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#1 Wolf O'Donnell

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 03:40 PM

http://kotaku.com/59...kes-link-a-girl

So this father hacked The Wind Waker so that Link is constantly referred to as a girl, because he didn't want his daughter growing up to think girls couldn't be the heroine or something like that. Do you think his daughter noticed?

#2 Sir Turtlelot

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 03:49 PM

That was nice of him. I really liked his motives for it.

Then again, if he wanted a female protagonist, he could have always put in Metroid. ;d

Edited by Sir Turtlelot, 19 November 2012 - 03:50 PM.


#3 Vaati

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 03:54 PM

http://kotaku.com/59...kes-link-a-girl

So this father hacked The Wind Waker so that Link is constantly referred to as a girl, because he didn't want his daughter growing up to think girls couldn't be the heroine or something like that. Do you think his daughter noticed?

I'm fine with having heroic female characters and all, Zelda, Impa, and Samus for the win, but that doesn't mean he has to edit someone elses *Hardwork* and Star Character just because he thinks his daughter wouldn't mind that Link is a boy. I mean his motives where good and I do respect that honestly because a Father doing something just for his little girl is sweet to the extreme, but also think about how hard the producers and artists went through to make the Ancient Legend in the Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker. But yeah, it would be awesome to have a female and male hero in the Series to pick from, I'd like to play as Tetra, she's extremely cool.

Edited by Vaati, 19 November 2012 - 05:05 PM.


#4 Fin

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 04:01 PM

Yeah, I heard about this a few days ago. Crowning moment of heart-warming. :3:

Also, on the issue of artistic integrity, I'm honestly not really sure where the developers are losing out here, or why anyone should care.

Edited by Finn the Human, 19 November 2012 - 04:03 PM.


#5 Dizzy

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 04:48 PM

That was nice of him. I really liked his motives for it.

Then again, if he wanted a female protagonist, he could have always put in Metroid. ;d

This. ;d

#6 ganonlord6000

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 05:23 PM

I saw this recently on ZD with one hell of a conversation. I'm all for a female protagonist in video games and this was a cute idea, but hacking a ten year old game and practically changing its meaning is going overboard. What would happen if the daughter decides to play OOT?

#7 Fin

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 05:33 PM

Changing its meaning? Do the themes of Wind Waker not apply to women or something?

#8 Selena

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 05:51 PM

Fortunately, Link's always looked feminine enough for no one to notice!

Yeah, there are female protagonists she could look up to. But most of them suck. And a good portion of the ones that don't suck are just alternate versions of a "default" male character (i.e.: Femshep). Samus is one of the few protagonists that is both female-by-design and not turned into oversexed eye-candy. I have trouble thinking of another iconic leading lady that's actually a good role model. There are supporting female characters. There are some little known characters. But few "big" ones.

The game's artistic integrity is not lost by changing Link's gender. His gender has next to no influence on the plot or theme. And frankly, even if it were somehow undermined, what does it matter? Not everyone who plays Zelda (or any game) is overly concerned about the "soul" of the game or all the world-building information.

And let's face it, half of casual gamers think "his" name is "Zelda" anyway. And have thought that since 1985.

#9 ganonlord6000

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 05:52 PM

No. They do, but it would mean that guy had better have a hacked OOT on standby.

#10 Fin

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 05:55 PM

No. They do, but it would mean that guy had better have a hacked OOT on standby.


Because the successor to the Hero of Time can't be a different gender?

Edit: And Lena cuts to the heart of the matter. The story isn't really affected one way or the other by Link's gender, but as gaming has a dearth of female protagonists this is an awesome move by the dad.

Edited by Finn the Human, 19 November 2012 - 05:57 PM.


#11 ganonlord6000

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 05:56 PM

I guess that could be the case.

#12 Twinrova

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 06:38 PM

This is pretty awesome. I wanna shake that dad's hand. :3

#13 JRPomazon

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 06:47 PM

It was endearing for him to do this. I've considered what Zelda would be like with a gender option much like Pokemon. Frankly though, if Nintendo wants Link to be a guy then that's just how they want to roll with it. Nothing to discriminate or hate against.

#14 Egann

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 09:20 PM

Let me just throw this out there: there have been A LOT of video game protagonists who were women and were not oversexed. Joanna Dark and Claire Redfield immediately spring to my mind as names the rest of you will recognize. And I've got a list of smaller games I've referred to ad nauseum (like Parasite Eve and Tenchu: Fatal Shadows) which also have strong, non-sexual female leads.

The problem is not a lack of female protagonists. The problem is that most of them are M rated.


