Tuesday, March 12th, 2013
2 years, 3 months.
The parenting story that has gone viral today is that a dad named Mike Mika hacked the classic Donkey Kong video game so his daughter could play as Pauline, the girl who Mario tries to save. So instead of Mario saving Pauline from Donkey Kong, she saves Mario.
Mike’s daughter had been enjoying playing as the Princess in Super Mario Bros. 2, which happens to be my favorite video game of all time, and she was disappointed to learn she couldn’t be the princess in Donkey Kong as well. So her dad took care of it.
“Having kids is incredible. And having a daughter is something special. I get the opportunity to see the world through her eyes. And if this experience has taught me anything, it’s that the world could be just a bit more accommodating. And that if something as innocuous as having Mario be saved by Pauline brings out the crazy, maybe we aren’t as mature in our view of gender roles as we should be.
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.”
Sure, a good number of video games throughout history have featured a male hero who saves a female; that concept caters to a male audience who is wired to solve problems and earn the love and respect of a beautiful female, not to socialize and network with friends like Farmville on Facebook.
The earliest example of an action-based video game where the lead character is a female hero is Metroid; though you wouldn’t know the character is a female until you beat the game.
That’s one of the many reasons I always loved Super Mario Bros. 2; because it was fun (and weird) to play as a female in an action game. I wasn’t ashamed to play as a character who wore a pink dress. I just wanted to win!
In fact, Super Mario Bros. 2 is still often referred to by those who didn’t own the game growing up like I did as “isn’t that the one where you can play as the Princess?”.
Today, Mike Mika has earned cool points with parents across America for thinking of such a clever idea to help his daughter feel special and loved.
I bet she feels like a princess.