Mike Hoye loves playing games with his three-year-old daughter Maya, yet found himself frustrated by the lack of positive female role models.
At first, Mike would adapt to the games he and Maya played together. When dad and daughter sat down to play The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker on the family Wii, Mike would read the text aloud to Maya and swap the gender specific pronouns, making hero Link sound like a girl.
However, Mike soon found this “annoying and awkward.” His solution? Hack the game and turn the hero into a heroine. Obviously.
By swapping out all the game’s pronouns, the determined dad transformed Link into a girl and even chose to make Link’s little sister a little brother. He was aided, no doubt, by Wind Waker‘s visuals: The game’s cartoony characters have an androgynous style, and it’s a safe bet that a young player would struggle to differentiate gender.
Writing on his blog where he recorded his methods for modding the game, Hoye says:
“I’m not having my daughter growing up thinking girls don’t get to be the hero and rescue their little brothers.”
The gender-bending hack proved a tricky exercise in many ways. For instance, Hoye notes that all text changes had to be the same byte-for-byte length. This meant terms such as “my lad” and “master” had to be switched to “milady,” while “swordsman” has become “swordmain.”
It may be a tad awkward, but at least little Maya will grow up knowing girls can kick their fair share of butt.