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Donkey Kong: Pauline Edition
March 10, 2013 9:14 AM   Subscribe

"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... So what else am I supposed to do? Now I'm up at midnight hacking the ROM, replacing Mario with Pauline." (SLYT)
posted by griphus (52 comments total) 61 users marked this as a favorite

 
Well done, dad.
posted by OHSnap at 9:26 AM on March 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


You win at parenting.
posted by arcticseal at 9:29 AM on March 10, 2013 [16 favorites]


i wonder if he got the idea from the dad who hacked zelda.
posted by nadawi at 9:29 AM on March 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is awesome! Why didn't I have this version as a little girl? :(
posted by young sister beacon at 9:30 AM on March 10, 2013


NOW DO ONE FROM THE VIEW OF AN I-BEAM
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:34 AM on March 10, 2013 [22 favorites]


Zaxxon next please!
posted by mazola at 9:48 AM on March 10, 2013


Kinda sad though when Pauline gets killed!
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 9:51 AM on March 10, 2013


I'd like him to do Leisure Suit Larry next.
posted by item at 10:00 AM on March 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


This is awesome, but I was sort of expecting Donkey Kong with the Apostle Paul.
posted by problemspace at 10:07 AM on March 10, 2013 [20 favorites]


You know this new generation of parents get kind of a bad rep for the overscheduling and helicoptering, but I swear the awesome trend of busting up gender bias and going above and beyond to show their kids how not to be limited by the "way things are" just gives me hope that the next generation will be so much closer to being very decent humans.
posted by teleri025 at 10:10 AM on March 10, 2013 [24 favorites]


I want a copy!
posted by chapps at 10:11 AM on March 10, 2013


This is awesome, but I was sort of expecting Donkey Kong with the Apostle Paul.

"What you have seen me jump, smash and dodge, do also these things, that you may climb to the top of the building whole and entire."
posted by jquinby at 10:16 AM on March 10, 2013 [33 favorites]


Cute! Now make a version that doesn't have pink handbags and umbrellas for powerups!

(Also, I just realized he didn't actually change the powerups at all from the original, so I guess Mario is collecting Pauline's things on his way to saving her in the original. Which I guess means in the new version, that pink handbag is Mario's. Which, actually, I'm okay with that!)
posted by chrominance at 10:18 AM on March 10, 2013 [10 favorites]


I just watched someone else play a video game. Ah, it's like grade school all over again.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:33 AM on March 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


...I do not remember the second stage looking like that at all. Is this just me?
posted by andreaazure at 10:39 AM on March 10, 2013


Cute! Now make a version that doesn't have pink handbags and umbrellas for powerups!

You'll notice she made no effort to retrieve them.
posted by mazola at 10:41 AM on March 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Anita Sarkeesian would probably approve.
posted by localroger at 10:43 AM on March 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Watching Mario just stand there waiting to be saved, knowing he has the skills to save himself, really demonstrated for me some points made in Tropes vs. Women in Video Games: Damsel in Distress. He's not tied up or so close to Donkey Kong that it would be risky to run. He's just arbitrarily helpless.
posted by scottreynen at 10:46 AM on March 10, 2013 [26 favorites]


There's a reddit thread with a little bit more info, including this image of how he edited the sprites (correct term?) which I found interesting.
posted by sharkfu at 10:51 AM on March 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Jinx
posted by localroger at 11:01 AM on March 10, 2013


I do not remember the second stage looking like that at all. Is this just me?

The Reddit thread has more info -- apparently it's a more recent (2010) NES ROM that includes the pie factory level. I initially thought it was based on one of those awful arcade bootlegs.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 11:11 AM on March 10, 2013


That was totally uncool of her, continually invading Mario's man cave. Good thing he had a buddy to keep saving him, but I guess he finally gave in to her.
posted by dhartung at 11:17 AM on March 10, 2013 [6 favorites]


...but I guess he finally gave in to her.

