Flip All The Pronouns

On A Certain Island

Maya and I have been playing through Windwaker together; she likes sailing, scary birds and remembering to be brave, rescuing her little brother and finding out what’s happening to Medli and her dragon boat.

She’s the hero of the story, of course.

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. 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.

Well, there wasn’t anything to be done about it, certainly not anything easy, but as you might imagine I’m not having my daughter growing up thinking girls don’t get to be the hero and rescue their little brothers.

This isn’t particularly user-friendly; you’ll need to download the Dolphin emulator and find a Windwaker .GCM, the Gamecube disk image with this SHA-1 hash:

Original: 6b5f06c10d50ebb4099cded88217eb71e5bfbb4a

and then you’ll need to figure out how to use xdelta3 to apply a binary patch to that image.

This patch.

When you’re done the resulting disk image will have the following SHA-1 hash:

Result: 6a480ffd8ecb6c254f65c0eb8e0538f7b30cfaa7

… and all the dialog will now refer to Link as a young woman, rather than as a young man.

I think I’ve gotten this right – this was all done directly on the original disk image with a hex editor, so all the changes needed to be the same byte-for-byte length, in-place. I haven’t had time to play through the whole game to test it yet, and some of the constructions aren’t perfect. I’ve borrowed Donaldson’s “Swordmain” coinage to replace “Swordsman”, for example, and there’s lots of “milady” replacing “my lad” and “master”, because I couldn’t find a better way to rewrite them in exactly the amount of space allotted. If you come up with something better, I’m all ears.

I’m going to audit it shortly, and may update this post to reflect that. For now, though, here you go.

FemLink or you’re doing it wrong.


  1. Posted November 7, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    Dad of the fucking year.

  2. Posted November 7, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    Wow. Just… wow. Kudos to you, man.

  3. Rachel
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 1:05 am | Permalink

    The superhero (girls) of the future thank you for getting it and making the effort.

  4. Posted November 8, 2012 at 1:57 am | Permalink

    Gold medal-level parenting.

  5. Spudman101
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Cool. Nice work.

    You could switch ‘my lad’ to ‘my gal’. It’s pretty much equivalent in informality, so it should fit okay.

  6. Katie
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    You are fucking AWESOME. I would’ve killed to have something like this when I was a little girl playing Ocarina of Time for the first time.

  7. mhoye
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    You could switch ‘my lad’ to ‘my gal’

    Yeah, no. I had to edit for tone, not just text, and ‘gal’ is not something you call the resurrected Hero Of Time.

  8. Haran
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Veeery nice :) Congrats!

  9. Posted November 8, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Now the “Zelda is the girl” meme needs to be reworded. I suggest “Zelda is the OTHER girl” :)

  10. mhoye
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    I approve of this.

  11. drew
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    You could always go for Swordmaid?

  12. jjmcgaffey
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    How about “lassie? Just about as informal as” my lad ” – I haven’t played it, but it doesn’t sound like the ones using that address are treating Link with the respect due “the resurrected Hero of Time “, anyway.

    And, great!

  13. Stephen Hood
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    This is the best use of a hex editor ever. Definitely better than that time I gave my Wizardry characters max stats.

  14. mhoye
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    I do use “Lassie” in some places, where the speaker is clearly meant to have some sort of Scottish brogue. Depends on the context.

  15. Terrence
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    This is totally the kind of thing I love to see! For “my lad”, what about m’lass?

  16. Posted November 8, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    That’s beyond awesome. Wonderful thing to do for your daughter, and yay for more females in this hobby and more female heroes. I’ll be passing this along to fellow gamers (both male and female) with daughters, as well as blogging it.

  17. Steve
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    You win Dad-ing :)

  18. Missy
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    This is so awesome, I don’t even have words.

  19. Posted November 8, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Yes, words don’t suffice.

    No matter any of the arguments about gender roles and how we should handle them differently. Those arguments are important, but pale to the real crux…

    What a wonderful gift. Your heart and care.
    Nothing else really holds a candle.

    Love and care.
    Your passion and heart.
    Your time.

    You have given of your best – yourself!
    IPOY [See: Tim Madigan. I’m Proud Of You: My friendship with Fred Rogers.]

    Amazon has used copies for $2. The best $2 book ever. Seriously.

  20. Posted November 8, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Absolute Dad win. Your daughter’s a lucky girl to have you. :)

  21. Thomas
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Great man!

  22. Iggy
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    You’re not just a great dad but you’re also doing what game companies and developers should be doing in the first place. Add to options “Press here” to select hero/shero gender.

  23. Shelley
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    You are one AWESOME, geeky Dad. WTG!

  24. John
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    You. Go. Dude. Your daughter is one lucky kid. Dad of the Year is YOURS, sir.

  25. JBachour
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Awesome Dad is Awesome! Way to go, too bad not many fathers can be like you.

  26. Juan Romero Abelleira
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    You rock.

  27. Johnny
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    This is quite awesome! Makes me curious too, with the tools available for Link to the Past (specifically Hyrule Magic I think it’s called), would be cool to see a Genderswap ROM hack for that too!

  28. Lockhart665
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Permalink


  29. Posted November 8, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Very cool :)

  30. Some girl
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    This is pretty stupid, really. At that age I didn’t care about what gender the protagonist was I just had fun playing the games, as is the case with most kids. Tetra is pretty cool in this game anyways.

    Instead of altering games, effectively censoring them you should realize that females don’t have to be the lead role to be strong role models (Tetra and OoT Zelda).

  31. Anon.
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    Dad of the Year!!
    nice work :)

  32. Posted November 8, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Hey, developer from Dolphin Emulator here.

    Always great to see Dolphin getting used in the wild for different things.

    We have actually moved our website: http://dolphin-emu.org


  33. mhoye
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Thanks! I’ll update the link directly.

  34. Posted November 8, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    Bloody awesome.

  35. Posted November 8, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Am I the only one who’s reminded of this?


  36. Brandon
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    Parenting level: 9000+.

  37. clint
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    If you want to take it to the next level, possibly see if you can swap Aryll and Link’s models around? Probably tricky since the animations are attached to the model, but it might be surprisingly easy. Then again, I suppose Link looks passably gender-neutral as-is.

  38. Floradine's Puppeteer
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    If I ever should have a daughter I will be a better dad for her because of this story.

    Thank you for this.

  39. Posted November 8, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    Best. Dad. Ever. Adopt me pls. <3

  40. Libid
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    Win! So fucking WIN! Ok ok ok… World’s 2nd greatest dad! (I’m a little biased)

    Just a heads up, the opposite problem will arise when C turns about 12-13 and suddenly there is precious little for him to read. Christmas age-appropriate books are a long and arduous search when shopping for my nephew.

  41. Benny
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    Could have just bought Metroid?

  42. mhoye
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    That I could have helped her play one of the scant few video games with female leads is hardly the point.

  43. Cyan
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

    That’s wonderful! I guess link could be gender neutral looking :) and the change of all the pronouns is perfect! The best thing about all of this though is your reasoning for doing this. Everyone deserves to be the hero regardless of gender, and we don’t see too many games that let females be the hero, so its great that your giving her the chance to play a game that is actually fun xP and worthwhile where the girl is the main hero.

    I agree with dad of the year :3

  44. D
    Posted November 9, 2012 at 12:46 am | Permalink

    Awesome thing to do for your daughter! I hope Nintendo pays attention to this!

    about “rescuing her little brother”:

    Did you also change all the references of the “little sister” to a “little brother”? or was this just a mix-up in the blog post?
    I was curious because Link’s little sister doesn’t look quite as gender-neutral as Link does (to me, anyway).

  45. Feministsistah
    Posted November 9, 2012 at 1:06 am | Permalink


    Congratulations on taking such an affirmative step in building your daughter’s self-esteem! I wish you all the best for the future! The world could do with more parents like you!

