Mock The Movie: Dark Angel transcript »« My life in upheaval, but in a good way

Father hacks Donkey Kong rom so daughter can be Pauline

Remember that Wind Waker hack I told you about recently, where a young girl’s father — who’d been changing Link’s gender on the fly for his daughter while reading it to her — decided to make things simpler for himself by hacking the rom script?

Another father was asked by his daughter if she could play one of her favorite games, the original Donkey Kong, as Pauline instead of Mario. So, he hacked the rom (very probably from the WiiWare version, judging by the 2010 copyright), editing all the frames of animation for both Mario and Pauline to switch their roles.

Doesn’t change the functionality of the game at all, just the aesthetics. In such simple games, only in a society that prescribes strongly-defined gender roles would the default hero be a man and the default “damsel” be a woman. And yet, in an alternate universe where this was released instead of the one with Mario (or Jumpman) as the hero, I wager it would not have sold as well because video games, even back then, were already being pigeonholed as a “guy thing”.

Who knows, though. Maybe, MAYBE, inverting the Damsel In Distress trope, making the girl the one with agency and the guy the one forced to helplessly stand at the top of the building with Donkey Kong, might have been a blow struck for equality and perhaps the video game industry would have turned out much different. Perhaps.

Thanks to the dozen or so folks who kept pointing this out!

Comments

  1. says

    I remember reading an SF novelette in which a new kind of moviemaking technology allowed viewers to see the movie from diferent characters’ points of view, depending on which pair of special glasses they wore while watching. The first such movie premiered, and all the male viewers were given blue-framed glasses, and the women pink-framed glasses, so men would see what the male lead character experienced, and women would see what the female lead character experienced. Before the lights went down, ushers went about to make sure everyone had the right pair of viewing-glasses. Then a husband and wife caused a huge scandal when the movie began, when they were seen swapping glasses.

  2. Schala says

    And yet, in an alternate universe where this was released instead of the one with Mario (or Jumpman) as the hero, I wager it would not have sold as well because video games, even back then, were already being pigeonholed as a “guy thing”.

    It would have sold less well if they made the cartridge/box in hot pink with flowers/glitter/butterflies and other things that could get a guy beaten up for just being near it.

  3. Schala says

    Wikipedia:

    Within nine months of its Japanese release, Final Fantasy X-2 sold more than a million copies in North America (within two months of its release there), and nearly four million copies worldwide.[46] It went on to sell 2.11 million units in Japan,[47] 1.85 million units in the United States,[48] and more than 100,000 units in the United Kingdom.[49]

    It was voted as the 32nd best game of all time by readers of the Japanese video game magazine Famitsu,[50] which also gave it a 34 out of 40.[38] The English release of Final Fantasy X-2 won the Seventh Annual Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences award in 2004 for “Outstanding Achievement in Character Performance” in recognition of the character Rikku.[51]

    and

    It was the first game in the series to feature only three playable characters, an all-female main cast, and early access to most of the game’s locations. Additionally, it featured a variation of the character classes system—one of the series’ classic gameplay concepts—and is one of the few games in the series to feature multiple endings.

    and it even features “dress-up” class changing, where more or less “clothing make the class” (most classes do have traditional costumes tied to them, just see Final Fantasy 11, the MMO, and you can see them too at higher levels)

    I would argue that dress-up shouldn’t be gendered as something “only women do” or that is feminine. Pretend play is something all kids engage in, wether with toys, clothing, pure imagination or what have you. It’s just more acceptable socially for little girls to dress up.

    If the mostly-boys gaming crowd didn’t like the all-female cast and the concept of dressing up to change class, that sure didn’t show up in sales.

  4. Schala says

    So, rigid gender roles are the problem. Yes, you do sound quite feminist at times, Schala.

    It also works for someone who disavows any specific label because they consider them all tainted by dogma.

    I consider religion the same, by the way. Have some spirituality, but the moment some power decides what is and isn’t canon, it has high chance to become corrupt (because it’s “free influence”), and the more power, the higher chance it is corrupt.

