What Tomb Raider Teaches Us About Climbing

Climbing isn’t a hugely popular genre within videogames, although many games feature movement from one surface to the next, typically in platformers characters make these leaps in single strides or double jumps and rarely have the need to ascend a cliff face. There are some anomalies however and famed ones at that, one of the most iconic female characters in video games is also a big climber and here name is Lara Croft. The Tomb Raider titles have been hugely popular ever since their debut back in 1996, ever since Lara has been traversing caves, climbing walls and leaping over gaps to explore the secrets hidden in the earth.

Tomb Raider
Tomb Raider

Recently the Tomb Raider series has seen a renaissance of sorts as the 2013 game (Also titles Tomb Raider) brought a new angle to the genre which was more realistic and far more focused on moving around the world. Here climbing is a prominent element of the gameplay and gives players a first-hand look at how some of the best climbers navigate tough terrain. Although it may seem odd for a game once infamous for bouncing breasts and adored for the ability to lock the butler in the freezer to now be dark, gritty and smart it really has become a different animal and one which will no doubt encourage people to explore climbing, all the while teaching them a few things along the way.

Prepare Yourself

This may seem like something you don’t need to teach but even professionals find themselves on the bad end of poor planning sometimes. Making sure you have everything you need, preparing for changes in the weather and assessing your climb beforehand are keys to success and having a successful climb. Lara often finds herself in tricky situations but is saved by the assistance of her climbing axe which she never leaves behind.

Climbing Is Unpredictable
Climbing Is Unpredictable

Climbing Is Unpredictable

One thing you will learn quickly in the ancient cave systems that you work your way through on Tomb Raider is to expect the unexpected. Whether that means hostile wildlife, falling debris or unstable equipment that could be the death of you, there are many unknowns you will come across which is why preparation is so vital. Being able to adapt to these variables is key to survival, finding new paths, creating stable checkpoints and making sure you aren’t just waiting for gravity to overwhelm you is the best way to be. In Tomb Raider things happen fast and you will be eager to find solid, stable ground as soon as you can which is a good mindset for exhausting climbs.

Recognising New Paths
Recognising New Paths

Recognising New Paths

Expert climbers have an eye for where to go next, looking ahead for footholds, grabbable rocks and ledges that can bear their weight to allow them to rest. Even from the early stages of climbing planning your next move is essential to getting anywhere, without a solid plan you could end up trapped or worse. Tomb Raider teaches players to assess their environment and look for new paths, eventually a competent system of getting from A to B becomes a reflex to those who have played long enough, just like the best real world climbers.