Another awesome dad doing something awesome for his kid. Ars Technica covers a gamer father who’s been playing Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker with his daughter. Because she’s not yet old enough to read, he’s been narrating aloud, carefully changing Link’s gender by swapping pronouns and titles, in order to facilitate his daughter’s immersion in the game. But that was tedious and imperfect, so he grabbed the Gamecube rom image and hacked it.
To make this process smoother, Hoye eventually decided to hack away at the actual text of the story, producing a female-oriented version by altering the game’s data files. According to his blog post on the project, Hoye took a GameCube disk image (.GCM) of Wind Waker and dug into it with a hex editor. He changed all story text and dialogue by hand, then tested his work by playing the game file in the Dolphin GameCube emulator.
The modifications proved a bit tricky, since the new female-oriented wording had to be a byte-for-byte alteration of the original; even throwing in “she” in place of “he” would mess things up. So Hoye got creative, using words like “milady” in place of “my lad” and “master.”
“Sentences need to be changed or reworded just because ‘young lady’ is one character longer than ‘young man,’ line breaks need to be in about the right places, that sort of thing,” Hoye told Ars via e-mail.
The first comment on his blog post is “Dad of the fucking year.” I can’t outright disagree, though I do think he faces some significant competition. Still, there’s nothing like encouraging a little girl to be a superhero by giving her a video game avatar she can identify with, when the game designers aren’t doing it themselves. Cheers, sir.
Also, I love the nerdy discussion about how best to manipulate the language without messing up the flow of the text, picking appropriate same-length words or rewriting whole sentences so the line breaks fall in approximately the same places. Makes me want to do a rom hack myself.
Hat tip to Kruglord on Twitter for pointing me to this one.