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Developer hacks Donkey Kong for daughter

What happens when a developer's daughter wants to play Donkey Kong as Pauline?

What happens when a developer's daughter wants to play Donkey Kong as Pauline?

(Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia)

We have to love developer dads.

Mike Mika of Other Ocean has a three-year-old daughter. Naturally, the two play a lot of games together — but the little girl's favourite game is Donkey Kong.

When she asked her dad if she could play as Pauline instead of Mario — a not-unreasonable request, since she had played as Princess Peach in Super Mario Bros 2 — she was downcast when Mika told her that she couldn't. Rather than let his daughter remain sad, though, he set about hacking the game so that Pauline could rescue a helpless Mario — turning thedamsel in distress trope on its head.

Taking the game's 2010 NES ROM, Mika redrew all of Mario's frames, replacing the plumber's sprite with the pink-clad heroine. He also changed the "M" for Mario in the top-right corner to a "P" for "Pauline".

It's heartening to see dads take such an interest in making their daughters' gaming experiences inclusive. Last year, we saw Mike Hoye hack into The Wind Waker so that his three-year-old could have a more immersive experience, saying, "I'm not having my daughter growing up thinking girls don't get to be the hero and rescue their little brothers".

Gamer dads: making gaming better for everyone, one three-year-old daughter at a time.