Lara Croft was the star of their first feature: Lara in Trouble (not linking because: gross).
The post has plenty of horrors to contemplate but this quote really got to me:
For Lara in Trouble, StudioFOW actually ended up using Lara’s in-game combat audio—and given the violent nature of the rape scenes, the audio was eerily appropriate. Lara sounds distressed and like she’s in pain in the actual game, after all, and as many critics have asserted over the years, pained women in video games often sound inadvertently sexual. In an interview with Lewd Gamer, StudioFOW explains that they “had to make the movie a rape fantasy due to the audio limitations.” Now that StudioFOW have the resources to hire voice actors, they continue to make rape fantasies anyway.
My first thought upon reading this was: of course they are. Because it is not just the in-game audio resources that StudioFOW is drawing on. They are also pulling on the cultural resources that surround characters like Lara.
Ms. Croft has a long history of gamers seeking to put her into a compromised position: they searched high and low for nude codes that were rumored to be built into her software and, when it was discovered that no such code existed, many created their own hacks and mods to see what was under her signature tank top. It is no surprise that Lara “was one of the first nude models ported to the Source Engine” that StudioFOW uses to make their films.
But its not just her fans that are interested in exploiting Lara. Her creators are also not above putting her in sexual danger as evidenced by the controversial 2012 promo for the Tomb Raider reboot that featured Lara as the victim of an attempted rape. StudioFOW directly references this very scene in their pornographic film:
One of the things that struck me the most about Lara in Trouble is its ending. After Lara Croft is repeatedly raped by her captors, Deus Ex Machina occurs: a gun appears out of nowhere. Lara picks it up. She shoots every man in the room. The words “A Survivor is Born” appear on the screen—it’s the same text that appears in so much of Tomb Raider’s marketing.
In other words, StudioFOW simply produced one in a long line of both official and unofficial texts that sexually exploited this iconic female video game character.
Color me unsurprised.