Lara Croft and The Creepy Destructoid; Or A Gaming Culture Time Capsule

First off: the original Destructoid article was released in 2007 (which is the early days of the site), but it’s resurfaced thanks to all the attention the new Tomb Raider game has received.

It starts off looking innocent: a Destructoid post about a life-size Lara Croft statue. Nothing out of the ordinary from a first look at the page…

A screen capture of the Destructoid page about the life size Lara Croft statue.

At a glance, this looks perfectly fine. Then you look closer… (Click to enlarge)

… and then you read the body text, which unless this is some kind of fever dream or I’m having a stroke, actually happened.

In short, Hamza CTZ Aziz indicates that he'd drill holes in the statue to have sex with it. Although using a prostitute would be cheaper in his view.

Personally, I’m hoping for the fever dream.

For the record, being lonely doesn’t negate the creepy.

Yes, this was early days for Destructoid, but I’m not sure that’s much excuse. I belive that the article’s author, Hamza “CTZ” Aziz, was a Community Manager for Destructoid at the time. He’s now a Managing Director, so articles like this don’t necessarily harm your ability to progress in a gaming website’s hierarchy.

A shot of Aziz's profile that notes him as Managing Director of Destructioid.

You can read his Destructoid blog here (which should start pretty much at the first entry) for an examination of how exceptional – or not – this kind of post was for Aziz in 2007 onwards.

But what makes this page such a great example of why gaming culture could have possibly been considered hostile to woman is shown in the associated sidebar. The tags used for this post have created the sidebar, focusing on the #GirlsOfGaming one since that was entered first. (Is there a #WomanOfGaming tag? Don’t be silly – of course not.)

The tags on this post are #GirlsOfGaming, #LaraCroft, #ThingsGamersDo and #Toys

#ThingsGamersDo – think about converting statues to Live Dolls, apparently.

The Girls of Gaming tag kicks off with articles about porn stars playing video games topless and a Playboy model picture.

So, yeah - topless porn stars play video games for their blog and a large image of a naked woman draped in video game peripherals.

The stories that lead Destructoid’s Girls of Gaming. Welcome to the gaming club, ladies, don’t all rush in at once.

The third story gets a #GirlsOfGaming tag because it partly mentions women being treated badly on Xbox Live and the fourth story gets tagged because it includes a Felicia Day interview. Which isn’t exactly great, but at least neither involve a woman having to taking off her clothes to be worth mentioning in relation to gaming.

Other highlights from the #GirlsOfGaming sidebar include:

Man Shocked That Water Is Wet

Yeah, I know: this Destructoid being Destructoid. They’ve tried to clean up their act more recently, but for a long time they were the raving fanboi end of the gaming spectrum and it will take a long time – if it ever happens – to shake off those associations. As someone who was rarely a Destructoid visitor, this one Lara Croft statue post served as a time capsule of sorts – how this site viewed women in gaming all wrapped up on the one grotesque page.

Some may think I’m being unfair here, but everything I’ve mentioned appeared on Destructoid and is still part of its content. I didn’t go off cherry picking items to make Destructoid look bad; the #GirlsOfGaming articles popped up on the same page where a now senior Destructoid employee proclaimed his desire to convert a statue into a sex toy.

As Destructoid approaches its seventh birthday, let’s hope that the site leaves these kind of things firmly in its past.

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