Mike Hoye is the type of father that every little girl dreams of. While playing a little Legend of Zelda with his daughter, he got frustrated at trying to constantly change the pronouns and adjust the story so that his little girl would believe Link, the hero of the story, was also female. So what did this dedicated dad do? He just went ahead and hacked the game, changing the story to better reflect what he wanted his daughter to see. As Hoye explains on his blog,
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.
My husband now has a new project. I’d like him to figure out how to hack our Zelda games for our Wii. When I let him know this, he told me, “Link already kind of looks like a girl. Isn’t that enough?” To be fair, my husband has never hacked anything. He would have no idea where to start. I might be asking for a bit much.
Whether we’re going to see a female Link in our household or not though, I have to applaud a father who recognized that little girls need heroes they can relate to. I love the way that accepting the status quo just wasn’t an option for this dad. Mike Hoye sounds like a pretty awesome father from where I’m standing.
But even if you aren’t able to hack in to games and change the gender of some of America’s favorite characters, I think there’s still a lot dads can do to raise feminist daughters in the gamer world. Simply by playing with your little girl, a dad can open up a culture that has seemed very insular for a long time. By supporting new games that feature strong female role models, dads can let companies know what they want in the form of products. After all this attention, maybe we’ll finally be able to play Legend of Zelda from Zelda’s point of view. Or maybe we’ll be able to choose what sex Link is on the next game.
The bottom line is that this is a great story of a dad who wanted to teach his daughter that girls can kick just as much butt as boys. Girls can be the rescuers, not just the damsels in distress. It’s a story that hopefully inspires other parents to think about how they can break down gender stereotypes in their own homes.