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Dad hacks Zelda video game to change boy superhero into girl for his daughter

Jordana Divon
Shine On
November 9, 2012

Many little girls think their dads are the greatest dads on earth, but how many can say their dads hacked into a popular video game to change the male protagonist into a female?

Three-and-a-half-year-old Maya is the lucky daughter of Mike Hoye, a gamer and small business owner who reprogrammed the text in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker so that it would read "she" instead of "he" in reference to the lead character.

So what was his motivation for such time-consuming work?

"I'm not having my daughter growing up thinking girls don't get to be the hero and rescue their little brothers," he explains on his blog.

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As Ars Technica reports, Hoye didn't like a feature in the game that allowed players to change the name of the main character, Link, but didn't allow them to change his gender as well.

Moreover, he says he was bothered by the fact that other characters always referred to Link as "my lad" and "swordsman."

Since Maya can't read yet, Hoye would read the text to her out loud and keep changing the pronouns to reflect his daughter's gender.

"It's annoying and awkward, to put it mildly, having to do gender-translation on the fly when Maya asks me to read what it says on the screen," Hoye writes.

"You can pick your character's name, of course — I always stick with Link, being a traditionalist — but all of the dialog insists that Link is a boy, and there's apparently nothing to be done about it."

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Spurred in part by this annoyance, and what Ars Tecnica claims is a "noticeable shortage of good female main characters," in video games, Hoye lays out the tools and techniques he used to modify the game's text internally.

"This isn't particularly user-friendly; you'll need to download the Dolphin emulator and find a Windwaker .GCM," he advises, before listing the patches you'll need to complete the task.

And while some Zelda purists are up in arms over the sex change applied to the gamer classic, citing everything from dubious intellectual property changes to sexism, others lauded Hoye for his actions.

"There are almost no female superheroes suitable for a small girl, and of the few there are, there is NO merchandise for," writes a commenter named JStevens0220. "Unless she wants to be a princess there aren't many videogame options for a young girl either."

But no matter what anyone says, little Maya now has the most interesting video game collection on the block.

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