I really don't like revisionism, though. Feeling strongly enough about something to change it? Let me rephrase the idea; you are erasing and sanitizing content rather than doing something constructive. That, and I think that focusing in on the protagonist like this is misleading. Of the major characters, Ocarina of Time had three competent male characters, and of those one said nothing and one was the antagonist. There were FIVE competent female characters PLUS a support. so despite the protagonist being male, the cast is still strongly balanced in the female direction.

Edited by Egann, 19 November 2012 - 09:22 PM.


#15 JRPomazon

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 11:23 PM

Let me just throw this out there: there have been A LOT of video game protagonists who were women and were not oversexed. Joanna Dark and Claire Redfield immediately spring to my mind as names the rest of you will recognize. And I've got a list of smaller games I've referred to ad nauseum (like Parasite Eve and Tenchu: Fatal Shadows) which also have strong, non-sexual female leads.

The problem is not a lack of female protagonists. The problem is that most of them are M rated.


I really don't like revisionism, though. Feeling strongly enough about something to change it? Let me rephrase the idea; you are erasing and sanitizing content rather than doing something constructive. That, and I think that focusing in on the protagonist like this is misleading. Of the major characters, Ocarina of Time had three competent male characters, and of those one said nothing and one was the antagonist. There were FIVE competent female characters PLUS a support. so despite the protagonist being male, the cast is still strongly balanced in the female direction.


Yeah, if anything that game teaches children that men should do the grunt work and the ladies should do the important stuff when the time calls for it because clearly their task is of a greater importance. On the other hand, the male characters are the ones with the bitchin' weapons and assault magic.

Edited by Game Master JRPomazon, 19 November 2012 - 11:23 PM.


#16 Selena

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 12:33 AM

When you play a game or read a book, you're meant to identify with the protagonist. You see the world through their eyes. And with video games, you are that person. I'm not going to adequately identify with Impa or Zelda because I'm not controlling them. I'm Link. There's no avoiding it. You cannot detach yourself from the character you're playing, especially if that character is deliberately designed to be an empty vessel so you can insert your own personality.

Link has no character to corrupt. He's just a vessel for the player. If his gender had some impact on the game or the story, I might agree. But it doesn't.


Let me just throw this out there: there have been A LOT of video game protagonists who were women and were not oversexed. Joanna Dark and Claire Redfield immediately spring to my mind as names the rest of you will recognize. And I've got a list of smaller games I've referred to ad nauseum (like Parasite Eve and Tenchu: Fatal Shadows) which also have strong, non-sexual female leads.

The problem is not a lack of female protagonists. The problem is that most of them are M rated.


Yeah... not really.

Joanna Dark and Claire Redfield aren't exactly too popular or iconic outside of their established fanbase. And Claire isn't even the face of her series -- Chris is. If the people here won't automatically know the girls from Parasite Eve or Tenchu, then the average audience definitely won't.

Girls don't have many big icons to look up to in the gaming world. The vast majority of instances where I've gotten to play as a female protagonist have been when it's some form of RPG and the main character is just a player avatar. Bioware games, Elder Scrolls, etc. Otherwise, the majority of games have male leads.

But since the majority of gamers are young males, that won't likely change. So, what's a girl to do? This, at least, shows her that she doesn't have to pretend to be a boy in order to feel strong. If only superficially. Those little distinctions can be surprisingly important.




On the plus side, this mod makes it way more acceptable for Link to wear tights and a tunic dress.

#17 SOAP

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 01:24 AM

Like others said, I think it was a sweet gesture that hopefully teaches the lesson it was intended to teach. But I think Selena is right that there just aren't enough iconic strong female characters girls can identify with. It's good that Zelda is very balanced when catering to both male and female gamers of different ages but it's still sad that there's not many characters like Samus Aran. They could start a new IP with a strong female playable character but it's not a guarantee that they too won't fall into obscurity. Which seems to happen to games that have female characters that aren't sexed up enough for the predominantly male gaming demographic. Leaving girls and women to choose between playing a guy or a half naked chick. Or play some dress up/dating/cooking game. I wouldn't be satisfy with such limited options if I were a girl.

A possible solution would be if Zelda were actually playable for a game. She's already established as a strong female character. She's well recognized, even if some peple outside the series confused Link for her. She's fought alongside Link on several occasions and proved useful as a companion in ST, even if she was stuck inside a suit of armor. Her Sheik alter-ego is pretty badass. The series is named after her. Too bad the CD-i games tainted any chances of that ever happening again. Such a wasted potentional for series that's been very friendly towards female gamers.

#18 Fin

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 08:59 AM

I think the problem with iconic female characters is there just haven't been enough female protagonists in general. When coming up with a new character most of us just go with male without really thinking about it, because we've been socialised to think of male as the default for so many roles. Samus and Lara Croft didn't just became big name characters because they were female, it was also because they happened to star in exceptional games. It's a rare game that can reach that status, and most of them are about dudes because most of everything is about dudes.

