Cool Off, Bub, There Was Never a Tomb Raider Nude Code

Tomb Raider PSOne

In the late 1990s, rumors about video games were all the rage. From tales of reviving Aeris in Final Fantasy VII to secret methods of accessing the Sky Temple in Ocarina of time, it seemed like everyone with a controller was willing to spread wild rumors about their favorite games. But there’s one myth from the 1990s that was particularly, um, spicy?

Yes, we’re referring to the Tomb Raider nude code. Who knows how many hours were lost mashing away at button sequences in order to get just a tiny little peek at Lara Croft’s pixelated posterior without those shorts?

In fact, one gamer (who unsurprisingly chose to remain anonymous) became frustrated enough to pen this later to Game Informer (which was published in the February, 1999 issue of the magazine):

Tomb Raider Nude Code

This anonymous letter-writer claims that “millions of people are just sitting in their homes dreaming about the nude code night and day,” and they believe that printing the nude code would be a way for Game Informer to sell millions of copies of their magazine (or millions of copies of Tomb Raider 3, maybe — it’s actually not completely clear from the context here).

The thing is, as this Game Informer staffer points out, the nude code never existed. Well, not in an official sense, anyway.

Of course, there’s one possible option for those who care deeply enough to look for it, and are willing to pick up the Xploder Cheat Cartridge for PlayStation (a device that plugs into the memory card slot of your PSOne and lets you hack your games). We don’t actually know if this works — we really didn’t find it necessary to try it out for ourselves — but there are a few forum posts that claim to have found nude codes for Tomb Raider 3 using the Xploder. Of course, all of this could simply be a prank.

But, being the diligent researchers we are, we also found something weirder.

Back in 1997, Electronics Gaming Monthly was running so much content about Lara Croft that the magazine’s 98th issue had a letter from the editor explaining why their coverage was so relentless. Here’s an excerpt:

Our reasons are obvious. She’s hot. Readers are interested in her. Sports Illustrated doesn’t quit covering Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls halfway through the playoffs because it’s already been done. You cover a star when it’s shooting.

Now, we need to put this letter into context. In the previous issue, Issue 97 (dated August, 1997), the magazine had spilled a URL for a Nude Raider webpage.

Tomb Raider - Nude Raider Webpage

In case you can’t read it, the URL is:

http://www.cybernet.dk/users/droop/lara/

No, it’s not live anymore. And no, it doesn’t seem to be archived at Internet Archive either. And yes, we checked.

While we often find strange and baffling things in old gaming magazines, this URL is probably the second weirdest thing we’ve ever found (the weirdest being the incredibly offensive review of College Football USA ’96 that was printed in GameFan magazine).

Unsurprisingly, the letter section of the next issue was filled with complaints.

EGM - Nude Raider Letters

EGM issued a wordy response. We’ll just reprint it here because our magazine scans are kind of hard to read.

Like you said, it is the parents’ ultimate responsibility to monitor their children. But if parents need a little help, they can find plenty of it on the Web. In fact SurfWatch (www.surfwatch.com), a program designed to lock out adult sites, has blocked Nude Raider’s site from young, prying eyes. As far as EGM’s responsibility to its readers, we selected the least offensive images to include in our article. Moreover, we believe that the vast majority of our readers are sophisticated enough to handle “mature” themes such as nudity without getting too worked up (after all, the average age, shown by independent studies, of an EGM reader is 20). And if you’re the type to take offense to seeing this stuff on the Net, here’s an easy solution: Don’t look at it. No one is forcing you to enter Nude Raider’s Web site address in your Web browser. Let’s also be clear that we never condoned or encouraged anyone to visit the site. We strongly believe in the first amendment, and in the interest of writing a comprehensive article of Lara, we included the URL. The site has generated a lot of buzz in the gaming community, and for better or worse, we couldn’t just ignore its existence. Please also keep in mind that Lara is really just a bunch of rendered polygons. She’s not real. As most of you already know, you can very easily find much worse on the Web. Don’t kid yourself into thinking that youngsters are going to be seeing nudity on the Internet for the first time because of us.

So… We printed the Nude Raider URL to cite the source for a piece in our article on Lara Croft, and a few people got upset. We’re sincerely sorry that we offended you, but we’re not sorry we printed it. You all know that EGM is, and always has been, on the edge, and if being on the edge means losing a few readers, well… we hope you enjoy reading the competition.

Okay, it’s nice that EGM offered a solution for helping parents protect their children from visiting unwanted websites, but seriously, this response is baffling, to say the least. They actually went so far as to invoke the First Amendment over naked fan art of Lara Croft. This response reads more like something written by a forum troll than by the editor of a magazine. But really, the part about “edge” is pure 90s.

Moving beyond the EGM controversy, there was supposedly a “glitch” in the Tomb Raider reboot that made it kind of look like Lara’s shirt had torn off. Kotaku ran a piece on it, but they claimed they couldn’t reproduce the glitch.

As far as any official cheat code for getting Lara to drop her duds, though, that’s always been make-believe.

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