Only after she dumped his monkey on its head. When you can't escape you need give into the inevitable.
posted by cjorgensen at 11:23 AM on March 10, 2013


This is actually really simple. I used to do this when I was like, ten. Back then, though, you had to use really shitty DOS programs. I remember I wanted to play as Faris on the maps in Final Fantasy V instead of Bartz, but I wasn't smart enough to just put her in the first position of my party which would have allowed me to control her on the map, so I replaced Bartz's map sprites with Faris' sprites. Obviously, I eventually figured out that I had just wasted my time.
posted by Redfield at 11:35 AM on March 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


What I learned from watching this--apart from the interesting gender stuff--is (a) based on the copyright, Nintendo was still making Donkey Kong as recently as 2010(!), (b) the Kong reveals a very human-shaped butt* when he grabs his captive and turns to climb up to the next level, and (c) damn, that game is short.

*I'm a man. We look at these things. SCIENCE says so.
posted by psoas at 11:40 AM on March 10, 2013


Mario? Pauline? Pfft. For me they will always be known by their original names, JUMPMAN and LADY.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 11:51 AM on March 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


JUMPMAN Hit and Run LADY
posted by erniepan at 12:12 PM on March 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


World's worst dad removes bow and lipstick from Ms Pacman to appease mysogynist son.
posted by ShutterBun at 12:25 PM on March 10, 2013


He's not tied up or so close to Donkey Kong that it would be risky to run. He's just arbitrarily helpless.

To me, this is one of those things that is incredibly obvious in hindsight or after it's been pointed out, but which I had never ever thought about before. Thank you.
posted by mitten of doom at 1:29 PM on March 10, 2013


Spelunky plays around with the trope a bit. There is a default damsel in distress to rescue, but you can choose to rescue a guy or a dog. What I'm trying to say is that someone should make a version of Donkey Kong where a pug saves Mario.
posted by ersatz at 1:47 PM on March 10, 2013


1. This will pick up weird undertones when she gets to Donkey Kong Junior, and a whip-wielding Pauline kidnaps Donkey Kong.

2. Did you know that Donkey Kong, while designed by Miyamoto at Nintendo, was not developed by them? The secret history of Donkey Kong - which explains why Nintendo doesn't generally offer the arcade game under emulation.
posted by JHarris at 1:52 PM on March 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Couldn't he have just downloaded a Super Mario Bros 2 ROM instead?

World's worst dad removes bow and lipstick from Ms Pacman to appease mysogynist son.

In retrospect, it's interesting that Ms Pacman was the only playable character, instead of giving you the choice, and, say, calling it Pacman 2.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 3:37 PM on March 10, 2013


Couldn't he have just downloaded a Super Mario Bros 2 ROM instead?

"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."
posted by griphus at 4:07 PM on March 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ah. I watched it on mobile and forget to open that part.

I see in a related video that someone did a Pauline-Peach match in a modern WWE game, which just seems kinda creepy.

A "Legend of Kage" hack would be funny. The damsel in distress gets kidnapped, then twice more after false endings.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 4:31 PM on March 10, 2013


"This is awesome, but I was sort of expecting Donkey Kong with the Apostle Paul."

At least that way the "donkey" part would make sense.
posted by klangklangston at 5:54 PM on March 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


How about a genderswapped version of Double Dragon, where you have to save your boyfriend from the hoods?
posted by acb at 6:02 PM on March 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Anita Sarkeesian would probably approve."

She does!
posted by O9scar at 6:33 PM on March 10, 2013


In retrospect, it's interesting that Ms Pacman was the only playable character, instead of giving you the choice, and, say, calling it Pacman 2.

Ms. Pac-Man has the graphics necessary to play as Pac-Man in the ROM, I think. (They're used in the intermissions.) Ms. Pac-Man only appears to have slightly less than 35K of ROM, while Pac-Man has 16K. But Ms. Pac-Man has more music data, four levels instead of one, and some other niceties.