Edit: Also, just throwing this in here. Study finds TV can decrease self-esteem in children, except white boys

Edited by Finn the Human, 20 November 2012 - 06:32 PM.


#19 Wolf O'Donnell

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 03:06 PM

In China, such a hack would be redundant. There's only one third-person, singular pronoun, used for he, she and it.

#20 wisp

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 06:53 PM

I feel like echoing Fin's and Lena's posts on this. Link is really a pretty genderless character for the most part. Changing "he" to "she" does not compromise the integrity of the game or wreck the developers' efforts and artistic vision. Claiming that it does is really kind of ridiculous. If we were talking about Mario or Leon or something, then yeah I could see being iffy about changing to a female pronoun. The character of Link doesn't contain any attributes that I can think of that would make it questionable to just change him to a girl. I say go dad.

#21 Hana-Nezumi

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 07:37 PM

I definitely agree that there should be more games with heroines. But changing Link to a girl is kind of unnecessary, and ironically just encourages the gender binary even further, because he's making the assumption that just because his daughter is a girl that she can only relate to the protagonist if it's a female character. If we were really going for gender equality then just letting her play as the boy shouldn't be thought of as a problem that needs to be fixed in the first place, that just enforces the thought that gender DOES matter. Would have been better to just replace all the pronouns with gender-neutral ones.

#22 Vaati

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 07:39 PM

In China, such a hack would be redundant. There's only one third-person, singular pronoun, used for he, she and it.

Believe it or not, video games have been banned in China, since 2000 I believe.

I feel like echoing Fin's and Lena's posts on this. Link is really a pretty genderless character for the most part. Changing "he" to "she" does not compromise the integrity of the game or wreck the developers' efforts and artistic vision. Claiming that it does is really kind of ridiculous. If we were talking about Mario or Leon or something, then yeah I could see being iffy about changing to a female pronoun. The character of Link doesn't contain any attributes that I can think of that would make it questionable to just change him to a girl. I say go dad.

Actually, the gender part would sometimes apply to Link if there are romantic like relationships between the characters and himself. Spirit Tracks for example, Link has a crush on Princess Zelda.

Edited by Vaati, 20 November 2012 - 07:41 PM.


#23 Fin

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 07:44 PM

Yeah, there's a romantic subtext to Link's interactions with Tetra in Wind Waker too, but uhm, lesbians exist.

#24 Vaati

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 08:11 PM

Yeah, there's a romantic subtext to Link's interactions with Tetra in Wind Waker too, but uhm, lesbians exist.

I never said they didn't you know, theres nothing wrong with anyones sexual orientation, you are who you are. Anyways, lets not try to assume anything on anyone or judge just because our opinions are different, :linkn_n:. On the sidenote, I remember quite a few popular female heroins, Amy the Hedgehog, Rouge the Bat, Creme the Bunny, Dixie Kong, Princess Roselina, and Mrs. Pacman.

#25 Selena

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 08:42 PM

I definitely agree that there should be more games with heroines. But changing Link to a girl is kind of unnecessary, and ironically just encourages the gender binary even further, because he's making the assumption that just because his daughter is a girl that she can only relate to the protagonist if it's a female character. If we were really going for gender equality then just letting her play as the boy shouldn't be thought of as a problem that needs to be fixed in the first place, that just enforces the thought that gender DOES matter. Would have been better to just replace all the pronouns with gender-neutral ones.


I see your point and somewhat agree -- gender shouldn't be too big of a deal in any situation.

But at the same time, gender equality doesn't mean being blind to gender. There are still differences between the genders even if people don't follow along with stereotypes. Including androgyny, if you count it as a third gender. The differences should be celebrated. And, even if that were not the case, people are naturally drawn to idols who are most like themselves. It's a way to feel better about yourself. Young women admire female icons. Boys look up to male icons. People who are more androgynous may look up to similar icons. Whatever your ethnic/gender/sexual/etc. identity is, you look up to idols who have similar traits. It allows people feel more comfortable about who they are. Self-esteem boost.

With one gender so unequal (and with androgyny rarely represented at all) it's difficult to take a gender-blind approach. At this point, we're still taught that if you want to be "tough," you're meant to act like a boy. For young women, it's kind of like a masquerade -- we are not these heroes and never can be. We're just putting on the costume and strutting around. Rather than finding strength from within our own identity. If that makes sense.

#26 Showsni

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 08:49 PM

Wind Waker probably doesn't make much difference if you have a boy or a girl as the protagonist, though I don't really see the need to change it. I suppose it stems from the fact Nintendo let you enter your own name - if you want to name him after yourself as a girl, why isn't there a female character model? I've ever really understood why Link can be renamed anyway. You don't get to rename Mario.