  46. Posted November 9, 2012 at 3:30 am | Permalink

    Well done to you, sir

  47. Anon
    Posted November 9, 2012 at 4:12 am | Permalink

    Hey there. Your blog was shared at Zelda Universe and I just wanted to give my humble opinion. If your reasoning was truly to show your daughter that girls can be heros too, etc, there are a lot of better ways to do this. I don’t feel Link should ever be personified as a girl and with the animation as what it is, it might get a little confusing for your daughter to identify gender appropriate appearances (Aryll as brother?). Good on you, but I think there were enough hero parts for girls in this game and others to compensate. Also your little girl probably isn’t old enough to have to worry about female hero tendencies. I’ve never been bothered by it, at least. And I grew up with games mostly concerning male characters.

    Good on you for going through so much work.

  48. Lizard
    Posted November 9, 2012 at 4:30 am | Permalink

    I just wanted to say I think what you did was fantastic (and this is a real understatement). Growing up, I always found having to play as a boy “hero” really soul destroying- as if my ovaries prevented me from saving the day.

    What you did will no doubt help her to grow up into a confident and self assured woman by helping to fix some of the inherent problems of growing up as a female who enjoys traditionally “male” pass times.

    Your daughter is very lucky to have a father like you.

  49. StarZander
    Posted November 9, 2012 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    I love this. So much. So much that I had to try it myself, and it works great so far! For those of you who want to try it but have a hard time figuring out how to go about it, here’s a more detailed tutorial (assuming you’re on Windows):

    First you get the Wind Waker game as either a .gcm file OR a .iso file (works just as well), you can Google it to find ROM-sites where you can download the whole game. If it is in a .zip or .rar file, make sure you extract it. To make it easier later on, you can create a folder directly on you C-drive. Go to your Computer where you see the overview of all your harddrives etc and go into the one with the letter C. Here just create a folder (Right click -> New -> Folder) and call it Windwaker.

    After that you download the latest version of xdelta3, from the link in the post, (it should just be a .exe file) and place it in the same folder as the iso/gcm-file of the game. Rename the xdelta3-file to just xdelta3.exe (instead of the longer more complicated name).

    Now download Mike Hoye’s patch file and place this in the same folder as well. Now you’re all set to patch it! Go to the Start menu and select “Run…” and type in “cmd” (without quotations) and press enter. This will open the Windows Command prompt, where you will need to navigate to the folder where you put all your files. If you don’t know how to navigate here, here are a few tips.

    Let’s say that the folder you start in is something like this: C:\Users\YourUser
    And the folder we need to go to is here: C:\Windwaker

    Type in “cd..” (without quotations) and press enter. This puts you in only the C:\Users folder. Repeat the same command and you should be in only C:\ in your Command prompt. Now enter “cd Windwaker” and press enter, and you should be in the C:\Windwaker folder.

    Now it is time for the command for the actual patching. Write the following (but exchange the word OLDFILE for the name of your .iso-file):

    xdelta3 -d -s OLDFILE.iso Windwaker_Pronoun_Patch.vcdiff Windwaker_new.iso

    Then press enter, and your game is patched and ready to play! Just get and run the Dolphin emulator and load up your Windwaker_new.iso file and your’re good to go!

    Also in my example above I use the .iso extension on the file but if you have a .gcm file you should switch .iso in the command to .gcm instead. That is all! Hope it was helpful!

  50. jon
    Posted November 9, 2012 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    This is rather silly to be honest. What’s the problem with your daugther playing a dude? Must we all play characters that are like us or something? There are plenty of games with female heroes so I don’t see the point at all. Sounds like silly feminism has corrupted you.

  51. axel
    Posted November 9, 2012 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Wonderfull father (:

  52. @flakmagnet
    Posted November 9, 2012 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Well done you for going to the extra effort. Kids need good role models, and it’s nice to see a female hero that isn’t just one of your standard tropes (badass chick, action girl, tag along girl etc) even if it’s a gender swap of an existing character. Though admittedly, I do find it amusing thinking of the day she finds out that FemLink is a lie!

  53. Black Light
    Posted November 9, 2012 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    I doubt if we ever met, but if we do and if I find out I will owe you a beer or five. Well played, sir.

  54. Anonymous
    Posted November 9, 2012 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    <3 Love it!

  55. cyberpunk42
    Posted November 9, 2012 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Excellent work! Thanks for the write-up, too. I, too tire of translating the hero’s name or pronoun of a game or story for my daughter.

  56. Simon
    Posted November 9, 2012 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Hmm…I’m not sure how I feel about this. On one hand, the story is about a boy and there are plenty of strong female characters in this particular game already. On the other hand, it can be very important to identify with characters in hero stories.

    …But on the other, sometimes identifying with them doesn’t necessitate that they are the same gender as you. I play FemShep because Jennifer Hale’s voice performance brings Shepard to life. I identified pretty strongly with all of the female characters in Garth Nix’s Abhorsen/Old Kingdom books. Honestly, I’m wracking my brains here since I stopped really paying attention to gender after a while.

    I will say the effort you’ve gone through has been totally cool despite any opinions.

    I wonder how she will feel when she grows up to be able to read by herself and finds out that officially Link is a boy?

    If you’re looking for a strong hero, The Scythian of Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery fame is absolutely *awesome*. Of course, there’s a bittersweet ending to the game. Please do not spoil it for yourself – I mean it – if you’re interested in it you can pick it up from the Humble Bundle right now and play it through yourself to find out how appropriate it is.

    What about other Adventure RPGs, like Pokemon? Or Final Fantasies 6, 12, etc?

  57. Jason
    Posted November 9, 2012 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Couldn’t you theoretically replace words with other terms that are the same length or *shorter*? That would mean leaving trailing spaces, but I highly doubt she (or most people) would mind. :P And if that worked, maybe change “swordsman” to something more neutral and generic, like “warrior”.

    In any case, this is a fantastic idea and I fully support it!

  58. Pat
    Posted November 9, 2012 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Cool! This is such a considerate thing to do for your daughter. And when she gets old enough to realize you’ve done this for her, I’m sure she’ll appreciate it! Link is an awesome character that all of us should be able to identify with…

  59. You're a moron
    Posted November 9, 2012 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    So whats next? Edit the voices of rock bands so they are girly? Because that’s a genre of music that is populated by men. Throw in some faces of women into the line of Presidents? Because that’s been men only thus far. You’re basically lying to your kid. If you want her to have female role models that are heroes, there are plenty to choose from. Samus, Princess Peach (Although, if you’re trying to stay away from the princess bit, I wouldn’t blame you) from SMB2, Lighting from FFXIII, Yuna from FFX-2. Then you have females from comic books, Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Black Canary, Jean Gray, Spider-woman, Black Widow. Even in normal books, the girl from the Hunger Games, Harriet the Spy, Pipi Longstocking. This also reinforces the idea that Link is Zelda, which there are enough morons out there that think that.

  60. Selon
    Posted November 9, 2012 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    He is named Link because miyamoto thought of him as a link to the player, as a speechless avator of the one playing the game. He doesn not speak because then he would become something else than a “Link” to us players.
    Miyamotos work is sadly enough flawed though, because to him it didnt occur that girls also play games, and that not all of those girls like to swap genders and pretend to be boys when they are not, thus link being one gender is destroying Miyamoto original intention.
    Not everyone can just switch genders like that and still be as involved in the game.

    For me Link is always a badass man because i am a badass man but if i were a girl i would feel more at home with playing as a girl.

  61. .,
    Posted November 9, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Wtf? What do you do to that great game? 3 year old is WAY too young. Take care of your child and not let it play games, play outdoor with her. Video games are nothing for kids. I think you are a very uncaring father.

  62. aeralure
    Posted November 9, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Absolutely awesome. I have wished through years of gaming that RPGs in particular would allow a gender option. Pretty amazing to do that for your daughter.

  63. Per Edman
    Posted November 9, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    I’m just laughing at the comments containing the term “gender-appropriate” as if that isn’t basically the entire problem right there. :)

    It’s not “gender-appropriate” for little girls to slay dragons, which is why we should kick constructed “gender” to the curb and make a new adventure in its place.

