Modifying an old console game is pretty easy. The extracted cartridge ROMs are usually only a few kilobytes, can be reverse engineered with readily available tools, and then played on modern computers with equally available emulators. ROM mods have been popular since the mid 90s when computers became fast enough to trick old games into believing they were accessing the consoles they were made for – which is amazingly resource intensive. Such mods can be found all over the internet. Hackers frequently use them as mashups, putting Mario in a Sonic game, Sonic in a Megaman game, Megaman in a Sonic game. You get the idea. Silly fun. One modder actually hacked the often maligned Atari 2600 E.T. to be actually playable as opposed the the mess that crashed the video game market.
More recently parents have been hacking games specifically to change the gender of the protagonist – often male to female – for their daughters to enjoy. Our kid wasn’t into games at all until I downloaded the Zelda Starring Zelda and Super Princess Peach Sister mods. It may be because we’ve inundated her with female lead stories most of her life that she’s just not interested in playing as a boy. It could also be because she’d only seen male game heroes before and she didn’t think the medium was made for her until she saw the female heroes. I don’t think she has the words yet to describe what logic changed her mind, but it certainly changed.
Just this week a father of a six month old girl edited the Super Nintendo hit A Link to the Past to be gender neutral, and like previous gender mods some tweens and middle aged virgins are losing their shit over it. These same gamers, who have been passing around the aforementioned mashup mods for over a decade, are suddenly incensed that anyone would disturb the integrity of a classic game. Here’s some of the priceless whining:
Says the white boy for which 95% of all media is aimed at. People like to see themselves represented. Check out this 106 year old lady dancing over finally seeing a black president. #blackjoymatters.
As a matter of fact, someone has done exactly that! And look! No insane comment section filled with whiny snots questioning its legitimacy!
This guy’s obviously never heard of Marcel Duchamp. Also funny that he’s defending the visage of a woman while decrying the idea of women inserted into a game. In reality, the ROM edit is much like L.H.O.O.Q. in that the original is unharmed and freely available without the beard if that’s the version you prefer.
Yes, game companies! Make more female protagonists! But, evil fathers, don’t set the dangerous precedent of making your kid think she can reverse engineer technology and improve it to suit her needs. No one’s ever done that before and succeeded in life.
Unless you want to play Zelda as Bruce Campbell of Evil Dead fame. That would be fucking awesome! And, of course, there is nothing about the actual mechanics of the game or even the design of the sprite that is incompatible with making the player one gender or the other. Link has pink hair, for shit’s sake.
It’s obvious all this complaining is really about keep girls from playing games at all. If a girl plays as a girl she might like it and then she’ll demand more heroines in games and then, well… armageddon, I guess.