    Which is why most governments are corrupt to a degree or another. Poor police (in poorer countries) are more corrupt due to poverty and rich police (in first world countries) are more corrupt due to greed and thirst for power.

    I bet if MRAs reached a certain degree of power and influence, they would also become corrupt to an extent. No organization is immune to it.

    Independent advocacy is my solution. I advocate things on their own merit, by my own name, and don’t have to consider scripture, dogma or ideology before taking action, only consequences and effectiveness.

  5. doublereed says

    Schala… you aren’t comparing X-2 to anything. I have no idea how you can claim that “it didn’t show up in sales” when you gave absolute numbers with zero comparisons. I mean Final Fantasy X sold 1.4 Million worldwide in just pre-orders, eventually to 6.6 Million.

    I’m not saying you’re wrong. But the data you showed just doesn’t say that.

  6. doublereed says

    Actually, it’s worse than that, because Final Fantasy X-2 is a sequel, so it’s obviously riding on the coattails of its predecessor.

    But seriously, that game was not exactly lauded as a good game anyway. Hell, I would argue that the game was mostly fanservice, and that’s why it sold well.

  7. Schala says

    Schala… you aren’t comparing X-2 to anything. I have no idea how you can claim that “it didn’t show up in sales” when you gave absolute numbers with zero comparisons. I mean Final Fantasy X sold 1.4 Million worldwide in just pre-orders, eventually to 6.6 Million.

    If it was that bad, it would have made a flop, despite the Final Fantasy brand, despite being a sequel. Only Nintendo can manage to sell shit and pass it for gold (Pokémon clones until forever, Cats, Dog, Monkeys all clones of each other – quite literally, and 20 years old Mario bros remakes, sold to you for 50$) and that’s because Nintendo’s current consumers are mostly parents who have *no idea* what videogames are (as in, they didn’t play so they’re not informed consumers, like a car buyer would be), buying for kids too young to have an idea either.

    Final Fantasy consumers are rarely the clueless people who want a game, any game, for their kids. They’re either long-time fans of Final Fantasy, or JRPG fans non-specifically. The “core gamers” Nintendo claims to want to attract.

    It sold a bit less, and that means Donkey Kong could have reversed the roles of the characters, kept the rest exactly the same (no “hey girls, come here! boys go away!” packaging), and it would only have had minor decrease in sales.

    But seriously, that game was not exactly lauded as a good game anyway. Hell, I would argue that the game was mostly fanservice, and that’s why it sold well.

    I can probably google 50 animes who have thousands times more fanservice than Square-Enix games.

    Kiddy Grade is a major offender in the panty shot area (but I like the story itself, so I’m keeping it).

    Also female-as-sexy is a common fantasy for women. Just look at Barbie dolls and how they can be sexy. If it wasn’t a fantasy, it wouldn’t sell. It doesn’t do that much for me, but I’m not that much into looks, sexually or otherwise. I can appreciate aesthetics, but sexualization cheapens aesthetics to me.

  8. Schala says

    To give you an idea of what happens when Square-Enix scraps it:

    FF11, despite having lots of issues (like joining an already 18 months old community when the NA release came and problems with the PS2 HDD, as well as difficulty being way too hard for most initially) has become “their most profitable Final Fantasy game title”. It got 8/10 ratings.

    While FF14, which seems like a different take on the same game with better graphics, initially went crash. It got 4/10 ratings.

    Square-Enix outright apologized to their customers and proposed a revamp, that eventually morphed into an outright remaking of the whole coding and changing key aspects of the game (they really worry about their image, because that scrapping must have been very costly). The game (remake) is in closed beta right now and reviewers are more hopeful about it, from what they’ve seen.

    Yet you see, it flopped, badly, and it’s a numbered Final Fantasy, and their second MMO, came out 8 years (in Japan, 6 years in NA) after the first MMO and it was still “voted out” by not buying it. It should have flown of the coattails of FF11, but it didn’t, even for fans (I’m personally also waiting on the remake, I didn’t get it in 2010).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>