  64. Rune
    Posted November 9, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Daddy can’t always protect their little girls. Stop ruining perfectly good games. I never even thought of Link being a girl when I was young because I never had any trouble putting myself into his place and having the best adventures I could have before bedtime. You are essentially showing your daughter that if she doesn’t like the way a game is, daddy can find a way to make it better… even if it requires a bit of illegal jargon. What kind of lesson is that? You might as well throw on a copy of battlefield 3 and turn any and all bloodshed into rainbows and butterflies. Or hey, get her skyrimand

  65. Jeff
    Posted November 9, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Metroid, Tomb Raider, Perfect Dark, FemShep, Dragon Age etc… to say that games only portray men as saving the day is taking a rather narrow field of view. Unless you think Mario and Link are the only franchises you play.

  66. Rune
    Posted November 9, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Daddy can’t always protect their little girls. Stop ruining perfectly good games. I never even thought of Link being a girl when I was young because I never had any trouble putting myself into his place and having the best adventures I could have before bedtime. You are essentially showing your daughter that if she doesn’t like the way a game is, daddy can find a way to make it better… even if it requires a bit of illegal jargon. What kind of lesson is that? You might as well throw on a copy of battlefield 3 and turn any and all bloodshed into rainbows and butterflies. Or hey, get her a copy of skyrim and change the dragon battles into riding unicorns. Because everyone knows that riding unicorns is better than fighting a fire breathing dragon. You should be tried in court for illegally changing a copyrighted and beloved game but I wouldn’t want your daughter to be lonely.

  67. Athena
    Posted November 9, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    That is amazing. What a great Dad. How about m’girl or m’dear or m’lass instead of my lad?

  68. Sam
    Posted November 9, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    This is AWESOME. If I could do this, I would play the Zelda games. As it is, I’m so fed up with heroes always being boys that I’m running out of patience with videogames (after 30 years of playing them).

    To the haters: Oh, puh-leez. Consider it fanfic and go get a life for yourselves instead of picking on someone who did something really nifty for his daughter. Go play your heteronormative stuff in private; airing your prejudices here is kind of like wanking in public: rude and disgusting.

  69. David Jacaré
    Posted November 9, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    I wish I have had a father like you.

  70. Rinny
    Posted November 9, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    While I think it is really awesome that you would go to such lengths for your daughter, I really don’t agree with this. I am a female and I have been playing Zelda for years. Maybe it is because I’m a Zelda traditionalist, but Link has always been a male. And he always will be. As a little girl, I was never bothered by the fact that I was playing a male character. As long as I was having fun. Even today, I’m not bothered by it.

    There are SO many strong female characters in video games. People have all ready mentioned Lara Croft and Samus. There’s also Lightning from FFXIII, Yuna from FFX, Aerith from FF7 (fudge man, she’s the most strongest out of all the female characters in my mind), Euruca from Radiant Historia, and so many more. I could be here all day just listing them.

    Like I said, I think it is REALLY awesome that you did this for your little girl. I just think it was really unnecessary to change the pronouns. But that’s just me and my silly little opinion.

  71. Anonymous
    Posted November 9, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    personally ive been tired of having to play as a dude. a lot of the games people are listing with “female lead characters” are not games i see a little girl playing? so i think its awesome what youre doing for your daughter.

  72. Jacob
    Posted November 9, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    “Milass” instead of “milady” could be good for an informal tone?

    Regardless – 10/10, excellent parenting and phenomenal effort. Truly brilliant.

  73. Nubby
    Posted November 9, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    AMAZING. best father award right here!

  74. Wow
    Posted November 9, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    Watch his girl grow into a special snowflake gamer gurl.

    You’re just teaching her the ways of becoming a girl with lots of complexes about her gender. If you let the things natural, then it would be natural to her too. Not that ‘girls can’t be heroes’, but that there’s nothing special in the hero being either gender. It just doesn’t matter.

    You’re making it matter to her, and to yourself, which will in return make her grow the exact opposite way. Good luck having to deal with her special snowflake syndrome.

  75. someone apparently alone
    Posted November 9, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    am i the only one who instantly thought “tetra isnt helpless what is this”?
    also zelda was in the final fight of the game helping you. super confusion here

    sure, links sister gets kidnapped but literally 5 minutes later female bad ass pirate comes in

    i admire the father for wanting to show his girl that the world isnt all about girls being helpless and men having to save them, but choose a better game to do that with. wr did genders fine.

  76. someone apparently alone
    Posted November 9, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    apologies for second comment, but there is no edit section

  77. Liz
    Posted November 9, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    I think its nice what you did for your daughter but, was it really necessary? There are plenty of other strong female characters in other games that are just as heroic and strong (and plenty in the same LoZ game). I’m probably gonna be spammed for being an annoying hater but I unno, I just never paid any kind of attention to the gender of the hero.
    A hero is a hero. Gender has nothing to do with it.
    What you did for your daughter was great and commendable.
    I’m not saying that what you did was wrong or that you shouldn’t have done it, in fact I congratulate it, its just something I have to wrap my brain around.
    Wow. This is very interesting.

  78. Posted November 9, 2012 at 8:58 pm | Permalink


    maybe im holding us to an overly high standard though ;)

  79. Mondy
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 12:05 am | Permalink

    YOU’RE AMAZING!!!! Your dedication has not been overlooked by this reader.

  80. Posted November 10, 2012 at 1:33 am | Permalink

    I love you, sir.

  81. Carie
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Idiot, ruining a perfect game..Shes not even gonna remember this, ugh. shame.

  82. Juaz
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    What you did was really beautiful.
    I have a daughter too, It happen she’s named Zelda.
    I’m also a C++ developer, so I think this will be almost like a perfect fit.

    Thank you and don’t bother this lame comments over here, you should feel proud.

  83. wright1
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Amazing. You are an awesome father and parent. Very happy too that the majority of comments seem to agree. That speaks volumes about the need for such options in popular games. Heck, about half the dissenters appreciate your effort even if they don’t agree with it.

  84. Alejandro
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    If you will enjoy Zelda games and then also your daughter would play as an example would not give this game if you want to teach a heroine Lara Croft games like metroid or show you a female protagonist who is not afraid of anything and struggle against evil … not a game or sexist or anything but I’m perhaps you imagine yourself as a child and it was epic seeing as you told the story … but now teach your child that life can not get everything she wants … and is not the same to change history nor will it be just because you did …

    Si tu disfrutaras los juegos de Zelda y tu hija también entonces los jugarían como fueran no des como ejemplo a este juego si quieres a una heroína enséñale juegos como lara croft o los metroid que te muestran a una mujer protagonista que no le teme a nada y lucha contra el mal… no es un juego machista ni nada ni yo lo soy pero acaso tu te imaginas a ti mismo de niño y lo épico que fue ver como te contaron la historia… pero ahora enséñale a tu hija que en la vida no podrá conseguir todo lo que ella quiera… y no es lo mismo al cambiar la historia ni lo sera solo por que tu lo hiciste…

  85. Aaron
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    You could do “m’girl” if it is informal. My uncles are a bit rustic and are always calling us “m’boy” and “m’girl”. As in, “Now, m’girl, just hold on a minute”, in case it wasn’t clear.

  86. Rainierman
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    You know, I realize that what you have done is something really amazing. Not because of techskill at all, but because of how much love your reasons to do so carry. Way to go.

    And this is a good lesson for everyone. She doesn’t have to get used to anything, she doesn’t have to adapt. She shouldn’t settle for Metroid or Tomb Raider because that’s what she gets! If your daughter loves the adventures from Wind Waker, who is to say she shouldn’t get to live them herself? I tip my hat to you for helping her immerse into such adventure like that, and to really get the most of it. Because she just has to be herself, and do what she likes.

    It’s arguable that your daughter might not remember as some may say, but I know she will be a happy kid anyways thanks to this. I could tell you a similar story about my little sister when she hadn’t even learned to walk, but I’ll spare the details. Still, to my amazement about 9 years later she would tell me about “The happiest moment of her life”. She didn’t remember exactly how it was, or if it was a dream, but she clearly remembered the happiness. Her description about it made it clear it was my doing back then, however :). So I hope knowing this will help you not care about the naysayers. What you’re doing is certainly not wrong, nor in vain.


  87. Posted November 10, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Good work. I am almost inspired to hack Super Maria Galaxy for my daughter.

  88. Aceafer
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    It’s so sad how many people consider this to be “ruining” the game. Why would having a female protagonist ruin anything? I think this is awesome, and such a great thing to be doing. Good for you, and good for her.

