laraa.jpg The ever-reliable 'Games Without Frontiers' column by Clive Thompson over at Wired News decided to delve into the attraction of Lara Croft this week, and surprisingly, Thompson's angle is that it was empathy, not lust, that drove millions of gamers into the Tomb Raider's grip.

He explains happily: "I think young boy gamers loved Lara for reasons that were considerably stranger [than "the basest urges"]. They weren't just ogling her: They were identifying with her. Playing the role of a hot, sexy woman in peril -- surrounded by violence on all sides -- was, unexpectedly, a totally electric experience for young guys."

Thompson, referencing Carol Clover's concept of 'The Final Girl' empathetic effect in horror movies, comments of the Tomb Raider series: "As with the slasher flicks, there's.... a constantly threatened woman, fighting for her very survival, attacking goons on every side -- and a captive audience of young men. Playing as Croft was an emotionally catalytic experience."

[Incidentally, did anyone else know about Tomb Raider: Quest For Cinnabar? Doesn't it sound like she's either looking for a cheap bath product or an expensive lounge bar?]