You may remember a story we covered back in November about how a dad hacked into Zelda to create a girl character for his 3-year-old daughter to play. While he wasn't able to change the makeup of the actual main character, he did change the gender references and character names, all with the noble goal of teaching his daughter that girls can be the hero, too.
Now, another gaming dad went on a similar mission, but this time he took it a step further to actually give the main character a sex change. This time, in Donkey Kong.
Mike Mika wrote his account of the hack on Wired, describing the joy he always felt when his 3-year-old daughter would want to play her favorite game. But when his innocent little Pauline asked why she couldn’t play Donkey Kong as a girl, he couldn’t come up with a good reason. So he put his hacker credentials to work.
Using his expertise in video game-building and programming, Mika worked through the game to recreate the main character as a girl – complete with dress and ponytail – and even added a “P” to represent her name.
He posted his progress on Facebook as he worked through the night. His friends tweeted about it and posted on Reddit, which is how the media got wind of it.
After all that work, his daughter got to play Donkey Kong with her likeness for the first time. “She was excited! But for all she knew, I just figured out how to get Pauline to work. And that was fine," Mika wrote.
"I wasn’t expecting it to change her life. We played for a bit. And some more. And again later. You know what? She really did seem to enjoy the game more. For whatever reason, she was more motivated to play as Pauline than as Mario.”
Who knows if Pauline will remember this in a couple years, but that's certainly a hack borne from love. After the efforts made by these two publicized dads (and likely many others out there) maybe game developers will take a page from their books and start creating more "Paulines" of the world so dad hackers won't have to anymore.
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