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‘Coolest dad ever’? Father hacks Donkey Kong to give daughter a female character

Is this the best dad ever?

Mike Mika, father of a three-year-old girl, is being hailed as a hero on the Internet for hacking the video game Donkey Kong to customize it for his daughter.

According to the tech news site Ars Technica, Mika's daughter was disappointed that she couldn't use a female avatar to play the game. So he changed the program to feature a heroine named Pauline, whom Ars Technica describes as Nintendo's precursor to the character Princess Peach. In his version, it's Pauline who saves Mario, not the other way around.

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As Mika describes in this post featured on Reddit, he stayed up until midnight hacking the game to please his daughter.

"She's played as Peach in Super Mario Bros. 2 and naturally just assumed she could do the same in Donkey Kong," Mika wrote. "I told her we couldn't in that particular Mario game, she seemed really bummed out by that. So what else can I do?"

Many are applauding Mika for his efforts.

"Coolest dad ever," one commenter wrote on the Ars Technica site.

"As a dad to two little girls, I think the story is awesome," another wrote.

As The Globe has reported, video games are often criticized for limiting female characters to clichés. As such, Mika's move may be seen as a small step in changing gaming culture. But some commenters have noted that Donkey Kong is a old game – one that was created when players were predominately boys.

Others may also take issue with the daughter's age. Should a three-year-old be allowed to play video games?

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What do you think? Is this the work of the "coolest dad ever"? What are the most empowering video games for girls?

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About the Author

Wency Leung is a general assignment reporter for the Life section. Before joining The Globe in early 2010, she has worked as a reporter in Vancouver, Prague, and Phnom Penh. More


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