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Dad Hacks Zelda Game for his Daughter

Mike Hoye

Gaming has traditionally been a boy’s club. Outside of a few notable characters, the protagonists in video games are overwhelmingly male, and the female characters that are there aren’t really representations of a strong, independent woman. Sexism in gaming is a popular subject these days, with several high-profile incidents making headlines.

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One dad has had enough of that. Mike Hoye is a techie and father to a 3-year-old girl. Recently, he and his daughter Maya began playing Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, in which a young boy goes on a quest to rescue his sister. Mike was troubled by the fact that, though Maya could change the main character Link’s name to whatever she wanted, she could not make him a girl. “As you might imagine,” Mike wrote on his blog, “I’m not having my daughter growing up thinking girls don’t get to be the hero and rescue their little brothers.”

Over the course of several days, Mike laboriously modified the game, changing every gender-specific reference to the main character in the game’s predominantly text-based narrative from masculine to feminine. “He” became “She.” “Master” and “My Lad” became “Milady.” “Swordsman” became “Swordmain,” co-opting a gender-neutral term coined by author Stephen Donaldson.

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It’s a sweet gesture by an obviously awesome dad, and he’s gone so far as to make his modification publicly available to anyone who wants it.  But there has been surprising backlash by some who feel the modification was inappropriate, shedding ever more light on the occasionally ridiculous way that women are treated in the gaming community.

Do you or your kids play games?  What are your favorites to play together, and does the gender of the hero ever become an issue?  Let us know in the comments.