(You guys, not even joking, this is the BEST INTERVIEW EVER <3)
When Mike Hoye set out to make the game Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker more gender-friendly for his 3-year-old daughter (she pronounces it gender “fwee”), he was doing it primarily out of parental love. But when the former system administrator released a crack for the game that reverses the genders of the characters—making Link the heroine and Zelda the guy she rescues—he struck a chord with gamers across the Internet.
Since Hoye wasn’t about to teach his daughter that she couldn’t be the hero in her own story unless she related to a man, he devised a special crack to reverse all the gender pronouns and other references to Link’s gender in the story. Once the crack was done—he told the Dot it took only “a few days of work, spread out over a couple of weeks”—he shared the results.
“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,” he blogged on Wednesday. Hoye also made sure that the references matched up tonally, too: When one commenter suggested Hoye replace “lad” with “gal,” he responded succinctly, “‘Gal’ is not something you call the resurrected Hero Of Time.”
Daily Dot: Based on the response from readers, would you consider turning this into a project for more than just games for your daughter? Obviously you’ve highlighted a huge and basic gender inequality issue at work.
I’d certainly consider it. The approach I’ve taken isn’t particularly user-friendly, though, and I don’t know how it could be made much more user-friendly without getting hung up on some of the sharp, rusty edges of modern copyright laws. If this turns into a thing that other people start doing, though, and if the “small patch to the dialog” route I’m taking seems to work for whatever community emerges, then I’d love to contribute to and support that effort.
DD: There’s so much tension right now in the gaming community over issues of sexism that it seems like such a project could be a really touchy subject.
It’s only a touchy subject with people who think the status quo is OK. And since those people are clearly, obviously wrong, I’m not all that worried about whether or not they’re comfortable with it.