  89. Lauren
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Mike — I’m just starting to play games, and really want to introduce my daughter to games, and a change like this would REALLY make a difference to both her and me.

  90. Anonymous
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    Basically this is int cool Making your Dother happy People all over the world would hack zelda if one person didint that would ruin The company For good Would Hack a game and ruin everything or continue to see your favorite series Of Zelda no i know you don’t want that your daughter would be more sad than happy to not see a zelda game ever again its better than losing it forever they may even discontinue Zelda from all stores in the world That even worse Not even a single zelda forever you’ll never see one that The worst thing ever

  91. Nobbynob Littlun
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    When my twin sister and I were playing, or watching the other play, Zelda as little kids, we both actually thought that Link was a girl. Because of his long hair. (This is the SNES Link)

    So to me, not only is this a pretty awesome thing for you to do, but it’s also kind of appropriate. :) haha

  92. Anonymous
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    [ Comment deleted. I’ll put up with a lot of your bullshit, internet, but wishing my family harm isn’t going to stand. – mhoye ]

  93. Karen
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    I think what some of the authors of various comments is forgetting is the fact that this is just a dad trying to make is daughter happy. Calling him names, saying he’s ruining a game, is all moot point because he didn’t do it to gain the approval of other people. There’s only one person he did this for, and she loves it, and that’s all that matters. It’s just like getting one of those personalized books where the child gets to hear their name being read (and what kid doesn’t love that?), and no one would ever spill such criticism (or foul language) to a parent buying such a book for their kid. If you don’t like it, no one is telling you to install any of it, just like no one is forcing you to buy personalized books.

    mhoye, glad to hear Maya loves it and kudos to you for putting the effort into making her extra happy.

  94. Venigwert
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    Please make a gameplayvideo an load it up on YouTube! =D

    Greets Venigwert

  95. Jamie Forbes
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    Initially I thought this was totally sweet! Then I started considering if this was somehow ‘defacing’ a narrative, which isn’t something I find cool. And then I thought “You idiotic sod, context is everything and if any Nintendo franchise is appropriate for young kids AND is the most ’empty vessel cipher’ then it’s the LoZ franchise!”

    Link is not as iconic or archetypically masculine a character as Mario, doesn’t have overtones of motherhood like Samus in Super Metroid, and isn’t part of a diverse main cast such as in a Final Fantasy game. Link IS you. Like other silent protagonists his gender is immaterial to the narrative, and it suffers not one jot for the change. They let you NAME him. That is enough proof that Link is supposed to be a role you fill yourself, rather than observe as a third party.

    Plenty of other games have main characters whose gender simply doesn’t matter because they are a player avatar first and foremost. If Gordon Freeman was Gemma Freeman? No difference. If Master Chief was Jane-117 instead of John-117 the only thing that might suffer is the romantic overtones of the relationship to Cortana in the third game, which isn’t exactly priority one and would be solved by changing Cortana to a male. Same dialogue, same dynamic.

    Some games would suffer if genders were changed. Anything where a character’s gender defines part of who they are as an absolute (for example Persona 4’s cast or The Boss from MGS3) or games whose mechanics or tone are gender specific. But this game, in these circumstances, excellent choice!

    Kudos to you man, on a technical and personal level.

  96. Jen
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    For pete’s sake, haters, it’s just a fun little treat for his daughter, not an elaborate psyche-destroying scheme of gender ruination. She’s not going to grow up broken because of this in any way, so get a grip.

  97. Quint
    Posted November 11, 2012 at 12:32 am | Permalink

    People who are mad at this are shitheads.

    Nice going, thanks for doing at least a little something against tired ass sexist shit. I know you didn’t do it for that, though, and so I’m glad the kid is happy about it, too. I know I’d be a lot more interested in a “Legend of Zelda” game where I got to actually be Zelda creating a legend, as opposed to some dude in a boyfriend shirt and leggings.

  98. V
    Posted November 11, 2012 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    I have so much respect for you. Great stuff!

  99. S
    Posted November 11, 2012 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    Good for you, dad! All of the negative comments, especially the ones saying it “ruins the game,” are just proof of why things like this are important.

  100. AtrueLinkToTheWorld
    Posted November 11, 2012 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Buying your daughter a game at such a young Age could cause serious Brain damage Although I don’t like the idea Of hacking Because If you daughter does think that she cant do anything don’t let her your teach her not the game Nintendo named him link Because he is a link to you even if your a girl or not it teaches you that your still a hero zelda is a girl and shes a hero in the game she helps in every single Legend of Zelda game Its just Important That you Imagine your self just like Girl Or Boy. Sincerly- One Link To Everyone

  101. Herp a Derp
    Posted November 11, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Dad, you’re cool.

    I played games at age three and younger. I just want to say the claims about brain ruination are ridiculous. It reminds me of the junk people used to say when I was a kid about TV rotting your brain.

    What games and TV *do* do, however, is convey culture and teach cultural norms. When all the games a young girl wants to play have a male lead, that teaches her things. Regardless of whether she wants to play games with female leads, the predominance of male leads and, indeed, male characters (as someone specifically mentioned FF6) she’s going to learn how society values female presence.

    Everyone who thinks this “ruins” or “censors” the game, I encourage to engage in deeper reflection of the social values you hold that make you believe that.

  102. Posted November 11, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Permalink


    Nice work, impressive that you bohered and not just got another game with a female hero in it (like say Metroids). I mean there are sooo many female heros in gaming (yes that was a snide snarky remark aimed at the industry, not you)

    Also you need to check this out Lindsey Stirling cosplaying as Link and playing awesome Zleda medley.

    I must confess that I am conflicted about this, on one hand I understand your intentions admirable as they are all while on the otherhand I do feel that history revisionism is a dangerous path to walk.

    It would be awesome to have you discuss this on a serious panel deate with say Jeri Ellsworth, Felicia Day and some other good names (not a gamer so I have no idea who else in the industry would be a good pick).

    This is a discussion that is needed and quite frankley loong over due.

    Anyway, good job and keep you head up high and ignore the trolls.



  103. Quillan Hong
    Posted November 11, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    Okay, that’s it, we need to get this man a trophy.

  104. Jehan
    Posted November 11, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    You are one awesome dad :DDDD
    Obviously your daughter may be too young for games like this. But Faith from mirror’s edge and Alyx Vance from the half life series are also great role models.

  105. Alex
    Posted November 11, 2012 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    This is super awesome! Don’t listen to the haters above and keep up the good work! Just because almost all of us were brought up with restrictive gender norms doesn’t mean that’s the way it should be – and you’re helping change that!

  106. Posted November 12, 2012 at 1:00 am | Permalink

    Dude, that is really great. I’ll be taking tips from this if I have a daughter and she chooses to play video games.

    Kodus to you.

    You just made my fav. franchise that much more awesome.

  107. Coren
    Posted November 12, 2012 at 3:41 am | Permalink

    The fact that some people are calling the game “ruined” because of this one change pretty much typifies a lot of reasons why making such a change was probably a necessary step.

  108. Father of two girls
    Posted November 12, 2012 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    This is true awesomeness! I stand in awe.

  109. YellowSign
    Posted November 12, 2012 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    How come noone ever complains about ‘ruining the narrative’ or ‘illegal hacking’ when someone publishes a nude-patch? And noone ever posts angry comments when gender-swapping happens for the sake of pornographic fanart? Weird!

    Anyway, glad to see that the majority of the comments is positive. :)

  110. Posted November 12, 2012 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    This is an amazing idea, well done on it’s implementation.

    Might I suggest ‘Swordlady’ as an option for swordsman. Alternatively gladiator might fit in as a bit more of a gender neutral option.

    Also ‘milass’ might make a nice substitute for milady with less formal characters (such as the pirates).

    However, once again, excellent stuff. Will be passing this on to a few people!

