I know that this is a hop, skip and a jump from the content I usually produce, but my partner downloaded Uncharted the other day so that he can play that instead of overtaking me in Persona 5 Royal. I watched him play it for half an hour in a sleepy daze. I didn’t even have my glasses on originally, but I still recognised certain mechanics. My heart started pounding as fond memories flooded my brain. I was about to ask him why he installed Tomb Raider because he’s never shown any interest in it.
You see, I grew up with this game. I cannot remember the exacts, but I remember my dad calling me downstairs after he came home from work and let me climb up the climbing wall and jump into the swimming pool. I was not a huge gamer as a kid, but I could have done that for hours. My dad had a friend (I called him my Uncle so I’ll refer to him like that) who would come over every other night or so and they would play Tomb Raider (or Resident Evil). Thinking about it, my parents did not have the best marriage, but they always worked so well together when Tomb Raider was on.
So when my partner got me Shadow of the Tomb Raider for Christmas 2018, I was confused about why I was not enjoying it. When I was 13, I always played it. But now, as I was watching my partner play his game, I realised why I did not enjoy Shadow of the Tomb Raider. It was because I was playing it by myself.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: Oh, it was too hard for you. Yeah, I thought that also. But the fun bit for me is helping each other. Pointing out clues, working out why you can’t land on that rock, trying to work out the puzzle. And when there is so much going on in a game like there is in the Tomb Raider games, you need that other person helping you.
I am not a very social person. I like working things out on my own. I get a feeling of satisfaction when I complete a puzzle or find a clue. But when you play Tomb Raider as a 2 player game, you get more than that satisfaction. You gain skill that can be applied to real life. Your communication improves, your patience improves (and trust me, when you play with my dad, you need patience), and more evidently, your teamwork skills improve. Your relationship with the person you’re playing with improves significantly. I had a lot of issues with my dad growing up, but Tomb Raider was always our thing. I felt comfort whenever we played it, like all those issues melted away. And I honestly cannot think of another type of game that provides so much action that you need two players to play it successfully.
I remember when I was a kid, it was never just my dad playing Tomb Raider. It was always my dad and my uncle. I would usually chime in with some unhelpful advice because I was like, 6 and understood nothing. My sisters and mother would even try to help out on things like puzzles. And there are so many ways you can play this as a team. As I got older, my father and I had a ‘three deaths or one-hour rule’ in which we would swap the controller over every three deaths or each hour, if both of us wanted to play. Another way is someone looking out for the sneaky shiny clues or a way out of a tricky situation. My advice would be at least to try to swap over so that both brains are being used, as sometimes you need a fresh outlook, especially when things are particularly tricky.
I know this is a long shot but try it. Even if you like playing Tomb Raider by yourself. Try it and then get back to me. This game can cause more bonding than family party games. Heck, you could probably play it as a family party game! (Actually, they are pretty long games so I would not recommend actually doing this). But it is also a great thing to try when you’re in lockdown, and your family is driving you up the wall.