In This Donkey Kong, Pauline Saves Mario

By Alexis C. Madrigal

Just casually coding some feminism into Nintendo's heroic myths.

Reflecting the mores and market dynamics of the videogame industry, Mario has always been the hero, the guy saving damsels in distress. But Mike Mika, a father with a young daughter, decided that it would be fun to mod Donkey Kong so that the damsel was the hero and Mario was the one captured by Kong.

It's obviously not the only game with a female lead -- Tomb Raider springs to mind -- but this is rewriting one of the foundational Nintendo games and myths. Megan Farokhmanesh at Polygon found the video this weekend. Here's Mike on why he did it:

My three year old daughter and I play a lot of old games together. Her favorite is Donkey Kong. Two days ago, she asked me if she could play as the girl and save Mario. She's played as Princess Toadstool in Super Mario Bros. 2 and naturally just assumed she could do the same in Donkey Kong. I told her we couldn't in that particular Mario game, she seemed really bummed out by that. So what else am I supposed to do? Now I'm up at midnight hacking the ROM, replacing Mario with Pauline.

Hacker dads. They can be awesome.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/03/in-this-donkey-kong-pauline-saves-mario/273884/