It’s perfectly understandable that young girls who are just getting into games, particularly classic retro titles, might not be able to relate to many of the main characters. For one thing, many videogames at that time did not have decent backstories nor characterization due to hardware limitations. Most of the time you’re just a blob of pixels traversing a vast expanse of differently colored pixels.
Another thing is that many videogames at that time were made by men who weren’t really that interested in bucking stereotypes. It’s not their fault, because when all you have to work with are blobs of pixels and various beeps and static, you tend to prioritize just creating something fun over something with depth: the triangle is your spaceship, the blinking circles are alien invaders. Shoot them down.
In the best case scenario, we have Donkey Kong, where a blob of pixels shaped like a portly mustachioed plumber has to save a blob of pixels shaped like princess from an even bigger blob of pixels shaped like a Giant Gorilla. But what happens if your daughter is bummed that she can’t be the princess saving the plumber instead?
Easy. You give her an Xbox360 and a copy of Tomb Raider so she can be a large breasted, tightly-clothed adventurer who falls down tall trees and ravines a lot.
Or if you’re like the Dad in this clip (re: Totally Awesome), you hack the Donkey Kong NES ROM so that Pauline can be the heroine and your daughter can play the role of a princess who’s very brave, but not very good with life decisions (because let’s face it – if you’re a princess, you’re probably rich enough to hire people who will save the plumber from the giant ape. There’s no good reason to go out there yourself.)
Check out the video below to see the ROM hack in action: