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Wherein Zelda Saves Link For a Change

Thanks to Owen Good over at Kotaku for this one. While I've been a fan of the Legend of Zelda series almost my entire life, there's no question that most of the series has been very heavily focused on male power fantasy. Beat the evil guy, save the helpless girl. Zelda's gotten some good moments in the series proper, but never an unambiguously powerful role, and certainly never her own game. (For more on this, see the recent and very good Tropes vs Women in Video Games video series.)

So somebody fixed it. Zelda Starring Zelda is a patch for the original NES Legend of Zelda that simply swaps the roles; you'll play as Zelda now, saving Link. It's a small thing, just a sprite swap and some modified text, but it was remarkable to me how much this video made me think, "Why the hell hasn't Nintendo done this by now?" See if you agree.

Says Kenna, the author of the patch:

Earlier this week, I read about that awesome dad who edited Donkey Kong to let his daughter play as the Princess. I wished I had someone who could have done that for me. Then I remembered. I'm an adult now. If he could work it out, I could too.

...For me, I played my first Zelda game when I was pretty young, and at the time, I thought the game did star Princess Zelda. I figured I'd get to play as a magical battle princess that saved her kingdom. The game was fun, but I was bummed out that I never got to play as Zelda. But like I said, I'm an adult now. There's no one to stop me from eating candy before bed and there's nothing standing in the way of me creating the games I want to play.

Hear, hear. She talks more about the technical details of making the patch in the post, and it's a good read.

In terms of playing the modified game, setting it up seems fairly trivial. It does require finding yourself a ROM of the original NES Legend of Zelda, which for copyright reasons I can't provide for you, but a little searching will help you out there if you want to try this out. Kenna links you to a good emulator, and the patch, and the instructions are simple.

It's about time.

This is really cool. I'm glad somebody did it, and I'm absolutely going to try it out. It's been awhile since I played the original Legend of Zelda and this is a great reason to go back.

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