  111. Alexandra
    Posted November 12, 2012 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Oh My! When I was a little girl, I would imagine Link was female in my head. Much easier in 8-Bit, let me say! It also helped a bit that I also had a friend willing to go along with my delusions and play-act as Zelda. :)

    You, Sir, are awesome. I wish you were my dad. Can you be my dad? :D

  112. Posted November 12, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Hero, the Dad of the Year ^_^

  113. How about this?
    Posted November 12, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    my lad => “m’lass”

  114. Justin
    Posted November 12, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    I like “milady” as a substitute for “master” in terms tone, if it’s coming from a servant. Of course, if that is the case, there is no reason a female cannot be “master,” and the word need not be changed at all. Doing so actually puts a stronger emphasis on gender discrepancy.

    However, if “master” is being used simply as the formal address for a boy (just as “mister” would apply to a man or “miss” to a girl), then “milady” doesn’t work as well. “Madame” might work better there, even if it loses the overtones of youth somewhat. “Missus” (like “miss”) is short for “mistress,” and could also be a good substitute, depending on the speaker. (Admittedly it now has strong overtones of being a married woman.)

    I agree with the above posters that “m’lass” would be the best substitute for “my lad.” I’m not sure what you have against “my gal,” though. “Gal” isn’t any less formal than “lad,” so if the male Hero of Time can be one, I’m don’t see why the female can’t be the other.

    I agree with others that the strong females already present in Windwaker means it’s one of the games least in need of this switch, but I also see how Toon Link’s visual androgyny, the character-renaming ability, and the fact that he or she is a silent protagonist makes this ideal for this kind of hack. (In fact, I think this would work well even for “adult” Links in other Zelda games.)

    Can we think of any other games for which this sort of thing would work similarly well, but which are more in need of the change (because, for example, they lack awesome female pirate captains)?
    The ones that come most to my mind are Squaresoft RPGs (which often have androgynous male protagonists, frequently silent and nameable); however, they also already have plenty of strong female characters. (I think plenty of them would make bad role-models, but I feel the same way about many of the male characters.)

    I’m also wondering if it would be worth doing something similar in Okami to make Amaterasu into a male wolf-god (“father to us all” instead of “mother”). Or is being non-human enough of a stretch that the hero’s gender is irrelevant to even young players?

  115. ano
    Posted November 12, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    This is great! Don’t let the people claiming you’ve “ruined” Link get you down. Clearly gender does matter to them if they’re going to complain about it.

    Kudos for letting your daughter know!

  116. eme
    Posted November 12, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    this man deservers respect, good job.

  117. Moe
    Posted November 12, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    Don’t listen to the haters, this is really nice. You’re a cool dad.

  118. John
    Posted November 12, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    It seems you don’t have a problem with keeping above the bizarre Nintendo-puritanical protesters who seem to have appeared here, so I’ll save the reassurances and let you keep on with that. To them, I’ll hasten to remind that she is playing through the game as herself, not Link.

    In other news, my admiration knows no bounds.

  119. Father of another Maya
    Posted November 12, 2012 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    Best. Hack. Ever.

  120. dude
    Posted November 12, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    Alright so this is cute and everything, but come on man, will you also change all the dialog and imagery/etc of Ganon so that he becomes a she? After all, women can also be tyrannical maniacs bent on destruction! Do you take whiteout and a fine point pen and rewrite any male characters as females in books you read to her too? And what about when she’s old enough to read herself? Are you going to ‘hack’ a copy of Catcher in the Rye so that it’s about Holly Caulfield?

    Really, what it comes down to is: all the dialog refers to Link as a boy because LINK IS A BOY. And Zelda is a girl. Samus is also a girl, but Robin Hood? Boy. Follow me?

    Still, again, cute – and a nice hack, so no harm done :)

  121. Anonymous
    Posted November 12, 2012 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    That was an awesome, really cool idea! Link may be a boy, but Miyamoto made Link in ways so that the players can identify/relate to him more and see themselves in his shoes. In other words, the player, male or female, is the “real hero”.

  122. Bianca
    Posted November 13, 2012 at 3:49 am | Permalink

    You are the dad of the year! And that your daughter is named Maya like mine makes me even more excited. I would have LOVED to have the pronouns changed when i was 5 or 6 and beating Zelda.

  123. Posted November 13, 2012 at 4:23 am | Permalink

    This is brilliant.

  124. Brad
    Posted November 13, 2012 at 4:44 am | Permalink

    Nice work! +1

  125. Diago
    Posted November 13, 2012 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    At one point i think its a very cool idea, on the other hand, what is wrong with traditional sexuality’s and their respectable traits.
    Feminism brainwashed so many people into thinking females should be able to act like men, what they forget is that most core feminists are Lesbian…

    They are focused on survival, and making sure to fight off men, instead of feeling secure in their own female sexuality.

    On the other hand i do think that bringing up a child to ignore the needs and wants of girls/females and boys/men, is wrong, because whatever the TV or new age mombo jumbo tells you, Men aren’t the same as Women, and will never be, unless they turn gay.

  126. Kaitlin
    Posted November 13, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    This, this is good parenting for all sorts of reasons. I don’t much understand Zelda, but Maya is one lucky kid.

  127. ali
    Posted November 13, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Diago, I hope you’ll have a daughter one day if you don’t already have one. And hopefully she’d know better than not to sit around for a man to save her from a distressing situation, like her parent expects her to.

    I hope she’d know that, despise what her parent thinks, girls don’t need to live up to being incapable sofa cushions who’s existence is only justifiable by a male companion.

    This blog post is about a symbolic act. It doesn’t try to undermine the physical differences between the two sexes, nor does it try to make girls more masculine. You really need to understand feminism better before you form such a distorted opinion of it.

  128. Buck
    Posted November 13, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    “Feminism brainwashed so many people into thinking females should be able to act like men, what they forget is that most core feminists are Lesbian”


    Wait, shut up.

  129. mozz
    Posted November 13, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    This is absolutely awesome. This a really great choice of game to apply this to (silent protagonist, cartoony art style that doesn’t exactly emphasize the main character’s gender visually). More importantly: why shouldn’t your daughter get to have the same experience of _playing herself_ in a grand adventure, that everyone’s young son already got to have when they played this classic game? What you did is really great, and shows how much you love your daughter. Thank you!

  130. Posted November 13, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Wow. What an amazing parent you are!!!

    I only wish I could do this for my daughter who loves Wii games and is continually asking why there are no girl superheros and who only sees cat fights and gossip girls as models of behavior on even spy type shows like Scooby doo, etc.

    I wish everyone were educated in the disservice and destruction gamer creators, as well as movie and tv producers create on a girls self esteem – hidden or not – though it amazes me how people can not see it.

    I ask those who’ve posted here who say it doesn’t matter – ask your boy to play a female character. Do it for a week. Or see only shows where girls are fully developed in character and get to do the ‘cool’ stuff. See how long it takes them to complain and feel threatened in their identity. Now ask them to do this for their entire lives.
    Then tell me gender doesn’t matter.

    Thanks again for this amazing post of hope! I hope game creators would see this as a step they should be taking in all their games.

  131. Lara
    Posted November 13, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    Where were you when I was growing up? Awesome.

  132. Tek
    Posted November 14, 2012 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    It’s funny, all the anti posts saying “why don’t you just let your daughter play the ‘girl’ games?”
    HI-LARRY-US! because to be a boy in a video game is a sacred cow! because “TRADITION! TRADITION!” (use your Topol voice); because “she’s a girl and she don’t mind!”
    oh the irony.

  133. Zan
    Posted November 14, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    This is absolutely fantastic and I applaud you. Best Dad ever.

    And to all the haters and people flipping their shit… He did this for his daughter because it was relevant. Sure there are games with strong female leads, but few of them are as kid-friendly as the Zelda games. And even beside that, how does it affect YOU personally if some guy hacks one game so his daughter can better relate to it? Bottom line, it doesn’t. You’re just whining to whine. Get over it.

  134. Meziane Cherif
    Posted November 14, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    [ Another comment deleted. Internet, this is the sort of thing I was talking about. No. ] — mhoye

  135. 307020
    Posted November 14, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    To all the haters out there: no, the majority of the game industry is not filled with female protagonists. No, all little girls should not “suck it up and play Zelda”, or empathize solely with the strong females who have the chance to support a male protagonist. And yes, it fucking matters which gender they are.