It wouldn't be Pac-Man without the classic wakka-wakka sound, but that's included in Ms. Pac-Man too; it's the credit insert notification sound. The player death animation and sound would have to be included, but that shouldn't be too many more bytes. I don't know how much unused ROM is in the code.

I think it might be possible for someone to hack this together without substantial modifications to the hardware. A menu makes it harder, but maybe the 2 player functionality could be sacrified; the second button could then be used for Pac-Man mode.

One important point though: changing the ROM on classic Pac-Man games can break patterns in many levels, because while ghosts are vulnerable they use pseudo-random number generation that looks up arbitrary locations in memory. So, if a fleeing monster references a location that's changed to make your hack, some patterns will break. The sooner in a pattern the player eats an energizer, the more likely it will be broken.
posted by JHarris at 6:46 PM on March 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


This is adorable.
posted by homunculus at 7:29 PM on March 10, 2013


Having watched the video now, I can confirm that this is a hack of the ROM of the updated NES version (which includes the Cement Factory level). The arcade has a different level order, more intermissions, different music in places, and distinctive sound effects which the NES could only approximate. Still, nice hack.

I think Pauline is shorter in this than before though, so the hack is a simple matter of changing sprite graphics. It's not really hard at all to make a hack like this; romhacking.net has tons of them.
posted by JHarris at 7:41 PM on March 10, 2013


This is my old boss. He was a nice guy, obvs.
posted by gnutron at 8:30 PM on March 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Nintendo did this (somewhat) early on with making the protagonist in the game Metroid a woman. But the best part was that you don't find out until you beat the game. The best part, of course, being the utter shock because video game characters were dudes, right?

My father, a particularly vile, chauvinistic pig was genuinely angry about that. It left quite an impression on my 9 year old self. Such an impression that though estranged from him, I gave him a rare thought when I realized the last Bond movie likely ruined his favorite series thanks to the suggestion of Bond's sexuality might not be totally heteronormative.

So yay for this dad teaching his kid the right lesson rather than reinforcing crappy gender stereotypes that might make his daughter resent him 25 years later.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 4:32 AM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Did you know that Donkey Kong, while designed by Miyamoto at Nintendo, was not developed by them? The secret history of Donkey Kong - which explains why Nintendo doesn't generally offer the arcade game under emulation.

Ha, my first thought was the DK minigame in DK 64, but you had addressed that. Btw Donkey Kong is surprisingly playable if simple - I was stuck with the Game Boy version one day and it played better than I expected.
posted by ersatz at 9:58 AM on March 11, 2013


Next step: replace ape with actual donkey.
posted by obscurator at 10:26 AM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Gameboy and later versions are basically different games from the original, interesting in their own right, but still, different.
posted by JHarris at 10:48 AM on March 11, 2013


Why I Hacked Donkey Kong for My Daughter
posted by homunculus at 2:44 PM on March 12, 2013


So yay for this dad teaching his kid the right lesson rather than reinforcing crappy gender stereotypes that might make his daughter resent him 25 years later

My grampa would always rant about how women folk were always gettin' kidnapped by barrel-tossin' gorillas.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 3:08 PM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


The dad, Mike Mika, was interviewed for a story on NPR's All Things Considered Monday.

The longer print version of the story ends with this tidbit:
This also isn't the first time Mika has used his programming skills for the ladies in his life. According to comments from friends on Reddit, Mika also apparently proposed to his wife by hiding a secret code in a game he was working on at the time.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 1:06 AM on March 13, 2013


I like the idea of a plucky female plumber named Maria saving a prince in distress.
posted by Wonton Cruelty at 5:48 PM on March 15, 2013


Zelda Starring Zelda
posted by homunculus at 4:36 PM on March 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Trolls, You Sound Ridiculous. Especially When You’re Talking Smack About A 3-Year-Old.
posted by homunculus at 6:22 PM on April 8, 2013


I have to say: The Legend of Zelda with Zelda as the main character is now my favorite way to play that game.
posted by JHarris at 8:17 PM on April 8, 2013


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