Really, though, Wind Waker already has a strong female lead or two. He just needs to hack the end so that after finding out she's a princess, Tetra continues to take the fight to Ganon rather than listening to the King of Red Lions and sitting around waiting to get captured!

Hey, I wonder if you could hack Wind Waker to play as Medli all the way through? (So Medli's character model replaces Link's.) You'd probably have some problems with her not having the animations to use certain items, but it might work!


#27 Egann

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 07:32 PM

Let me just throw this out there: there have been A LOT of video game protagonists who were women and were not oversexed. Joanna Dark and Claire Redfield immediately spring to my mind as names the rest of you will recognize. And I've got a list of smaller games I've referred to ad nauseum (like Parasite Eve and Tenchu: Fatal Shadows) which also have strong, non-sexual female leads.

The problem is not a lack of female protagonists. The problem is that most of them are M rated.


Yeah... not really.

Joanna Dark and Claire Redfield aren't exactly too popular or iconic outside of their established fanbase. And Claire isn't even the face of her series -- Chris is. If the people here won't automatically know the girls from Parasite Eve or Tenchu, then the average audience definitely won't.

Girls don't have many big icons to look up to in the gaming world. The vast majority of instances where I've gotten to play as a female protagonist have been when it's some form of RPG and the main character is just a player avatar. Bioware games, Elder Scrolls, etc. Otherwise, the majority of games have male leads.


In other words, the gender gap in games does not exist because there is a stigma against female video game leads, but because there aren't enough of them in the AAA title ranks. While that's kind of true, I think that it's also misleading. Video games are an outrageously risky business; developers sink a lot of money into a game (upwards of $50 million for those larger titles) and few games continue to hold sales more than four months after launch.

The result? A smaller game title can handle taking an additional risk and be just fine, but a AAA title? Forget it. The marketing team will tell the writers that it had better have a male protagonist because girls mature faster than boys. Any girls interested in playing this kind of a game will have little to no problem putting up with a male protagonist. Some male players (namely preteen boys) may react to a female lead...negatively.

And, unfortunately, even most of the M rated AAA games get a lot of their sales from preteen boys. Few big-title female leads. All over the place, though, below that. I just spent my entire afternoon playing Mirror's Edge. *shrug*


...Of the major characters, Ocarina of Time had three competent male characters, and of those one said nothing and one was the antagonist. There were FIVE competent female characters PLUS a support. so despite the protagonist being male, the cast is still strongly balanced in the female direction.


Yeah, if anything that game teaches children that men should do the grunt work and the ladies should do the important stuff when the time calls for it because clearly their task is of a greater importance. On the other hand, the male characters are the ones with the bitchin' weapons and assault magic.


So Impa and Zelda/ Shiek don't count as badasses and Talon doesn't count as a useless nincompoop? Ocarina is just so filled with competent women I can't see why the "protagonist" thing is an issue, at least not in context.

#28 Fin

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 12:12 AM

Because the protagonist is the identification character. It's definitely kind of awesome how many strong women there are in Ocarina, but ultimately you fill the shoes of a heroic dude taking on another dude who rules the world, whereas all of the sages have to rescued in one way or another. (Actually, now that I think about it all the female sages except Impa explicitly need to be saved at some point.)

---

Edit: Sorry, just read over that again and realised that paragraph is kind of a terrible argument. The point I was trying to get at is that we're never really given the chance to get into the heads of any of the supporting characters in Ocarina. Saria is pretty much just the best friend character, and we're not really meant to see her as anything other than that. Ruto is just a comic relief brat who becomes kind of a non-entity as an adult. Impa is your generic mentor figure. I'd say Nabooru does actually stand out as kind of having a genuine arc and a bit of personality, and Zelda is a central character who gets an arc too, though they both ultimately serve as damsels in distress.

Pretty much all the characters (this goes for the guys too) are really only seen from Link's perspective, and while they can be fleshed out a bit, for the most part this seems to be done just to add a bit more flavour to an archetype than to seriously flesh out a character. Like I said in the first paragraph, it's neat just how women are prominent in the story. But when you get down to it, there isn't a substitute for literally playing the role of one of the characters.

I'd also like to point of that not having your gender well represented in the media is just theory for the two of us, but everyone who's posted in this thread that actually has experience with that has spoken in support of this hack.

(And one more edit to say that I apologise if anyone feels I'm being presumptuous with that last point.)

Edited by Finn the Human, 22 November 2012 - 01:53 AM.


#29 Average Gamer

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 08:37 AM

His daughter might actually feel patronized that he thinks she'll believe that Link is actually a girl. Also, if she ever mentions the series among other kids she'll probably be laughed at and, if she does look up to Link as a girl, the reveal could actually be a bad moment for her.

This guy's heart was in the right place, but he really didn't think this through. He should have just given her Super Metroid or something and kept her far away from Other M.




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