    With the VAST majority of media available, little girls have two choices. Sympathize with the strong, active male characters, or put themselves in the role of “support”. Female side characters can be brave, clever, or heroic, but none of that changes that their actual purpose in a game, more often than not, is just to support or assist the male. And no matter how many people say gender doesn’t matter, everything in our society, from color schemes to children’s toys, says otherwise. In most situations a girl is forced to step outside her gender identity completely if she favors the more active option, whether in video game preferences or playground sports. The fact that there are just as many objectors here saying “women can’t do the same things” as there are saying “gender shouldn’t matter” makes it pretty damn clear that she won’t get through her life without someone trying to shove her in a gender role.

    mhoye is letting her identify with the character, and use it in her own mind as an example of what she, or any female, can do. Giving a beautiful fuck you to gender stereotypes, in a game where it makes perfect sense to do so. And letting his daughter have fun, and play games, in a way she’s comfortable with.

    You, sir? Are an amazing person.

  136. Evan
    Posted November 14, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    Awesome. Now waiting for Pajama Sami…

  137. Link
    Posted November 14, 2012 at 10:01 pm | Permalink


    You are teaching your daughter that the way to deal with patriarchy is treating boys as if they were girls. What a way to permanently damage your little girl.

    Father of the year material indeed.

    To all the libs out there using the hate speech wild card to demean those who don’t agree with this, stop the newspeak, haters.

  138. J
    Posted November 14, 2012 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    I think that what you did for your daughter is wonderful!
    I’ve always been frustrated by the severe lack of female player characters. It doesn’t help that most of the female protagonists out there are sexualized. That’s why I think what you’ve done is very important. I really hope that some developers get wind of this and stories like it and realize that females play games too. And while yes, there are many strong female supporting characters, some of us would like to play as females as well.
    Furthermore I find it amusing that people are suggesting games like Metroid, Tomb Raider, Perfect Dark, etc. How about name something age appropriate for a young girl? To make it more challenging; how about name something age appropriate for a young girl that doesn’t involve shopping, Disney Princesses, or the color pink.

  139. Anna
    Posted November 15, 2012 at 2:59 am | Permalink

    Awesome work! Your daughter’s really lucky :)

    Rodland was my favorite game as a child, and I’m pretty sure it was because it was the only game we had with female “leads” at the time. It did involve the color pink, but at least they were fighting bad guys and saving their mom.

  140. Suj
    Posted November 15, 2012 at 3:32 am | Permalink

    Hey just wanted to echo the other comments and say, from one father to another, amazing job! You and your daughter should both be proud.

  141. JC
    Posted November 15, 2012 at 4:16 am | Permalink

    It’s important to shed light on and discuss these gender issues in gaming, but it’s equally important to start instigating change yourself. This is absolutely wonderful. Thanks so much for doing this for your daughter, and thanks so much for sharing it with the rest of us!

  142. Laura
    Posted November 15, 2012 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Hi, I just read an article on what you did for your daughter and your thoughts on the portrayal of women in video games. I’m so impressed with your thoughtfulness. I’ve been concerned for many years about the way our media portrays women in general and it’s effects on womens psychies. Hopefully over time things will change. It’s particularly encouraging to see a father see the issue and move to do something to improve it. Thank you!

  143. Fred
    Posted November 15, 2012 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    It’s not about your talents with a computer. It’s about the TIME spent with your kid no matter the activity. The dividends are priceless.

  144. Chris
    Posted November 15, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Terrible idea. Link’s a man. Girls cant lift heavy vases, swing swords, or go on scary adventures like Link. Cooking Mama is a better game for your daughter.

  145. Tairy Greene
    Posted November 15, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    This is silly. In this particular game, the hero is male. In other stories, the hero is female. Either gender can be heroic. If illustrating to her that females specifically can be the hero is so important, why don’t you play games that actually include that as a feature, rather than shoehorn it into games that happen not to have it? Try Metroid.

    Also, Windwaker isn’t without some female strength. Tetra/Zelda is the strong-headed leader of a band of pirates, and plays an important role in the final boss fight.

    There’s no reason to try to make Link out to be a girl, you’re probably just being unnecessarily confusing.

  146. Sam
    Posted November 15, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Hey perhaps you should be teaching your daughter how to read instead of playing videogames?

  147. Matt
    Posted November 15, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Now Link it’s a Lesbian, good job

  148. Anon
    Posted November 15, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Your face when your female link gets the ladies.

  149. Some guy
    Posted November 15, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Thank goodness you censored a game with strong-willed female heroines (Zelda and Tetra) so that you could… add another strong-willed heroine?

    Do you truly believe you’re little girl will be happy with your decision when 5 years down the road she learns that you lied about the story to protect her?

    Also before anyone tries to tell me that Zelda/Tetra is your typical damsel in distress in this game, just shut up. Shut up. You have not played this game. That was another Zelda game you played.

  150. uhh
    Posted November 15, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    Who cares? Do you really need to set the gender for a character in order to relate to him? Are you really that dense?

    Of course women can be heroes just as much as any man. PEOPLE are heroes.

    But do you really feel the need to change the artistic views of an entire team of game developers just to suit your whims? I mean, really? Man, I feel bad for you. Lucky for me, I can enjoy any piece of media entertainment, I do not judge a tale by the gender of its protagonist, and neither should you. Dumbass.

  151. Moose
    Posted November 15, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    What the fuck is wrong with you?
    Who cares what fucking gender you play as? Instead of teaching your kid that girls are better than boys, maybe you should teach her that we’re all equal, even though that’s a blatant fucking lie as women are proven to act on emotions rather than logic, thus making them inferior in critical situations.

  152. sup
    Posted November 15, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    that was fucking awsome dude i so want to know how to fuckin do that
    and u r the mother fucking best dad ever

  153. sup
    Posted November 15, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    also moose sucks balls and screws tellephone polls

  154. jerry coeurl
    Posted November 15, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    Look at all these fucking crybabies! It’s not like Link’s gender is an important part of his character; hell, he doesn’t really even have any “character,” he’s a silent protagonist for crying out loud! I’d love to hear a logical explanation for how this “ruins” the game, as so many people claim.

    You done good, mhoye.

  155. LOL @ Moose
    Posted November 15, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    How does changing Link to a girl teach that girls are better than boys?

  156. Francisco
    Posted November 15, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Awesome work!

    thanks for sharing.

  157. Laurie
    Posted November 15, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    I can see future arguments your daughter has with peers. “No, Link is a GIRL, and Santa is REAL (and a GIRL TOO).” lol cracks me up to think of it. Love what you are doing!

  158. Graver
    Posted November 15, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    This is an awesome hack for a good purpose. You’re not ruining anything. Good work.

  159. DCX2
    Posted November 15, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Fascinating. Although I personally shy away from Dolphin because it is too closely related to piracy…I would be interested in porting this patch to Gecko OS Mod so that you can run it on a normal Wii.

  160. Chris
    Posted November 16, 2012 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Glad too see I am not the only one out there. I have done similiar hacks to desktop games in the past for a couple of girls I used to babysit. I changed the character’s gender from male to female and changed names in game to reflectt thier names and people they know.

  161. Kevin
    Posted November 16, 2012 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    I read your story, You are a good dad and man, and yes girls and women do get a raw deal in most games.

    If you and your little girl like sailing and learning, I suggest Uncharted Waters Online as a family game which everyone can learn geography and history. It basically takes place around the Age of Discovery period in history

  162. Joel
    Posted November 16, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Permalink


    All these people getting riled up, this is about PLAYING PRETEND. And it IS about reading. And Wind Waker is awesomely appropriate to play thru with a 3 year old. Metroid, Tomb Raider, Perfect Dark: are not.

    His daughter isn’t going to be confused when she gets older, because she was PLAYING PRETEND.

    Go make something. Sheesh.

  163. Bryndis Tobin
    Posted November 16, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

    Three cheers! When your daughter is my age, she will probably still be bragging about this…especially since you are probably cool enough to show her how to do it herself later, so she’ll probably have friends who will understand just how very cool it is!

  164. sigi
    Posted November 17, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Can you elaborate on how you made the test substitutions? I’m interested in making a few changes myself but a simple text search does not yield any results. Are the strings encoded or did you do something else.

    I really hope to recieve a reply from you.

    Also, great job pulling this off!

  165. Shems
    Posted November 17, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    I think this is a very thoughtful and wonderful thing you’ve done for your daughter. Yeah, there are games out there with male protagonists that a little girl can play just fine, I mean I grew up on Crash Bandicoot. But my most complete levels were always the ones where you played as Coco, because I got to play as a girl, I got to play a character I could really identify with. Thank you for giving that opportunity to your daughter, and for not just deciding she’ll “accept it” when it comes to playing male lead roles. Also I don’t think there’s going to be some grand “breach of trust” when she eventually discovers that Link is traditionally male–she’s more likely to just be pleased and greatful at this display of how much you cared about her being able to develop a strong, confident identity and not be forced to grow up seeing females relegated to the role of the damsel or the support. I think she’s very lucky to have you as her father.

  166. Posted November 19, 2012 at 1:34 am | Permalink

    Now replace links models with Tetra’s, rewrite part of the story, ect, ect and I will re-play the game just for this.

  167. Posted November 19, 2012 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

    I believe that the fictional characters we identify with help us form our personal belief systems and that every child should have the opportunity to see herself/himself as a heroine/hero.

    Young girls should see themselves represented as more than just the damsel in distress, so I think you’ve done more than you know for your daughter.

  168. Delphine
    Posted November 20, 2012 at 3:12 am | Permalink

    Can “My brave” work for “My lad”?

  169. Daniel
    Posted November 20, 2012 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    For all of you who’d like to try this out but are slightly (and rightly) scared of all this hash business, I wrote a script to reduce the patching process to a drag’n’drop:


    (Mike Hoye, I hope you don’t mind – if you do, let me know!)

    Cheers! \o/

  170. Li
    Posted November 20, 2012 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    SO PROUD OF YOU, amazing work!

    To the sadly-numerous folks who think this is somehow “ruining” the game… what in the world is wrong with you? As has been pointed out by several people, Link is supposed to be an empty avatar for the player to fill; it was Miyamoto’s oversight not to make gender-selection an option from the get-go.

    Because little girls don’t just want to play games WITH strong, capable female characters — they want to play AS strong female characters. Zelda, Tetra, etc. are all pretty cool; but they’re not playable.

    And no, Metroid is not enough. (“Other M” is disgustingly not enough.) Tomb Raider is not enough. Even if there were a hundred games out there with strong, capable female protagonists, it would be a drop in the bucket compared to the number of games out there with strong, capable male protagonists. Less than 1%. And you know what? I would be willing to bet there aren’t actually a hundred games out there with strong, capable female protagonists.

    (“Strong, capable” is a necessary part of the equation, so games like Clocktower and Fatal Frame — where the main character is female explicitly to increase the player’s sense of helplessness and fear — do not count. And games like Dragon Age: Origin, where you get to pick your character’s gender, also don’t count — not because they aren’t awesome, but because they literally cancel themselves out; for the one female protagonist they add to the bucket, they also add a male protagonist.)

    The gender inequality here is HUGE. Just the fact that people who are commenting have to resort to figures like Princess Peach should be proof enough to all of you that, yes, there is a problem. (No, I don’t object because she’s a princess; I object because she’s only a playable character in TWO games that aren’t a friggin Super Smash Bros game. Two games out of the countless Mario titles, and I have to include the infamous black sheep of “Super Mario Bros 2” in order to get to two!) (Lara Croft. Really? Look, on the surface, sure. She has the potential to be a positive role model for a young girl. But she was not designed for young girls, or for girls at all; she was designed to appeal to teenaged boys, and there’s already enough creepy sexualization of women out there without deliberately exposing a three-year-old to more of it and explicitly inviting her to see herself that way.)

    (And no, Final Fantasy games with strong female CHARACTERS do not, of course, count. Because, again, we are looking for protagonists. Playable characters. MAIN characters. Lightning is the only actual contender of the group, and it wasn’t a big group to start with.)

    So, no. There aren’t “already” “plenty” of games to choose from. Those of you who think you could spend “all day” listing games that meet the criteria, go ahead; even if you literally could — which you can’t! — it wouldn’t be enough. Not when I could spend years listing strong, capable male main protagonist playable characters.

    And of COURSE a girl as young as three or four is old enough for her parents to worry about gender inequalities. The moment that little girl is aware of her gender is the moment to start worrying. (And we push that moment earlier and earlier, with all of our color-coded clothing and language.)

  171. amy
    Posted November 20, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Permalink


  172. Danni
    Posted November 20, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    I envy your daughter, would have loved this, agree with Iggy, If I can opt for camera angle etc and name, why not gender? LOVE IT!

  173. Lori
    Posted November 20, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    I’m a former military surgeon, and a woman. I’ve spent the better part of my life surrounded by men. You rock! Yes, girls can “get used” to seeing game heroes, etc, as guys, but that isn’t the same as seeing a female playing the lead. While not a big gamer myself, my daughters are, and I totally get where you’re coming from. It’s about the subtle gender assumptions that come from practically everything in the entertainment/gaming industry (or most industries for that matter) being male driven.

    Best dad ever. (well, besides my dad.)

  174. tangomum
    Posted November 21, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    You are wonderful. Thank you for sharing the story with us.

  175. Fishaman P
    Posted November 21, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    Suggestion: lose the hex editor.
    If not, at the very least extract the files with the text, and figure out the format it’s stored in.

  176. Danisk
    Posted November 23, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    To all the brainwashed feminist around us calling people haters only because we do not agree with this I’d like to say a few things.

    First a story is a story, you don’t like it, don’t take it then, there’s no point in changing a story that is not yours

    Second, it’s not because we do not agree that we forcefully are sexist, heard of freedom of speech or freedom of idea ?? That is why i hate idealist, causes supporter you are usually more intolerant than the people you accuse of being wrong.

    Okay all this is nice, indeed, to his little girl, very sweet, but i don’t think modifying a story will do anything to her, instead, talking with her, teaching her that women can be heroic too would be better, plus there’s plenty of other game with heroin, if you begin to replace every guy in the games by girl, what will she think, man are pussies that need women protection ? And what’s that gonna solve ?? Nothing.

  177. Danisk
    Posted November 23, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    Plus, if the game makers give us more game with male leader it’s also because gamer are mostly male. I’m saying this for those who find it strange that there isn’t more women lead char. Nothing strange with companies trying to stick with the image their customer would rather see ingame, and if boys are 90% of the customers then there’s no point in spending more money to satisfy a small part of the customers

    And anyway nowadays there’s lot of game that give the choice of gender etc.. So pick those one if you really care about it

  178. Ben
    Posted November 23, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Permalink


    You make it sound like all that he did was update the code with a hex editor — you don’t think that he’s also playing it with her? Really, she may be an exceptional three-year-old, but honestly, “they” are the player in this case, if my experiences with my kids are any indication of how this goes. I expect that during this time that they play together he’s talking with her, explaining that women can be heroic too. So, it his effort does help, and no, I have a feeling that this type of parenting doesn’t result in his daughter growing up thinking that she’ll have to save every man who she meet.

    But do you know what make it easier? Having a female lead character to reinforce that idea.

    Amazing, isn’t it?

    Ultimately, if you are disappointed that someone messed with your childhood memory, forget you saw this and move on. For those of you who want to play it, have at it. For the rest of us, I say, kudos for doing something different, and worthy of this level of conversation. People like you are the ones who move us towards the future — not because you can hack a game’s code to change the pronouns, but because tinkerers are the ones who ultimately make the “old”, “new” again.


  179. mhoye
    Posted November 23, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    Just to be clear, “there’s plenty of other game with heroin” is currently the winning phrase in this comment thread.

  180. Danisk
    Posted November 24, 2012 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    Yeah well if that’s all you have to answer I’ll just say sorry for the wrong translation mister daddy of the year, yet i still think the idea behind this is wrong, will you go repaint every painting that aren’t appropriate for her maybe ?? Are you gonna modify any content that you judge inappropriate for her, coz let’s be clear, she’s 3yo that’s the kind of concern a 3yo kid is able to have, i was already playing plenty of game at her age, and the gender of the character was from far the least of my worries.

