Dear Lara [Tomb Raider: Anniversary]
I still remember the first time we met, ten years ago. You were a hotshot explorer getting by on your beauty, and I was a punk high school kid with time on his hands. You wanted me to follow you to Peru, to Greece, to exotic places filled with the promise of mystery and adventure. You were smart, strong, and seductive, and I was up for a challenge. How could I say no?
Of course, we were both so young then. You sometimes moved awkwardly, unsure of each step, and you hadn't really rounded out yet. Your face often seemed painted on, a fixed expression of fake allure that didn't always work. And yet, even then there was something in the way you moved that beckoned me to follow. We spent so much time just exploring back in those days. We traveled together for a while and had our fun. It wasn't love, really, but it was something.
After a while, though, we seemed to want different things. You kept traveling, exploring your tombs and having the same adventures. I fell in with some Wood Elf women in Norrath and discovered the joys of camping. We eventually grew apart, as people and computer-generated protagonists sometimes do.
Sometimes my friends would fill me in on how you were doing. The stories always started off well, with you trying new things, learning new moves. There was still always another ledge to jump off of or another wolf to avoid. You even got a movie deal! (Pretty impressive, although I don't think that no-name actress looked anything like you. I guess that's Hollywood.) But as time went on, those stories got stale. You seemed like you were trying too hard to impress everyone, and entertaining no one in the end. I hate to sound cold-hearted, but I didn't miss you much.
And then last week you sauntered back into my life. From out of nowhere, you asked me to journey with you to far away lands and solve ancient puzzles again, just like we used to, and I couldn't say no. We went to the same exotic locales as that first adventure, except they were different, too. The environments are like I remember them, but the various mazes are new again, enhanced and remixed, almost like I'm seeing them for the first time. Everything feels familiar, but the challenges are fresh and new.
Leaping across deep chasms and rolling underneath dangerous traps has never been so much fun. You control so effortlessly, like you know exactly where I want you to go. And you're not flashy about it. You're not trying to show off for me, throwing your new grappling hook everywhere and posing after each stunt. That early awkwardness is long gone. When you gracefully climb your way down the side of a cavern wall, you know every step you're going to take. It's breathtaking to watch.
But I have to be honest with you, Lara. I'm only back because of how beautiful you look.
I'm a shallow man. When I say I don't care about looks, that gameplay and experience is all that matters, I'm lying through my teeth. You could never hold my attention if you were that same polygonal mess from 1996, all angled and jaggy. But you're not that same girl. You're smooth and alias-free, finely-detailed, with your long, flowing hair, and legs that go all the way down to the floor. And the first time you climbed out of that pool of water, dripping all over the cave floor? I knew I'd melted for you. Looks are the thing, and you look stunning.
Listen, I don't know how long this thing we've got is going to last. You and I have both been down this road before, and we know that this kind of passion doesn't always last. Will you hold my attention six months from now? Probably not. But I know I'm enjoying what we have right now, watching this old flame spark up again like someone threw gasoline on the fire. I don't know if I'm falling in love or if this is just a fling, but being with you this past week has been fantastic, just like it used to be. Let me know if you've got another tomb to raid, baby, and don't ever change.