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Father hacks The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker for his young daughter, making Link a girl

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Mike Hoye made a special version of Gamecube game The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker for his three-year-old daughter, hand-editing the game's dialogue to swap references to Link's gender from boy to girl. "She's the hero of the story, of course," Hoye says of his daughter Maya's perspective of Link, explaining "I'm not having my daughter growing up thinking girls don't get to be the hero and rescue their little brothers."

Hoye and his daughter have been playing Wind Waker together, with her controlling Link, him reading everything onscreen to her.

"It's annoying and awkward, to put it mildly, having to do gender-translation on the fly when Maya asks me to read what it says on the screen," Hoye writes. "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."

At least, not anything easy, Hoye says. So he hex-edited a disk image of Wind Waker, swapping "he" to "she" and "him" to "her," with plenty of "milady" used in place of "my lad" and "master."

"I think Maya deserves to have the game address her as herself," Hoye said in an interview with Ars Technica. "She's not an NPC, and Dad's favorite pastime shouldn't treat girls like second-class citizens."

Hoye has released his edits as a "Wind Waker pronoun patch" on his blog, which requires the Dolphin emulator to play. He provides brief instruction on installing the patch, which Hoye admits "isn't particularly user-friendly."

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