    All i say is that when you see a movie you watch it for whatever it as to offer, same with book, and any form of art. Same goes with games. What you did, is nothing comparable to usual mods where they add or change the whole content, you just changed the story, which is i think wrong and doesn’t respect the whole piece of work the game is. Plus, like i said, i hardly think she ask precisely asked you to edit the game etc.. Which let me think that you found it inappropriate and took it on yourself to edit so she could play something you see fit on the feminist theme of the question. I’m not trying to question your parenting of course but i just think than instead of showing content you see as being appropriate and thus pushing her to think the way you’d want, maybe you should let her build her own opinion on the question. Again it’s just my 2cts opinion course.

  181. Danisk
    Posted November 24, 2012 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    Oops “that’s not the kind of concerns a 3yo kid…” is what i meant.

  182. Vaati
    Posted November 24, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    I think what you did for your daughter was a sweet and thoughtful thing Mike and I respect you for doing that, I really really do, but when she gets older, you might have to tell her the truth about Link eventually when she gets older and has matured to an age of understanding. It’s a good thing that you’re teaching your daughter that girls and boys can do the same things equally as good because your daughter deserves to know that gender doesn’t matter and that she can do anything if she puts her mind and heart to it.

  183. Allison
    Posted November 24, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    I can’t believe some of the thick skulled neanderthals in this thread. Pitiful. Brainwashed feminists? I’d laugh if it weren’t so sad.

    I love that you updated the game for your daughter – maybe one day, more games will have the option to choose the gender of the hero.

    Until then, we’ll have to deal with these outdated pearl clutchers. “Oh noes, feminism!”


  184. Posted November 24, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    On behalf of my daughter and girls everwhere, thanks for this.

  185. Posted November 25, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Hi, Neat post. There’s an issue along with your website in internet explorer, may check this? IE still is the marketplace leader and a good section of other people will pass over your great writing due to this problem.

  186. Ben in Seattle
    Posted November 26, 2012 at 1:14 am | Permalink

    That’s fabulous! I had actually originally thought that the hero of the Zelda games was female and was very disappointed when I found the hero was “Link” and Zelda was the helpless princess/prize.

    There are too few games (board and arcade) that have a gender balanced perspective or even representation. Is it that there are so few women who design games? Something needs to be done so we’re not forced to use a hexeditor to fix every video game out there.

  187. Posted November 27, 2012 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    I am a father of a young daughter, and it has always bothered me that most female video game characters are helpless, or worse, just eye candy. I salute you for your dedication and willingness to personally address this issue. Your daughter is one fortunate little girl.

  188. Posted November 28, 2012 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Well done.

  189. Posted November 28, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    I am 31 and have played video games for most of my life, now I am an indie game designer/artist. I still cringe when forced to play male, or inappropriately dressed, characters in games.

    I have a seven year old daughter now, and the game I chose to start her with was Minecraft, partly because I love the game… but also because I was worried about the issue.

    Your solution is a far better one I think, and one will consider for any game that I can mod. Thank you for giving your daughter this gift :)

  190. Ping
    Posted November 28, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    Neato! You might enjoy regender.com — try it out.

  191. Sven
    Posted November 30, 2012 at 3:11 am | Permalink

    You’re so cool :)

  192. Posted November 30, 2012 at 3:37 am | Permalink

    This points out an in important point – accessability in games. I have been a Game Designer for some time and I often heared from female players why they didn’t like this title or that title – and the reasons were always “Lack of female characters and female interactions”
    Now I teach game design at the MHMK, Munich, and some of my students focus on gender interaction as well, because what you point out here is an essential lesson for game designers: Create game with character options. Women play! But most women don’t like to play the heavy muscled male, sometimes not even the androgyn male like Link etc.

    I have to point out for legal reasons: in several countries (Germany among them) what you had done would result in being sued as a violation of copyright issues, because you altered someone elses property, but still your point is taken: Game designers must learn to add options. After all this is what interactivity means, right?
    I for once will consider this in my lessons more thoroughly.

    Thank you very much for pointing out what needs to be considered,


  193. Matze (Germany)
    Posted November 30, 2012 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    That’s very cool! I wish it would be legal to read out the cardridge in Germany. Unfortunatly it’s forbidden… but forbidden doesen’t mean it’s not possible :-)
    I will look what I can do ;-)
    But respect, very very AWESOME!!

  194. Philip
    Posted November 30, 2012 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    The German News Site http://www.spiegel.de brought me to your page! Congratulations for the nice idea and best of fun for playing zelda with your daughter!

  195. WuChuyun
    Posted December 2, 2012 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    When I was a girl, my dad used to read to me “Where the Wild Things Are” by Sendak – and he secretly switched the main character from boy to girl. I completely identified with her and discovered only in my late teens that it was in fact a boy! The discovery wasn’t a catastrophe and for me, personally, the main char is and will ever be a girl. Thank you for your adaptation of this to the 21st century, I’m happy that there exist other parents who think and act likewise. Such behaviour can move mountains.

  196. Nic
    Posted January 12, 2013 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    Awesome!!! ♥ One of my clearest memories of childhood is my dad hacking the Elite code in order to make sure I had an autopilot right from the start of the game – I kept getting lost in the three dimensions of space and just could not (EVER!) get my ship safely into the space station. And when I was a toddler, he and my mum also wrote an alphabet learning program for me that I still adore, vector graphics and all.

    So, y’know, speaking from experience I’m pretty sure that your daughter will remember this for years to come and appreciate all the effort you’ve gone to for her. :D

  197. None-ya-business
    Posted January 29, 2013 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    How far do we go with this? What if the main character was a horse? Would you have made it a female character then? Your daughter isn’t a horse, so I assume you would. You wouldn’t want your daughter to grow up thinking she’s a horse, because we all know that kids get their values from video games and not from their parents (sarcasm). What if all the characters were horses, would you change some of them to be cows so that the world doesn’t go around thinking that only horses are special? What about chickens and frogs and lizards, what do you do about them? This is silly. Not the fact that you care for your daughter and want her to be raised right, but if you feel an overwhelming need to rip out characters from a video game to make yourself feel good, you might want to consider doing some actual parenting and stop with the games altogether. Video games are fun. Kids play games and don’t worry about these types of things, only adults with issues worry about these types of things.

  198. mhoye
    Posted January 29, 2013 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    How far do we go with this? What if the main character was a horse?

    If you can’t figure out where to draw sane lines in your life between people and horses, son, you’ve got bigger problems than I can help you with.

  199. None-ya-business
    Posted January 31, 2013 at 1:47 am | Permalink

    Changing game characters as you seem to like to do seems very illogical. Personally I see no need to ever do that. Are you going to go around adding high heels and lipstick to all of your daughters game characters to make yourself feel better? The game was made to be one way, don’t over think things. The games intention wasn’t to offend nut-jobs. It’s just a game.

  200. mhoye
    Posted January 31, 2013 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    Are you going to go around adding high heels and lipstick to all of your daughters game characters to make yourself feel better?

    You know that you’re part of the problem here, right? And the fact that you don’t even seem to realize that a problem might exist is also part of the problem?

  201. Alfonso Rodríguez
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    You sir, are the Father of the entire life of the Videogames… That’s something nice tto do to a girl… and if someone tell you bad things for it, they are stupid…

  202. Posted March 14, 2013 at 4:59 am | Permalink

    “You know that you’re part of the problem here, right? And the fact that you don’t even seem to realize that a problem might exist is also part of the problem?”

    That, right there, is the best answer to all of the negative comments that you could possibly give. And the fact that there are negative comments among the praise is actually good, because it means you’ve done something important that might actually make a difference.

    As a father of two young girls (and an older boy), I can’t tell you how impressed I am with what you’ve done. When I’m reading to the girls, I sometimes swap the genders of characters in the stories, but now the eldest girl can read fluently herself things like this can go a long way. Apart from anything else, it will show her how stories (and stereotypes in general) are just things that were made up by people, and that just because one person thinks that a hero should be male doesn’t mean that other people can’t come along and challenge those assumptions.