Monday, March 18, 2013

Mom hacks original Legend of Zelda to cast Zelda in the starring role

Parents, you should pretty much hang up whatever hopes you've had of winning Kawaiian Punch's non-existent Mother and Father of the Year awards.

YouTuber Kenna W. seized "Mother of the Year" this weekend when she uploaded a video detailing a hack of the original 8-bit The Legend of Zelda.  Having played (and loved)the game as a child, Kenna was still a bit frustrated that her daughter would have to play through the same, pixelated adventure as a male hero questing to save a purloined princess.

After seeing one father's recent hack of Donkey Kong to switch the roles of Mario and Pauline, Kenna decided it was time to create her own bizarre love triangle but swapping the roles of Hyrule's favorite couple so her daughter could play as a proper, Link-rescuing princess.

Three days of grueling work later - standing on the shoulders of geek titans who created The Legend of Zelda:ROM map - Kenna, a professional animator, and her boyfriend - a video game programmer - pulled off what could be the greatest gender swap in the history of Hyrule.

In addition to replacing the sprites of Link and Zelda, it's nice to see that this Mother of the Year also swapped the names of Hyrule's hero and perpetually imperiled princess around much like another parent did in his Wind Waker gender hack.  This keeps the game's simple narrative in tact while removing any dissonance for the player.

If you're interested in how Kenna and her boyrfriend were able to accomplish this impressive switcheroo in three mere days, or you're interested in downloading the patch for yourself, you can check out her blog post on the hack's creation which details all the steps they took.

These sorts of stories absolutely warm the jaded, blackened muscle that I call a heart.

Growing up in the late 80s, I never realized how lucky I was to be a young boy playing these seminal video games.  It just made sense that I could see myself in the role of the hero without the need for crossdressing, and I never stopped to consider how my sister - and other girls - must have felt.

Until modern video games begin following the open-world model and allowing players to choose between male and female characters at will, hacks like this will be a great - and necessary - way for the original 8-bit gamers to retcon the games of the past to make them more accessible to girls the world over.

Or, of course, parents could just direct their children over to the Final Fantasy franchise - which introduced female heroes way back in 1988 (1991 in America).