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.

2 Comments

  1. 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…

  2. 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.