Why A Little Girl's Dad Hacked Donkey Kong

What's a hacker dad to do when his little girl wants to be the one saving Mario in Donkey Kong?

This is a nice story, isn't it? When your little girl wants to be the one saving Mario, what's a hacker dad to do?

Oblivious to the kind of attention it started to get, I turned my attention to the reason behind all of this in the first place: My daughter. Just like clockwork, she woke up and sat on my lap asking to play Donkey Kong. Only this time, she could play as Pauline. She was excited! But for all she knew, I just figured out how to get Pauline to work. And that was fine. I wasn’t expecting it to change her life. We played for a bit. And some more. And again later. You know what? She really did seem to enjoy the game more. For whatever reason, she was more motivated to play as Pauline than as Mario. I can’t read into that too much, because it does feel a bit like a new game to her still. So we’ll see how she does after a week with it.

Meanwhile, a couple of my friends decided to tweet about it and post some of the work-in-progress to Reddit. By the time I started to catch up with all my social feeds, something insane had happened. This little mod exploded. I didn’t follow the whole Tropes vs. Women thing, but I saw a lot of references to it. In my wildest dreams, I just expected a bunch of fellow coders to chat about the merits of the mod. I never expected it to ignite a gender-role debate.

The comments under the YouTube video can, at times, be just as horrific as they are encouraging. While some of the things people have said about my daughter are almost comically inappropriate, they are still downright disturbing. One person wished her “dead” because “it would do the world a favor and be one less feminist in our future.”

Yes, a nice story -- until some insecure and socially inept woman-hater had to fly his freak flag. WTF is the matter with some men? Seriously -- you wish a little girl dead because she wanted to be the hero in a video game? It's about time men started talking straight up to other men about stopping that kind of misogynist bullshit, because when women do it, we're apparently trying to neuter them and maybe even take their guns away.

About Susie Madrak

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