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Dad Hacks 'Donkey Kong' To Let 3-Year-Old Daughter Save Mario As Pauline (VIDEO) [UPDATE]

03/10/2013 06:16 pm ET | Updated Mar 12, 2013

Thanks to her talented dad, one 3-year-old gamer can now conquer "Donkey Kong" in a skirt.

YouTube user Mike Mika explains that his toddler daughter plays old video games with him -- but she was disappointed when she couldn't use the character of Pauline to rescue Mario in "Donkey Kong" (rather than the other way around).

"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," Mika writes on YouTube. "So what else am I supposed to do? Now I'm up at midnight hacking the ROM, replacing Mario with Pauline."

In a strikingly similar instance last year, dad Mike Hoye changed the text of "The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker" so that his 3-year-old daughter could play a female protagonist. Hoye's explanation for his efforts -- "I’m not having my daughter growing up thinking girls don’t get to be the hero" -- seems fitting here, too.

In Mika's case, what appear to be Facebook screenshots uploaded by a friend also surfaced on imgur and Reddit:

The Reddit user who posted a link to the screenshots, boomboombooya, even suggested it's not the first time Mika has used digital artistry to express his love.

"He also proposed to his wife through an easter egg in a shipped game he worked on and has the greatest vintage video game collection I (and most others) have ever seen in person."

If only board games could be "fixed" as seamlessly.

UPDATE March 12 -- On Sunday, Mika tweeted a picture of his daughter enjoying the game:

And in a blog post for Wired on Monday, the dad gave a more detailed explanation of his hack -- and discussed the (sometimes heated) conversation his project has inspired around the web ("In my wildest dreams, I just expected a bunch of fellow coders to chat about the merits of the mod. I never expected it to ignite a gender-role debate," he writes). His conclusion:

"[I]f this experience has taught me anything, it’s that the world could be just a bit more accommodating ... I didn’t set out to push a feminist agenda, or try to make a statement. I just wanted to keep that little grin lit up on my daughter’s face every time we sit down to play games together." Read the full piece here.

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