Sophont
Sunday, April 25, 2004
 
Toby Gard, inventor of Lara Croft/Tomb Raider
News: "The story goes that Frances Gard, Toby's younger sister, was the inspiration for Lara Croft. You'll know Lara Croft better as Tomb Raider, the computer-game character who kicks, jumps and swims her way through a maze of tunnels fit to bamboozle the Minotaur. Latterly, she's done the same in the cinema, in two films: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life. Toby invented Lara Croft/Tomb Raider in the mid-1990s while he was working at Core Design, a company that develops video software. He designed, programmed and executed the game using techniques which, at the time, were revolutionary. It was an immediate critical and commercial success. Core has sold in excess of 25 million units under the Tomb Raider name.

But Lara Croft became an emblem beyond the insular video-gaming world. She appeared on stage with U2 during their Pop Mart world tour. She became the subject of highbrow-goes-lowbrow cultural essays. She featured on the covers of style magazines. And she was 'the face' of Lucozade. She even released a pop single, produced by the dreaded Dave Stewart. The biggest video-game icon since Pac-Man, Croft has netted Core Design in excess of �400m. But Gard has seen none of it. He quit Core two months after the game was released. It was 1997. It was the first game he'd developed. He was 24 years old."

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