Dad Hacks Donkey Kong ROM So His Daughter Can Play As a Girl

Here's a heart-warming story for you. A dad stayed up late editing a ROM of the old Donkey Kong after his three-year-old daughter was disappointed to find out she couldn't play as the female character and save the male one. The result was Donkey Kong: Pauline Edition, and at the time of writing nearly 115,000 people have watched the video that features clips of the edited ROM.

The end product looks spot on, essentially identical to the original except that the figure climbing up ladders and jumping over barrels and hitting things with hammers is female, and the one standing still at the top of the screen and occasionally being carried off by the giant monkey is male. It makes you wonder why no one thought to do this before.

Here's the dad's explanation of the project:

“My three year old daughter and I play a lot of old games together. Her favorite is Donkey Kong. Two days ago, she asked me if she could play as the girl and save Mario. 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. So what else am I supposed to do? Now I'm up at midnight hacking the ROM, replacing Mario with Pauline. I'm using the 2010 NES Donkey Kong ROM. I've redrawn Mario's frames and I swapped the palettes in the ROM. I replaced the M at the top with a P for Pauline.”

If you want to know more about how “Mike Mika” did it, head over to the YouTube page for the video and check out some of his replies to comments.